Tourists are flocking to Nong Han Kumphawap or also known as the Red Lotus Lake, in the Udon Thani province to view the spectacular scenery of pink water lilies in bloom.
The freshwater lake located just north of Kumphawapi, in Udon Thai Province is around 7 km long, 3 km wide and quite shallow at approximately 2 meters deep. For most of the year, the lake is average. However, from December to February every year, the blooming of thousands of pink lotus flowers transforms the lake into a never-ending carpet of pink blooms that CNN has named one of the world’s strangest lakes.
The pink-coloured flowers are tropical water lilies which resemble lotuses. The leaves and flowers of lotus usually rise above the water surface whereas the leaves and flowers of the water lily usually just float on the surface of the water. However, the exception to this are tropical water lilies where the leaves float on the surface and their flowers rise around fifteen centimeters above the water, as is the case on Nong Han Kumphawap.
The Legend of Nong Han Lake
Local folklore links Nong Han Kumphawap to a traditional tale involving Princess Nang Ai and Prince Phadaeng. According to legend, Nang Ai was famed for her beauty and many suitors wanted to marry her. Her father decided to hold a competition to decide the winner of Nang Ai’s hand in marriage.
The competition becomes complicated involving magical transformations, murder, and revenge. Mythical serpents arose from a local river after a fierce battle and flooded the area which became Nong Han Kumphawap. This ancient folktale just makes the lake even more romantic in the eyes of local Thais.
Where is the Red Lotus Lake?
The Red Lotus Lake is one hour drive from the city of Udon Thani. This seasonal attraction is not often visited be international tourist due to the difficulty of reaching the area by public transport. The best way to reach the lake is by private transport.
- Rent a car or motorbike – You can rent a car or motorbike in Udon Thani. Malaysians are allowed to drive in Thailand without the requirement of an international driver permit (IDP).
- Hire a taxi for the day – Hiring a taxi for the day should cost 1000-1500 Baht. Ensure the price includes a return trip and the driver waits while you are on your boat ride.
When is the best time to visit the Red Lotus Lake?
To truly appreciate the beauty of the Red Lotus Lake, it is crucial to plan your visit during the blooming season, which occurs during the cool season from early December to the end of February. This is the time when the water lilies are in full bloom, transforming the lake into a surreal landscape of vibrant red hues. The peak viewing periods are in January and February when the lake is adorned with an extensive carpet of blooming plants.
For the best experience, it is advisable to arrive early in the morning when the flowers are at their prime. The blossoms tend to close slightly as the sun intensifies throughout the day. By arriving early, preferably between sunrise and 11 am, you can witness the lotus flowers in their most magnificent state.
It is important to stay updated on local weather conditions and blooming updates before your trip to ensure that you do not miss this natural spectacle. By planning your visit during the peak blooming period and arriving early in the day, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Red Lotus Lake at its finest.
What to do at the Red Lotus Lake?
To fully enjoy the unique experience of floating amidst the sea of pink flowers, it is necessary to rent a boat. From the shoreline, the water lilies are barely visible, so you will need to travel by boat for approximately 10 minutes to reach the breathtaking lotus blooms. Once on the boat, the engine will be turned off at designated spots, allowing you to peacefully float on the water and capture stunning photos. The surrounding blanket of pink lotus flowers, stretching as far as the eye can see, creates an enchanting atmosphere that makes this lake a truly special attraction.
Visiting the Red Lotus Lake is popular among local residents, and it tends to be busier on weekends, public holidays, and Valentine’s Day. It’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly and consider weekdays or less crowded times for a more serene experience.
During your visit to the Red Lotus Lake, you can enjoy various activities:
- Boat Tours: Embark on a boat tour to explore the Red Lotus Lake up close. Local guides will navigate through the labyrinth of lotus flowers, providing you with ample opportunities to capture stunning photographs and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere.
- Bird Watching: The Red Lotus Lake is home to a diverse array of bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts. Keep your binoculars handy and marvel at the graceful movements of the resident and migratory birds that inhabit the lake.
- Photography: Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur with a smartphone, the Red Lotus Lake offers endless opportunities to capture breathtaking images. The vibrant lotus flowers, serene waters, and picturesque surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for stunning photographs.
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Red Lotus Lake, and let your senses be captivated by the vibrant colors and peaceful ambiance that this enchanting destination has to offer.
How much does it cost to visit the Red Lotus Lake?
Visiting the Red Lotus Lake is an affordable adventure that offers incredible value for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. To begin your boat tour, make your way to the Ban Diam pier on the northern side of the lake. At the pier, you’ll find a selection of boats available for rent, providing the perfect opportunity to explore the lake and its magnificent lotus blooms. There are two types of boats to choose from:
- Small Wooden Boat: This cozy boat is ideal for couples or smaller groups, accommodating up to two people. It can be rented for 300 Baht per hour. The advantage of the small wooden boat is that it allows you to venture deeper into the lotus blooms, offering better chances for stunning photographs and a more intimate experience.
- Larger Plastic Boat: If you’re visiting with a larger group or prefer more space, there is a plastic boat available that can accommodate up to eight people. The rental cost for this boat is 500 Baht per hour. Along with the boat, a driver will be provided, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable tour. Life vests will also be available for everyone’s safety.
Both options come with knowledgeable drivers who are familiar with the lake and its surroundings. They will navigate the boat, guiding you through the picturesque scenery and ensuring you have a memorable experience. Safety is a priority, and the availability of life vests ensures that you can enjoy your tour with peace of mind.
Opting for the small wooden boat allows you to get up close and personal with the lotus blooms, providing an immersive experience and ample opportunities for breathtaking photographs. Regardless of the boat you choose, you can expect a captivating journey through the enchanting sea of pink flowers that will leave you in awe.
Travel Tips Before Visiting the Red Lotus Lake
To make the most of your visit to the Red Lotus Lake, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Dress Comfortably: When visiting the Red Lotus Lake, it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather and activities. Wear light, breathable clothing and comfortable shoes that are suitable for exploring the lake and its surroundings. Additionally, it’s advisable to bring a light jacket as the early mornings at the lake may be a little cold. Since Thailand has a tropical climate, remember to pack sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent to protect yourself from the sun and pesky mosquitoes.
- Bring a Camera: Ensure you have a reliable camera or smartphone with ample storage space and extra batteries to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of the Red Lotus Lake. You wouldn’t want to miss out on documenting this extraordinary natural wonder.
- Respect the Environment: Help preserve the beauty of the Red Lotus Lake by practicing responsible tourism. Avoid littering and follow any guidelines provided by the tour operators to ensure the conservation of this fragile ecosystem.
- Stay Hydrated: Thailand’s tropical climate can be hot and humid, even during the cool season. Remember to stay hydrated throughout your visit by carrying a reusable water bottle and drinking plenty of fluids to keep yourself refreshed.
- Plan Ahead: The Red Lotus Lake attracts visitors from all over the world, especially during the peak blooming season. To ensure a seamless experience, it’s advisable to book your boat tour in advance. This will help you secure your spot and avoid any disappointments.
- Explore Local Cuisine: Udon Thani is known for its delectable local cuisine. Take the opportunity to savor the regional delicacies and immerse yourself in the flavors of the local culture. Don’t miss out on trying the mouthwatering dishes unique to this part of Thailand.
- Download Offline Google Maps: When driving to the Red Lotus Lake, it’s helpful to download offline Google Maps or have a reliable navigation app handy. This will ensure you can easily find your way to the lake without any connectivity issues.
- Parking and Facilities: There are ample parking spaces available near the lake. Additionally, you’ll find local restaurants and basic toilet facilities to cater to your needs during your visit.
- Choose Less Busy Days: If possible, plan your visit to the Red Lotus Lake on weekdays rather than weekends or public holidays. This will provide a more serene and less crowded experience.
Remember, the peak blooming season of the pink lotus flowers occurs during the cool season from early December to late February. Outside of these months, the lotus blooms may not be flowering.
FAQs About Visiting The Red Lotus Lake
Is the Red Lotus Lake accessible for individuals with mobility issues?
While the boat tours provide access to the lake, it’s essential to note that the terrain may be uneven, and boarding the boats may require some physical effort. It’s advisable to contact the tour operators beforehand to discuss any specific requirements.
Are there restroom facilities available near the Red Lotus Lake?
Yes, there are restroom facilities available near the lake for visitors’ convenience. However, it’s always a good idea to carry tissue paper and hand sanitizer with you, as these amenities may have limited supplies.
Can I bring my own food and drinks to the Red Lotus Lake?
Yes, you are allowed to bring your own food and drinks to enjoy a picnic by the lake. However, be mindful of disposing of any waste responsibly to help maintain the cleanliness of the area.
Are there any accommodations near the Red Lotus Lake?
While there are no accommodations directly at the Red Lotus Lake, Udon Thani offers a range of lodging options to suit various budgets.
Can I visit the Red Lotus Lake with young children?
Yes, visiting the Red Lotus Lake with young children can be a wonderful experience for the whole family. Ensure you have appropriate safety measures in place, such as life jackets for children during the boat tour, and keep an eye on them to ensure their well-being.
Visiting the Red Lotus Lake in Udon Thani, Thailand, is an extraordinary journey into a world of natural beauty and enchantment. From the captivating legend of Nong Han Lake to the vibrant sea of red lotus flowers, this destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, bird lover, or simply seeking tranquility amidst breathtaking surroundings, the Red Lotus Lake is a must-visit destination. Plan your trip, immerse yourself in the wonder of the lake, and create lasting memories that will stay with you long after you’ve left this magical place.