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RED LOTUS LAKE
The number one reason that people come to Udon Thani is to see the Red Lotus Lake in full bloom.
Lake Nong Harn, known locally as Talay Bua Daeng or The Red Lotus Sea, transforms itself every October when millions of Lotus flower bloom across the 8,000 acres of the lake with the peak bloom occurring between December and January.
The Lake is explored in Pontoon boats that offer rides onto the lake for 45 minutes or 90 minutes along specially prepared channels through the flowers. These trips cost 300 and 500 baht, respectively regardless of how many people are in the boat. The pontoon boats have wide seats covered in straw mats and a canopy for shade and can accommodate up to ten passengers. Life vests are also provided though the lake is rarely ever more than a few feet deep.
For a more intimate viewing of the lake canoes are also available.
The absolute best time to view the lake is just after sunrise when there are the fewest other boats and the flowers are at their most open. After 10am, the flowers start to close against the heat and the lake tends to fill with other boats and tourists.
A typical day trip from Nakara Villa will leave at 6am (early we know but everyone agrees it is worth the effort) arriving at the lake, using pleasant North East country roads, to arrive at 6:45am for the sunrise . There is a small market at the lake as well as several Thai Restaurants though typically most guests prefer to take breakfast on return to the villa.
An absolute must for photographers
An alternative day trip is to combine The Lotus Lake with Ban Chiang UNESCO Heritage Site as they are, roughly, in the same area.