Talay Buadaeng or the Red Lotus Sea is technically not red. It is of a bright bubblegum pink colour and is probably the pinkest place in the world. An intrepid travel gem, hidden in the northern Thai province of Isaan, Talay Buadaeng is a sight to behold. A large lake, located on the outskirts of the brash Udon Thani city, gets filled with huge masses of pink lilies and this blooming creates one of the most beautiful natural sights on earth. A calm sea of pink stretches as far as eyes can see and only a clear blue sky spans overhead. The mass blooming attracts local tourists in hordes and the lake‘s ingenious boatmen have created lovely navigation waterways between the beds of lilies. This not only protects the plants but has also given rise to an enchanting boat trip through the ‘sea of red lotus‘. I visited Udon Thani this January on a calendar shoot project and it took me some efforts to see the Talay Buadaeng in full glory.
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The endless pink of the Red Lotus Sea
The reasons are aplenty and the lilies bloomed only in the mornings. By noon, they closed up in buds and seeing them in full bloom meant reaching Talay Buadaeng at sunrise. The lake is also not easy to find if you do not know the local name and one must reach there as early as possible to get a small boat for yourself. Since this phenomenon lasts only for a month or two, it gets pretty full and busy during the blooming months and late risers may have to try their luck for a couple of days to get their first sighting. But the sights are worth all the efforts and the Red Lotus Sea is an unforgettable experience. The lake attracts a lot of birds too and from snow white storks to brown moorhens, there are plenty of feathered beauties for bird watchers. This photo essay is dedicated to offbeat travel and the joy of exploring places beyond the well-trodden circuit. Thailand is anything but ordinary and overhyped and Talay Buadaeng is the best example of this.
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Travel Facts for visiting the Red Lotus Sea
When to visit –
The lilies of Talay Buadaeng blooms like a pink sea, from January through February and you have to visit it during that time to experience the full beauty. January also hosts the “Red Lotus Sea Festival” and the weather is blissfully balmy. Isaan gets covered in spring flowers and at that time Udon Thani can be a very relaxing break, away from the maddening crowds of beach and Chiang Mai lovers.
How to reach –
The best way to reach Udon Thani (for Red Lotus Sea) is by flight from Bangkok and it is catered by many airlines like Nok Air, Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, Air Asia, etc. A round trip would cost around 180 USD (around 9000 Rs) and it is advisable to take an evening flight so that you can reach the lake the next day at sunrise. It is also possible to reach Udon Thani by long-distance bus (Mo Chit) and train from Bangkok. Bus journeys take approximately 8 hours and most trains to/from Udon Thani terminate or begin at Nong Khai. There are daily daytime connections and 3 daily nighttime trains from Bangkok to Udon Thani and vice versa. It is possible to cross over to Laos from Udon Thani.
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Travel Tips for visiting the Red Lotus Sea
The Talay Buadaeng which is in the Nong Han Kumphawapi is just 30 minutes away from the city. The best way to reach there is by taxi and a return ride will cost around 2000 THB (Thai Baht). A boat ride for an hour or so, costs around 150 THB. The best time to visit Talay Buadaeng is around 6 am, for most beautiful morning light and less crowd. There are many street food vendors and a coffee shop near the boat ticket counter.
Other attractions of Udon Thani
Apart from the Red Lotus Sea, the lively Night Market, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ban Chiang (archaeological park) and Phu Prabhat National Park (historical park with beautiful rock formations and Bronze Age cave paintings ) are places of interest around Udon Thani.
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored guest post and I had stayed at Kavinburi Green Hotel at Udon Thani.
Follow the rest of the Thailand series
- WHY I LOVE CHIANG MAI IN THAILAND?
- VISITING THE CHIANG MAI LOCAL MARKETS
- A RESPONSIBLE ETHNIC WAY TO VISIT THE THAI HILL TRIBES
- DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE