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Rediscovered hot spring becomes modern resort
By Xu Wenwen

Villagers living on Ludi Hillock did not know that under their feet lay a treasure. While known in ancient times, it was not rediscovered until the 1970s, when a geological team drilled a hole and spring water gushed out.

The water was warm, and curious villagers poured into a pool dug beside the spring, washing their hands and clothes. Children took baths, even on the coldest days of winter.

The natural hot spring in Tuankou Town of Lin’an City in Hangzhou was not developed into a modern resort until recently due to a lack of financing.

After investment of 400 million yuan (US$65.6 million), a hot spring resort built to four-star standards opened earlier this month. The spring is now named Tuankou Radon Hot Spring, covers 18,000 square meters, and has a capacity to hold over 1,700 people, the biggest in east China. It is within the hotel grounds of 69,000 square meters.

Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless chemical element with a low level of radioactivity. It has long been considered beneficial in mineral spring baths through stimulating cellular and tissue reactions. Many springs around the world, including old curative springs in Europe, are radon springs.

About 3,000 tons of water flow from the spring every day, and drilling as far down as 1,300 meters has detected temperatures as high as 47 degrees Celsius.

Residents were aware of the spring hundreds of years ago. A record called the “Second Phase of Changhua County Annals” of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) notes, “Ludi Hillock is a short but large hillock with a flowing spring ... and its steam floats, melting snow around it in severe cold.”

Now there are 30 pools indoors and 17 outdoors, the facilities in the hotel include spa, tennis courts, golf course. It offers two buffets, one with Chinese cuisine and another with Japanese cuisine.

By the end of next month, 30 villas with private hot spring pools will be open.

How to get there:

From Shanghai, take G60 Expressway to Hangzhou, then Hangzhou Raocheng Expressway (north line) to Hanghui Expressway. Go to Changhua Exit, then follow the signs for about 18 kilometers to reach the hotel in Tuankou Village.

Other hot springs nearby

• Xin’an River Sulfur Hot Spring

This is the only hot spring in Zhejiang Province that naturally contains sulfur, which is reputed to protect against toxins.

The spring was discovered in 1987 by oil exploration workers. They didn’t find oil but they struck the sulfur-rich spring 700 meters below the surface. In 2009, Xin’an River Hot Spring bubbled to life as a tourist attraction.

The resort has two larger pools, six smaller ponds big enough for a dozen people, plus three rooms, each with one small pond.

The large ponds have small waterfalls and massage chairs that soothe the neck and back. In some of the small ponds, Chinese herbs, rice wine or coffee are added to the water to provide therapeutic effects.

How to get there:

Take the Hangxinjing Expressway and get off at Shouchang Exit, then go to G320 Expressway, and then Guihua Village.

• Ninghai Forest Hot Spring

The hot spring is set in a 2.8-kilometer canyon in a forest in Ninghai City of Zhejiang Province, and its water temperature reaches 49.5 degrees Celsius.

The spring, from 158 meters deep, produces 2,500 tons of water a day that contains over 20 kinds of minerals including radon, lithium, strontium and calcium.

The canyon is also a tourist destination, with waterfalls, ponds and a scenic forest.

How to get there:

From Shanghai:

Drive to Jiaxin City and to Hangzhou Bay Cross-Sea Bridge, then take Ningbo Raocheng Expressway to Yongtaiwen Expressway. Get off at Ninghai (Xiangshan) Exit, take S34 for 3 kilometers, then take S38 for 13 kilometers. After passing Shenzhen Town government, go 500 meters, turn left to Xishan Line and go 4 kilometers.

From Hangzhou:

Drive on Hangyong Expressway and turn onto Yongtaiwen Expressway and follow instructions above.

• Wuyi Hot Springs

Wuyi City in Zhejiang Province has abundant natural hot springs producing 24,150 tons of water daily at temperatures from 36 to 46 degrees Celsius.

The water from underground in Wuyi features a PH value from seven to eight, or neutral to alkaline, and the water looks a little greenish-blue.

There are several hot springs in the city, including the Wuyi Clear Water Bay Hot Spring Resort and Wuyi Tang Style Hot Spring Resort.

How to get there:

From Hangzhou:

Take Hangjinqu Expressway to Jinliwen Expressway in direction of Lishui to the Wuyi Exit. Follow the signs to the spring.

From Shanghai:

Take the G60 Expressway to Hangjinqu Expressway and then follow the directions above.

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