Nong Han, Udon Thani…Home for the Red Lotus Lake
The Red Lotus or Red Water Lily Lake at Nong Han Kumphawapi is about 45km south east from the Udon Thani ring road. This is the largest natural flower sightseeing site in Thailand where there is countless biodiversity for study and indulge with its beauty.
About the Place
Nong Han is a large fresh water lake which covers the area of Kumphawapi district and some part of Prachaksilapakom district in Udon Thani the province in northeastern Thailand. The rich and abundant ecosystem at Nong Han is a good prototype for ecological study due to there being a completely perfect relationship between plants and creatures here, and also their productiveness serves the villagers to live their life and community. So that this is the reflection of Nong Han from time to time until it has become natural beauty of life that many people aspire for.
Whereas the plentiful of livings in Nong Han is still existing very well and the numerous of red lotus spread out in the lake is as a proof for that. So, it is unsurprising that there is a vast number of red lotus that are overspread distantly. This is can be a valuable natural field study of ecology besides a place where you can enjoy for leisure propose only.
A flawless beauty of the red lotus lake is created by nature. Once they are blooming in the same time resulting charismatic scenery as paradise, while the various livings here play their role according to the circle of life, including human, plants, fresh water fish, local birds and so on those are as a heart of this ecosystem that has nurtured to the red lotus and community sustainability.
When to see the Red Lotus Lake
A peak period to visit Nong Han is during October – March annually as this is a time that the red lotus is blooming all around the lake. The red lotus flowers are bursting and flowering in October, then they are continuously blooming and the most period is between December – February, and then decreasing in March until enter to the period called “Rotten Lotus” or perishing lotus. Anyhow, while these perished lotuses are becoming a good fertilizer for a new lotus. And instead, there is ‘Sacred Lotus’ replaced in the lake that provides another ambience and scene. And this is so-called another profit for the villager since they can gather this lotus to earn money before the productivity of red lotus in next October.
Planning before visit the Red Lotus Lake
It is a good idea to have the most worthwhile trip to the Red Lotus Lake by planning well a schedule. According to its cycle to bloom of red lotus, a perfect time to explore this charming flowery sea starts from the early morning until 11am that is the highest blooming period. To arrange time to reach the lake, the local people in Udon Thani know well that it is about 45 minutes from the town to Ban Diem, where is a big pier for red lotus tour, however most of tourists prefer to find a place to stay nearby the site that there are plenty of homestays and guesthouses with residential hospitality provided to any tourists within Ban Diem and neighboring villages.
Since it is some kind of wonderful moment to ride in a boat and explore around the red lotus sea, although it is just about 45-minutes to 1.5 hour that depends on selection of boat. For some may think there is no many things to witness but red lotus, but if you take time and enjoy this moment you will see a diversity of these lotus including heron and egret soaring and gradually get fish lingeringly as its own place as well as the villager who still live their life so naturally by sailing to do fishing in the lake, farming rice, cutting sugar cane crop, etc. Moreover, some boat operators provide simple catering along the tour with traditional and local food such as Various menu of Som Tum or Spicy Papaya Salad especially “Tum Lai Bua” or Lotus stem Som Tum, Snake-head fish Tom Yum or Spicy Soup, Grilled Pork, Isan sausage, and ‘Kao Jee’ or Grilled Sticky Rice.
In addition, Udon Thani organizes the Red Lotus, Nong Han Kumphawapi Festival in January annually and there are many recreations to enjoy – Red Lotus Lake painting and Photo Contest, Pong Lang music contest, including to make a merit and worship to Phra Maha That Thep Chinda or Phra That Ban Diem where is a local sacred place of Ban Diem. Plus, for any couple who plan to get married, the Red Lotus pond will be set up to be the wedding site for group weddings that would be a very lovely and romantic venue for sure.
How to go to the Red Lotus Lake
The Red Lotus Lake, Nong Han Kumphawapi is situated about 45 kilometers from Udon thani town, to go there by car can take a highway number 2 (Udon Thani – Kumphawapi) head to the 26th kilometer and then turn left to the route Huay Sam Pard – Prachak Silapakom and head about 18 kilometers. By bus, get the bus Bangkok – Udon Thani and drop off at Kumphawapi district, and then take minibus.
Tips to enjoy your visiting at Red Lotus Lake
1. Time to see
The proper time to see the lotus is between 6.00-9.00am according to the sunrise time starts from 6am onwards. This is ideal for those who prefer to touch the original way of life and eco system around that area with a heart taking misty atmosphere and first light of dawn.
Note: Should be arrived to the pier before dawn about 10-15 minutes in order to spare time to ride on the boat.
2. Which is a good month?
High season is during December – February annually due to it is a time that lotus is peak of blooming.
Note: Since there are many groups of lotus to bloom and they naturally gradually bloom so the lake will be full with the red lotus is about late of December.
3. Selection of boat
There are 2 types of boat are
- Small: fare price is THB300 / boat / 2-3 people
- Large: fare price is THB500 / boat / 8 people
*** for safety, the life vests are available in all boats ***
Note: The small boat is better for photo shooting purposes because there is no rooftop to block your sight, however please be careful from the boat ramp as on its size and balance. And this type of boat is not recommended for seniority.
4. Which pier is good?
There are 4 piers by following
– Ban Diam Pier:
This is the biggest pier and most popular due to it is shortest distance from Udon Thani town and provides parking and restroom services.
– Chiang Wae Pier:
It is located near Kumphawapi district area. There is a signage ‘Bua Daeng Chiang Wae’ or ‘Chiang Wae Red Lotus’ as a background for photo opportunity.
– Chae Lae Pier:
It is located between Nong Han and Kumphawapi district. You are able to experience local lifestyle of people who live with fish cage and go out for fishing as well.
– Non Nam Yoi Pier:
This is a new pier and close to Kumphawapi district. It is the closest one to Red Lotus Lake site as well.
5. What to carry on
As on the period to visit the Red Lotus Lake is in winter or cold season in Thailand, so that we recommend to bring scarf, shawl or cardigan with you. Anyhow, it will be warmer after sunrise so sunglasses and cap or hat is preferred as well.
Note: Sunglasses and cap or hat is good bring along stuff besides they can protect you from the sunlight they are also prop for photo opportunity, too.
6. Only Red Lotus we can spot?
Apart from the Red Lotus there also are a lot of living things for you to expose such as various of birds, including heron, egret and hawk for instances. Further than this there are fish, buffalo, and of course villagers who live and work around the lake area.
For one who prefers to explore nature living things like birds or fish, you can inform the wheelman, so they will take you to the best spot for this including to give proper information that is good for you to learn and know.