My husband is from Saingam Village and has used the hot spring for many years. As it is now very popular, we thought we’d share some information about it for future visitors.
What you need to know about the “Secret” Saingam Hot Spring
- Saingam is not a Thai village. It is a Lisu village and the people have their own language and costume. Most of the younger folks speak Thai but some of the older ones do not. They would use the hot spring to bathe during colder weather.
- It is no longer secret. In the old days, pre-2014, only the bravest tourists were able to find our hot spring. The turn-off wasn’t marked and the road to it wasn’t fully paved and was very difficult to drive on. It also had no facilities, so there was no place to change clothes. This was nice, as the hot spring usually wasn’t terribly crowded. This is no longer the case. The road has been paved, there are signs at the turnoff, and trucks and vans full of tourists arrive at certain times (2:15 pm on Sundays, for example). If you want to arrive before crowds do, you have to get there before the tour vans do.
- The road is STILL difficult. While it has been paved, it is still very very STEEP. If you go by motorbike, you need 100 cc for 1 person or 125 for 2 people. If not, your passenger WILL have to get off and walk up the hill. You must also use 1st gear going down the hills. We have had to take people to the hospital when they lost control of their motorbikes. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
- There is gas available. The hot spring does not have a gas pump, but you can purchase gas in a 2 liter bottle from the shop if you run out.
- You do have to pay twice. Tourists pay at the junction to enter the jungle. That money goes to the Thai Forest Protection Unit, which makes sure people do not chop down too many trees to clear farmland. You pay again at the hotspring and that money goes to Saingam village.
- It does support the local economy. The guards at the hotspring are people from Saingam village, including my brother-in-law. The people running the shops and restaurant are also from Saingam. Anything you purchase, as well as your entry fee, is helping an otherwise impoverished village. As with most other tourist spots, locals do not pay to get in.
- There is STILL no electricity. Saingam and the other villages in the area have no electric power lines. They only have solar panels, which provide enough power for lights, but not enough for refrigerators, washing machines, or large appliances. We are really hoping the popularity of the hot spring will help them get power lines.
Thank you for reading and enjoy your swim at the hot spring!