OUTSIDE OF TOKYO LIES KUSATSU, a hilly town that is one of the top onsen sites in Japan. And now, its therapeutic thermal waters can also be found in Bangkok.
You’ll plunge in those very waters in the most unexpected location: On the 12th floor of an upscale mall in the Ratchaprasong district. A dip in the onsen by Panpuri in Gaysorn Village means you’re also able to soak up the glittering view of Bangkok’s skyline.
The trade secrets of installing an authentic onsen
Panpuri is a tour de force in Bangkok’s spa and wellness scene. Transporting the waters of Kusatsu was easier than one might think for the brand. There’s a way to extract the spring’s essence, and turn it into a powder, Panpuri tells us when we visit the spa. We try to pry out more about the process, but it’s a trade secret.
What we know is that the powder is dissolved in water, creating an instant onsen with all its benefits. The Japanese have long used this process. It allows city hotels with no direct access to a natural hot spring to install onsens.
An Immersive Experience
Ah, a hot bath. The heat itself alleviates muscle tension, promotes blood circulation, and restful sleep. But every onsen has its own unique healing properties. Panpuri’s Kusatsu Onsen is acidic in nature. A dip in the pool will kill bacteria, helping with skin ailments like athlete’s foot.
Panpuri’s co-founder Vasu Surattiantra swears by the onsen’s natural restorative effects. “I regularly participate in rigorous sporting activities such as marathons and Ironman triathlons. Often, I suffer from with muscular tiredness and strains,” he says.
“I don’t want to always rely on medicine, so I’ve turned to natural ways of healing. Immersing in the soothing waters of a mineral-rich onsen helps to improve the circulation and reduce inflammation. I come out feeling totally relaxed.”
A fountain of beauty
In Japan, there exist “beauty springs”, called “Bijin-no-yu” in Japanese. These onsens are alkaline in nature, with natural exfoliating benefits. You emerge from the pool with silky, smooth skin. At the moment, Panpuri is home to such a wonder.
—Right now, Panpuri’s Seasonal Onsen pool is filled with alkaline waters from Niseko, a ski town on Hokkaido. Every three months, the spa imports onsen powder from a different region. It’s like a seasonal menu in kaisekicuisine — close your eyes, and imagine the snow around you. In a few months, you’ll picture cherry blossoms in bloom as the Seasonal Onsen changes.
12/F, Gaysorn Urban Retreat, Gaysorn Village, 127 Ratchadamri Rd
T: (+66) 2-253-8899