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Hot and Spicy in Asia

Hotsprings, Taipei Firedancing, Bali Volcano 'Krakatau', Indonesia

What’s hot right now? You! Feel the heat of hot holidays near volcanoes, see fire eaters quench their thirst for flame and see a dance in a trance at a traditional fire dance. So slap on the sunnies and get some degrees of delight!

Want to walk on hot coals? Maybe not, but you can watch dancers hop over the glowing red lumps during a Balinese Evening Tour. The three most famous dances of Indonesia are performed outside the village of Batabulan, ranging from the exorcism moves of the Sanghyang (Trance), the dramatic Kecak (Monkey) dance with over 50 barechested men and blazing bamboo torches, and the finale fire dance where the dancer is hyponotised to not feel pain. Contrasting with this firey frenzy are the soft white sands of the private beach at the Kupu Kupu Barong Beach Resort, with all the joys of a hot tub and sauna and having a massage atop a mango tree.

Bored of your white tub and rubber ducky? Take a hot bath with a difference at the Peitou hot springs in the Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei. Begin with a viewing of the hotplate – the volcano site of the park. Legend has it that the steaming water is a treatment for all manner of aches and pains, as well as nervous tension and digestive problems. After simmering in steam heaven, get spicy at the Caesar Park Hotel Taipei, which is running a promotion to warm your insides. Guests can purchase a “XO Sauce and Chilli Sauce Gift Set” at a discount. The gift set comes with 2 different chilli sauces: dry fish chilli sauce and fermented soy chilli sauce, made from the finest ingredients ideal for spicing up a meal at the hotel, or at home.

Boo! Cold and spooky nights may be the spine chilling ghost stories of the west, but in Hong Kong, the Hungry Ghosts Festival on 3 September is flaming with fun. Experience the atmosphere of the city as streets and beaches burst with offerings of intricate paper models — sometimes of high tech equipment — which are then burned to satisfy the wandering ghosts from the gates of hell. Enough of this eerie and lively vibe, retreat back to the Kowloon Shangri La Hotel, which has steam room and sauna, as well as a solarium to warm you through like a day on the beach.

Want to see something 13,000 times more powerful than a 1940s nuclear weapon — without the fallout? The explosions from Indonesian volcano Krakatoa (Krakatau) in 1883 were heard as far away as Perth, and even now the island grows at 13cm a week. Recent activity includes leaking of hot gas and lava to make a trip there awe-inspiring. When land gets too steamy, cool off in the water at the other islands with some snorkeling around the reefs. Feel the power of heat, but safely, back in the sauna and Jacuzzi at the Sheraton Lampung Hotel – ideal for a refresh before a trip to the Lobby Straits Bar for an ice-cold cocktail.

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