Singapore has it’s very own hot spring. Unfortunately, it is nothing like that that can be found in Japan, but it has some of it’s own charm nonetheless.
History of the hot spring
Found in 1903, this little spring was almost turned into a commercial venture. However, this fell through, due to the fact that nobody knew where the water was coming from and if it was sustainable. However, more than 100 years ago, the water is still running and is boiling hot! The spring was discovered by the son of Seah Liang Seah, the famous Chinese pioneer and namesake of many a steamboat buffet. A well was built by the spring, and it became popular with villagers who used the water for it’s healing powers. The spring became more and more famous, eventually attracting the attention of a soft drinks firm. They began to bottle the water but the flow was interrupted, thanks to the falling of a Japanese bomb during 1942. After conquering Singapore, the Japanese eventually began to build baths in the area. Interestingly, the spring was visited most frequently by gamblers, who took good luck baths before heading to the casino. Later, the Sembawang Air Base acquired the land but agreed to preserve the spring, due to it’s popularity. Over 1.000 people visited the spring at it’s peak, and although it’s popularity has decreased in recent months, it is still a quaint spot for locals and tourists alike.
How to get there
The spring is located on Gambas Avenue, between Sembawang and Yishun. Exit the Yishun MRT from exit C. Take the bus 858 or 969 and get off 4 stops later at Sembawang Road. Walk towards the overhead bridge and continue straight down the road. Take the left at the first junction where you can see the HDB Centre of Building Research. Keep going along the road until you see the two red signs. Enter through the gate and follow the path which will take you to the hot spring. The gate will only be open from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm daily.
The spring itself
The spring is locked inside a concrete structure but there is access to the hot water from a tap. Many people collect water in buckets and fill a paddling pool in order to enjoy the spring. Some people even take a shower directly from the taps. There is more than one tap, so don’t worry if some are already in use. The spring is usually visited by seniors or young families, especially those with children who have skin problems, like eczema. The water is believed to have healing qualities, especially for those with arthritis. If you ask the caretaker, he will provide you with a bucket and a towel to make your own foot bath. Some even bring eggs to boil as a snack! Whilst the experience is not exactly like that of a first class spa, it is certainly much cheaper (free, in fact) and a lot more fun.