About 150km from Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province has such a wonderful thing. The Binh Chau Hot Springs, in Xuyen Moc District's Bung Rieng Commune, cover an area of about 33ha, enclosed by forest and sea. In 1928, a French doctor named Sallet discovered the hot mineral spring in his survey of southern Vietnam, where a cluster of 70 visible gushers spout water at temperatures ranging from 40oC to 82oC, forming a huge natural pool of hot water and mud.
With a view to develop a tourist attraction, provincial began to develop the Binh Chau Hot Mineral Springs in 1988, and their efforts were recognised in 2003, when the World Travel Organisation named Binh Chau as one of its 65 sustainable eco-tourism developments in 47 countries and territories around the world.
Walk on the wooden corridors through the flowing springs of the Sai Gon-Binh Chau Resort, and you can feel the stimulating atmosphere of fresh air laced with steam and the fragrance of the forest underneath the leafy canopy. The view is miraculous in the morning, as the steam covers the natural scenery in a thin dew.
The resort includes sports and recreation facilities for tourists on weekends, such as golf, volleyball, a swimming pool, a romantic Moon Garden and a thousand-seat theatre. Crocodile feeding, river fishing, billiards, tennis, basketball, and badminton complete the card at the Sai Gon-Binh Chau Resort, and younger visitors can visit the children's playground.
In the vicinity of Binh Chau, tourists can travel by foot or wagon to Bang Spring, about 2km away, or visit the zoo with its menagerie of bears, monkeys, weasels, geckos and eagles.
Most tourists in Vietnam travel who come to Binh Chau enjoy the fun of boiling eggs in the natural 80-degree springs in just ten minutes. Guests can buy eggs and lower them into small hot pools built by the developer for the purpose.
After the fun with the eggs, there are hot mud baths, soaks and massage services that are all therapeutic. According to researchers who tested the springs in 1975, the hot mineral spring source contains silica, sulphur, sodium and chlorine, all of which have healing properties and can aid rheumatism and circulation.
Sarah Elaine from the UK decided a little pampering was in order after a busy year, and she decided to visit the hot springs. She intended a day trip, but when she came, she realised that there wasn't enough time to enjoy all wonderful things at the site."I was glad to get into the hot spring to sort myself out and at least look as wet as everyone else," she said. "The resort was quite because of the rainy season. The hot springs were wonderful and I spent the rest of the day soaking, having a massage and eating some very good tamarind fish broth."
Legend describes the thermal springs as a hot water pot that the Vietnamese "Goddess of Boiling Water" spilled into the place in anger after her husband went hunting and was a long time returning. She got angry and threw the boiling water pot away, and it became the marvellous stream of hot water still running now.
Binh Chau area is also a wonderful place to hold retreats and team-building activities.
As the curtain of night covering Binh Chau fell, geckos and crickets began their symphony on a stage of forest and mountains.