Categories: Events
| On 2 years ago

Sembawang Hot Spring: Singapore’s Only Natural Hot Spring (Undergoing Construction)

We have all heard of the famous onsens in Japan and definitely wish we had one in Singapore. I was surprised to find we actually did have one in Singapore, or at least it’s being developed – Sembawang Hot Spring is Singapore’s only natural hot spring on the mainland.

It isn’t very accessible getting to the hot spring itself and there is a fair bit of walking to do to reach the site. It is located about 400m down from the nearest bus stop and you have to follow the walkway before reaching it. When I saw the current state of the hot spring, I was stunned. Not by beauty, but how sad it actually looks. It really looked bad.

There were only two temporary taps available right now, surrounded by metal construction fences and nothing more. However, never judge a book by its cover and it’s so true for Sembawang Hot Spring. Taking a trip there is arduous enough, so I thought, why not make the best use out of my time since I was here.

Taking a seat beside an elderly gentleman with buckets and pails surrounding us, I filled up my bucket with the spring water. I began to remove my socks and placed my feet inside the water.

Next thing I knew, Oh My God. The hot water, at 70 °C (160 °F) according to local geologists, feels different – somehow or rather, it noticeably soothes the tension from your legs. I turned to the elderly beside me and he just gave me a wry smile, probably thinking that “this young man, so suaku, first time put feet in water is it.”

But I swear, the water does feel significantly magical, and it was amazing.

I started to talk to the elderly beside me and found out prior to the development works, many people actually visited it and locals view the water as having natural healing property as well as gives good luck when you bathe in it.

He even told me, people used to slowly boil eggs and have their instant noodles here. Due to it being just a makeshift shed right now, the hot spring is less frequented.

The origin of the spring’s water is believed to be southwest of the location where Bukit Timah is situated according to local geologist though the exact location is unknown. The hot spring’s well at Sembawang is located in a red-brick enclosure but due to the current works, it is not visible from within the makeshift shed.

A test has been conducted on the water before and it is found to contain a substantially higher level of chloride and three times the sulphide content from tap water. The water is also slightly alkaline due to the presence of minerals and it has health benefits similar to other natural hot springs around the world.

The development of the park is currently underway and detailed plans have been made for Sembawang Hot Spring to feature a cafe, toilets and a floral walk. Replacing the temporary taps, where the spring water runs from, there will be a cascading pool as well. The entire project is expected to finish by end September 2019.

Well, it all came about in 1909 when a Chinese merchant named Seah Eng Keong discovered the hot spring in his pineapple estate in Sembawang. A well was then built along the spring which became what it is today. It is indeed unique to see this natural sight in Singapore, where we actually lack resources to have our own water yet we have a hot spring.

Honestly, I just can’t wait for the entire park to be developed by the end of 2019. My experience with it changed my initial mindset from the appearance of the place. I’m pretty sure with the proper aesthetics in place, it will surely be a must-try experience for everyone. Singapore also have onsen, ok. We’ll update this article again once the full hot spring has been developed.

Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm daily

Sembawang Hot Spring: junction of Sembawang Road and Gambas Avenue, along Jalan Ulu Sembawang Website

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