“ Destination: Mud bath - hot spring / Location: Between Nadi and Lautoka „
We spent a few days in Fiji and the hot springs at Sabeto is one of the experiences we chose to explore.
Unless you are interested in adrenalin seeking activities such as skidoos , banana boats, rafting down a river, swimming with sharks, scuba diving or deep sea fishing then there are limited things to do in the Nadi area. The most obvious experience is to sail and visit some of the smaller islands in either the Mamanuca or Yasawa island groups.
We decided we would take a trip to see a couple of the islands in the Mamanuca ( pronounced Mamanutha) group on one day and I'll write about that in another review.
On another day we explored a few of the local highlights around the Nadi area. We paid the taxi driver who brought us from the airport to give us the 'tour' and it cost us $160 Fijian which is about £55 and he took us to a number of different places, waited with us, took photos of us and then returned us to our hotel. His name was Tom and he was quite charming.
SABETO HOT SPRINGS
Tom collected us from our hotel at 9am and took us straight to the Sabeto Hot Springs which was perfect as we were the only ones there and by the time we were leaving two other groups arrived. The hot springs are extremely basic, just a spring and a pool in the middle of a field.
We arrived and were welcomed by a most enthusiastic young man who welcomed us in and took us over to see the hot spring. The pool with this hot spring produced water at about 72°C and we were able to put our hand in to test this and it was indeed extremely hot.
After we inspected this pool we were invited to go and get changed in the very basic changing rooms, bring our stuff out in our bags which Tom then looked after. Our good friend , Tom had charge of our camera too and took some great photos of us looking totally ridiculous in the various pools.
And then we will wallow...
The young owner of the pools then took us into the mud pool and we slithered into this rather murcky looking pool and rather gingerly made our way across the pool to where the mud was really hot. We were instructed to wet ourselves all over then with our hands full of warm mud we clambered rather ungracefully out of the muddy pool and once out we had to cover ourselves in this warm mud ALL over, face arms, legs etc.
We then sat basking in the sun turning until all the mud was dry on us then we made our way back into the murky mud pool to wash it all off. The land the springs were on is owned by a family in a village near the airport. This was their farming land and the young man's grandfather had discovered the springs in 1952 and since then all sorts of miracle cures have been credited to these warm waters and gloopy mud. So as much of the mud as we could was washed off in the muddy pool and out we clambered again. There were no proper steps just some concrete blocks somewhat askew making a bit of a step into the pool but as you couldn't see anything and you squelched through quite thick mud it was very tricky keeping upright and even more difficult getting in and out.
Now to a nice warm bath....
So out of the muddy pool we then walked across the field and past the very hot spring until we reached the warm spring pool. This was not quite as murcky looking as the mud pool but still was quite . However once you had managed to negotiate the concrete block and large stones to get in, it was absolutely lovely and warm. It was like swimming in a warm bath of muddy water. We spent about ten minutes in this pool while the young guide persuaded us to have a Fijian massage at the huge price of $10 Fiji (about £3.50). We had paid the same to come in and experience the hot Springs and mud which we thought was a pretty good price really for a very different experience.
A massage a field...
A Fijian massage appears to be given on a mat on the floor. A tarp was put down then a woven mat and then we lay on our towels while two Fijian ladies gave us a very gentle massage. It was quite a novelty but I wouldn't say it was greatly therapeutic. It certainly didn't sort my back out like the young Korean guy did in the night market in Cairns when he had his knee in my back!
So $40 poorer and feeling very soporific we waved goodbye to our lovely young guide just as he was welcoming the next group of people in. It was lovely to be there alone and I am glad we didn't go in a tour group there as we got very individual attention and had the whole rather basic changing rooms to ourselves. The toilet in there was a flushing toilet but it appeared to be a bit blocked so I didn't use it.
This was a very different experience and I am so glad we were able to experience this by ourselves rather than with a lot of other people as the changing rooms were not large and were far from luxurious. I would thoroughly recommend a visit as it is a great experience a bit like the mud baths at Dalyan in Turkey which we visited about twenty years ago and they were pretty basic then. It was good fun and although I am not looking ten years younger after my mud bath and massage I did enjoy the whole experience of paddling in the muddy pool and being massaged on a mat in a field!
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