Jan 18 2012
I am a fan of taking a day out when you need a bit of rest and relaxation. I do the majority of my Saigon relaxation at the spa; but I recently had a chance to make a proper getaway from the city and headed to Nha Trang. While relaxing on the beach I happened to find what may be the most relaxing place in all of Vietnam: the Thap Ba Hot Springs.
After a 15-minute taxi ride from downtown Nha Trang, down a narrow side road that will make you think you’re lost, you’ll find the Thap Ba Hot Springs, famous for the healing and therapeutic powers of its mud and mineral baths. Claims that the baths cure ailments ranging from chronic joint disease to leprosy bring in a large number of daily visitors. But even if you don’t have leprosy, you can still have a very relaxing day at Thap Ba.
The normal package, which costs around 250,000 VND per person, starts with a walk up a small hill to tubs suited for one to four people. We had three people in the four-person tub though, and there wouldn’t have been much room for a fourth. The tub is filled with hot mud, heated to around 38 degrees Celsius, and you soak for 15 minutes. The mud actually feels pretty good — it’s not as thick as I thought it would be — and it’s fun to play in.
After your mud soak, head to the showers and clean yourself off. This was the trickiest part of the day because the mud really gets into the cracks of your bathing suit. Although it seems like you will never get it all off, eventually you shall; then it’s time to head over to the mineral baths.
The pools for the mineral bath are quite a bit bigger than the mud tubs, with some easily seating eight or more people. Because they are so large, there are fewer of them, so when the hot spring gets crowded you could be sharing with strangers. The mineral bath doesn’t feel much different than a regular dip in a hot tub but is still very relaxing, and you can stay in for as long as you like, although they recommend staying in no longer than 45 minutes.
If the 40-degree heat of the water starts to get to you, your entry fee also includes unlimited access to the hot springs’ swimming pool. From there you can take advantage of other services, including a full range of spa treatments and massages, all at varying but reasonable prices.
All in all, I would say this was my most relaxing day in the country to date. Thap Ba is open from 7:00 to 19:30; the better time to visit being late afternoon when there are fewer visitors.
Thap Ba Hot Springs
15 Ngoc Son, Nha Trang
T: (058) 3835335
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