Complete Guide to Visiting the Red Lotus Lake / Talay Bua Daeng

Discover the Red Lotus Sea / Talay Bua Daeng

Exploring the Mystique of Thailand's Red Lotus Sea in Udon Thani

Described by CNN as the second strangest lake in the world, the Red Lotus Sea, or Talay Bua Daeng in Thai, is located in Udon Thani province in the northeastern region of Thailand. This enchanting lake offers visitors a serene escape into a world of vibrant colours, rich history, and captivating mythology. Learn about visiting the lake below or download our free PDF Guide to Visiting the Talay Bua Daeng, Udon Thani

Location of the Talay Bua Daeng:

The Red Lotus Sea is situated approximately 35 kilometers southeast of Udon Thani city, near the village of Ban Diam, in Amphoer Prachak Sinlapakom of Kumphawapi district. Accessible by road, visitors can reach the lake by car or taxi from Udon Thani. The journey typically takes around one hour. There is also a train station around 10 kilometgres away at Huai Sam Phat, on the tracks between Udon Thani and Khon Kaen. However, if you plan to arrive by train do ensure that your chosen train is scheduled to stop at this tiny railway station.

The Red Lotus lake should be visited in the early morning in order to see the blooming water lillies before they close in the sun. As such, you should plan your visit carefully. Arriving on day one and then waking early to see the lake the following morning is the most highly recommended option, as is overnighting in the immediate vicinity of the lake.

Best Season to Visit

The best time to experience the full splendour of the Red Lotus Sea is during the cool season, from December to February. During this time, the weather is mild, and the lotus flowers are in full bloom in the morning, painting the lake's surface with shades of purple and pink. In addition, these months usually enjoy clear, azure blue skies, lending the blooms the most dramatic backdrop. The lake remains open year-round, and visitors can still enjoy its beauty during other seasons, albeit with far fewer flowers.

Out of the blooming season, so from late March to the end of November, it is still a good place for bird-watching, or for photographing the local fishermen as they use enormous lift or lever nets to snare their lunch around the water's edges.

Interestingly, the name of the "Red Lotus Sea" is a translation of the Thai name, which uses the words sea (Talay) and red lotus (Bua Daeng.) Whilst there are some lotus flowers at the lake, the vast majority of the breathtaking blooms are in fact the purple and pink flowers of water lilies (of the Nymphaeaceae family.)

Boat Trips and Boat Types

Exploring the Red Lotus Sea is a magical experience best enjoyed from the water. Visitors can rent traditional long-tail boats or aluminium motorized boats from the lakeside ticket office at Ban Diam, only two minutes away from Hormduk Resort. Renting a long-tail boat captained by a skilled local boatman is the best option for a couple, but the larger boats that can seat up to around eight are better for groups or for those with young children, and have the advantage of being a lot more stable in the water. (Note: the water is not deep even in the centre of the lake, but lifejackets are provided for visitors to wear free of charge.) The boats of both types have awnings that afford good shelter from the sun. Your captain will take visitors on a leisurely cruise through the lotus-covered waters, allowing you to immerse yourselves in the tranquil ambiance of the lake. He will stop along the way amid the thickest blooms in order for you to be able to capture the best possible photographs.

Cost of Boat Trips on Talay Bua Daeng

The cost of boat trips varies depending on the duration and type of boat chosen. Typically, a one-hour long-tail boat ride may cost around 300 Thai Baht, while the larger boat rentals cost THB500 per hour. Negotiating prices with the boat operators is no longer necessary, as a ticket booth has been established to ensure flat rates for all and an even distribution of work to the local boat owners. This booth can often be shut out of season, but you will find boat owners at the lakeside who will be only too happy to take you on a trip at the same rates as above.

Places to stay near the Red Lotus Sea

Rather than staying in Udon Thani or Kumphawapi, visitors are strongly advised to book accommodation around the lake itself. Doing so, you will have the quickest and easiest access to the lake in the morning, where you can avoid the crowds and snag the best, early-morning views of the lake. Whether you are on a budget or wish to stay in a private pool villa, there is something to suit every traveler's preference and budget. Staying in one of these accommodations allows visitors to explore not only the Red Lotus Sea but also other attractions in the region. These include the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site at Ban Chiang, the market town of Kumphawapi with its roaming monkeys, forest temples, and local festivals.

Top Budget hotel near the Red Lotus Sea: Hormduk Resort

Top Private Pool Villa near the Talay Bua Daeng: Green Gecko

History and Mythology of the Talay Bua Daeng, Udon Thani

The Red Lotus Sea holds a significant place in Thai folklore and mythology. It is believed that it was formed as a result of a love triangle involving a princess called Nang Aikham and two suitors, Prince Phadaeng and Prince Pangkhee respectively. According to local legend, the lake was formed from the tears of a grieving mother whose son was lost in battle. Her tears transformed into red lotus flowers, which covered the lake's surface, symbolizing eternal love and devotion. Today, the lake serves as a sacred site where locals pay homage to the spirits and seek blessings for good fortune and prosperity.

Flora and Fauna

In addition to its iconic red lotus flowers, the Red Lotus Sea is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. Tall reeds and water lilies line the lake's shores, providing habitat for various species of birds, including egrets, herons, and kingfishers. Beneath the surface, an abundance of aquatic life thrives, from colorful fish to freshwater turtles. Visitors can marvel at the natural beauty of the lake while observing its inhabitants in their natural habitat.

The Talay Bua Daeng - in short

A visit to the Talay Bua Daeng / Red Lotus Sea in Udon Thani promises an unforgettable experience, where travelers can immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of nature, discover the rich history and mythology of the region, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether gliding through the water-lilly anbd lotus covered waters or exploring the surrounding countryside, the Red Lotus Sea offers a glimpse into the enchanting soul of Thailand's northeastern region.