If you’re finding the grey, icy, winter months in Chengdu tough to bear, do like the locals and head for the rejuvenating hot thermal waters that run deep beneath the province. The facilities in Chengdu and the surrounding regions range from scenic outdoor baths to brightly lit, jam-packed indoor pools, all varying in quality and ambiance. Here is a range of options to thaw out your toes and soak yourself in some local culture:
Howard Johnson Conference Resort Chengdu
The perfect end to a long hike on Qingcheng Mountain, is the Howard Johnson Resort, just a stone’s throw from Qingcheng Shan highspeed train station. The Qingcheng Taoism Hot Spring has a large indoor pool, 50 outdoor pools, and 4 VIP hot spring villas. There’s a special spa, traditional food massage, a Taoism wooden bath, outdoor forest spa, and under floor heating. You can visit for the day or stay in the hotel overnight – they offer breakfast and dinner buffets.
Like all hot springs in China, they get very busy (and unpleasant) on national holidays and weekends – so be sure to call ahead.
Mondays – Thursdays: 14:00-24.00 | Fridays: 14:00-1:00 | Saturdays: 10:00-01:00 | Sundays: 10:00-24.00 Price:
168RMB per person
Tel: (028)88988888, (028)87198999
No.88 Qingcheng Taoism, Dujiangyan
Hua Shui Wan
If you’re planning on going skiing in Xiling Mountain (or rafting in the summer), this nearby town in Dayi county, is famous for hot springs. Just 20km away from snow mountain and about 70km from downtown Chengdu, many of the hotels here have their own hot spring pools with mountain backdrops. In the Spring there are decent hikes to be had in the surrounding regions.
Quality and prices of the hot springs vary a lot in Huishiuwan, but the Chengdu Huashuiwan Mingren Hotel 成都花水湾名人度假酒店 (from 135RMB per person) is probably the largest.
There is a direct bus connection from Xinnanmen Bus Station
No.174 Wuzhen Road, Huashuiwan Village
Hailuogou Glacier Park
Hailuogou National Glacier Forest Park (at lofty heights of over 3000m) is probably one of the most beautiful places in China to dip your toes into thermal waters. It’s on the road to Kanding and around 7 or 8-hour journey from Chengdu – but worth the journey through some of western Sichuan’s most scenic spots.
Winter is peak season here, so avoid weekends if possible. If you’ve not visited nearby Kanding – it’s a fantastically lively little Tibetan city which is now easier to access with new road networks.
168RMB per person
Direct bus connection to Hailuogou National Glacier Forest Park from Xinnanmen Bus Station
Moxi Town, Hailuogou, Luding
Emei Mountain Lingxiu Hot Springs
Hot springs are dotted around the base of Emei Shan, so it’s a little difficult to select one out of the mix. But the design, ambiance, and quality at the enormous Lingxiu Hot Springs make it worth mentioning. At dusk, the famous mist of Emei Mountain glides over the springs and multi-colored lights brighten up the place – if it’s too much natural beauty for you…
After a day of hiking the unforgiving stairs of Emei Shan, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in a hot pool and taking in that sight… although visibility isn’t guaranteed.
168 – 200 RMB, not including an overnight stay in the hotel
Highspeed trains run frequently from Chengdu South Railway Station 火车南站 or Xipu Station犀浦站 to Emei Mountain station 峨眉山站. Then take the 12 Bus to Da Jiu Dian Station 大酒店站.
Tel: 0833 5590 370
Zhougong Mountain Spa
If you find yourself at the Bifeng Xia Panda Base, just a few hours outside Chengdu, the Zhougong Mountain Springs are worth checking out. Surrounded by mountains, there are a couple of hotels in this development with thermal baths – and the water comes from thermal sources 3000m below the ground.
There are 2 hotels in the park: The Nanshuige Resort & Spa 楠水阁温泉度假酒 and the Zhougong Mountain Dream Spa 周公山梦温泉.
Opening hours: 14.00-22.00
Take a bus from Xinnanmen station to Ya’an (90 minutes to 2 hours, RMB 40pp), then get a taxi or mini-van to ZhouGong Mountain 周公山 (RMB 10pp).
Nanshui hostel, Zhougong Mountain Spa Garden, Yucheng, Ya’an
If you’re looking for a healing hit of thermal waters inside the city, there are several options in Chengdu, but these 2 are our favorites:
Tang Leyuan 汤乐源
This bathhouse in the South West of Chengdu is modeled on a Japanese onsen, complete with kimono print pajamas and hot stone rooms. They have inside and outside pools (the indoor pools are segregated by gender) and offer a ‘Japanese style’ seafood buffet, big lounge chairs for staying the night and massage services. It’s extremely clean and really quite fun.
228rmb ( incl. breakfast, hot spring & seafood buffet)
139rmb ( incl. breakfast and hot spring)
No.10 South Keyuanyi Road
Herijun Hot Springs Hotel 何日君温泉酒店
Right by Nijia Qiao stop on The Metro Line 1, this bathhouse-hot spring hybrid is well known amongst the Expat community in Chengdu and has been recently refurbished. There are hot and cold pools and steam room and saunas. There are comfy movie chairs and a children’s area for you to take a load off – and of course, there is an area to play Mahjong and cards.
Opening hours: 24 hours
2-8 Nijia Qiao Lu, Renmin Nan Lu, Section 4, Wuhou District
028 8555 3230
A note on Chinese hot spring etiquette:
Changing rooms and inside pools are usually separated by gender, and some require you to be naked – so it’s best to call before you visit if this is something you are not comfortable with.
Outdoor pools are communal, so shower before entering. Natural thermal springs may smell strongly of sulfur – which is why they’re attributed to having healing properties, but this varies between pools with different mineral makeups. Be warned that hot springs are often very busy during weekends and especially on national holidays – and can feel a little like a human hot pot, so go early to avoid crowds.