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  • The weirdest hot springs in the world

    Blood Pond, Japan, photo by Simon le nippon on Flickr

    Hot springs are hardly unusual, and you can usually find a few of them in whichever corner of the world you happen to be visiting. But while a regular nice hot spring is generally a hole in the ground with steamy water and surrounded by natural beauty, some hot springs have a little something extra too.

    A couple of hours in a thermal pool will recharge your batteries and relax you, but if the hot spring is also unusual to say the least, then all the better. If you prefer hot springs that are not contained and manicured, like in a resort, and instead you’d rather go for something natural, wild, and out of the ordinary, then you will most definitely enjoy a dip in the weirdest hot springs in the world.

    Jigokudani Hot Springs, Yamanouchi, Japan

    Jigokudani (Hell’s Valley) doesn’t look like the most hospitable place on earth, thanks to the steep cliffs, dark and cold forests, and the crevices in the ground that continuously spout steam. Jigokudani hot spring, in addition to being located in a place that remind people of a little corner of hell, has another unusual feature: its monkeys. In winter the springs are taken over by Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, and while you won’t be able to join them, you can enjoy the hot waters at some of the guesthouses in the area.

    Pamukkale, Turkey

    Pamukkale, photo by Esther Lee on Flickr

    Not only the hot springs in Pamukkale, but the whole area looks like something out of this world. The blindingly white travertine terraceson the hills of Pamukkale earned the nickname of ‘cotton castles’ – and really, if you squint a little the hot springs seem to erupt out of cotton candy instead of stones. There are several hot springs in Pamukkale, and people have been bathing in the pools for thousands of years.

    The Hells of Beppu, Japan

    Beppy is one of the best hot spring clusters in Japan,  but its most famous pools are too hot and too strange looking for anyone to bathe in them. The nine hellish pools in Beppu are multicolored volcanic pits of water or mud, and one geyser.

    The Sea Hell is startlingly blue, Shaven Monk’s Head Hell is a bubbling pit of greyish mud, the White Pond Hell has milky-looking water, and the most startling hot spring of all is called Blood Pond Hell and it looks just like the name suggests.

    Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA

    Grand Prismatic Spring, photo by Luiz Carlos Feliponi

    Although you can only look at it and breathe in its mineral-laden vapors,  the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone is one of the most striking natural sites in the world. It is the largest hot spring in the US (third largest in the world), and it is famous for its distinctive, rainbow-like coloring.

    The green, yellow, orange, red and brown shades of the water are given by the bacteria that live in it, but the center of the pool is naturally blue because it is too hot for any bacteria to survive.


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