Red Lotus Lake in Udon Thani, Thailand – Full Guide 2024

Red Lotus Lake with thousands of blooming pink flowers in Thailand

Have you ever heard about the beautiful Red Lotus Lake in Udon Thani? It’s known for its flowers covering the water’s surface and creating a surreal view.

This hidden gem in Northeast Thailand is only known by locals. They call it Talay Bua Daeng, which means Red Lotus Sea. Funny that it’s not the sea and there are no red lotus flowers. It’s a lake, which is filled with pink tropical water lilies.

In this travel guide post, you will find everything you need to know about visiting the Red Lotus Lake in Thailand. It’s a unique addition to your trip to Thailand.

Why Is Red Lotus Lake Worth Visiting?

Red Lotus Lake, Udon Thani
red lotus lake thailand birds

If you’re looking for a unique and romantic experience, a boat ride on the Red Lotus Lake won’t disappoint you. You will be surrounded by thousands of pink flowers and feel the magic when the sun comes up and the flowers start opening.

Where is Red Lotus Lake Located?

The Red Lotus Lake is located near Udon Thani, about 45 kilometers from the city in northeast Thailand. This lake, officially called Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake, is around 8 kilometers long and 3 kilometers wide.

Red Lotus Lake in Thailand on Map

What Kind of Flowers Are There on the Red Lotus Lake?

Pink Lotus Blooms, Red Lotus Lake

As mentioned above, the pink flowers on the Red Lotus Lake are not lotus flowers but tropical water lilies. The two flowers look similar to each other. The difference between them is that water lilies rise to 15 cm above the water’s surface, while lotuses only float on the water.

When is the Best Time to Visit Red Lotus Lake?

Red Lotus Lake: Stunning Sunset

The blooming season of the pink flowers occurs during the dry season, from late November to late February. This is the time when the blooming water lilies transform the lake into a vibrant landscape. During these months, temperatures range from 20-35°C and the sky tends to be clear.

The peak of the blooming period is in January and February when the lake is fully covered, making Valentine’s Day for many local couples a popular day to visit for a romantic sight of thousands of flowers in all directions.

For the best experience, we highly recommend visiting early in the morning, between 6-10 am, when the flowers are fully open in their most beautiful state. The flowers open when they see the first morning light and start to close up as the sun rises throughout the day, being totally closed at midday.

Another good reason to visit in the early morning is to avoid the intense heat of the day and enjoy the soft morning light, perfect for photography.

We didn’t experience this, but according to other travelers, there should be a second blooming time in the afternoon, making the golden hours before sunset another good option to visit the Red Lotus Lake.

For a less crowded experience, we recommend planning your visit by avoiding weekends and public holidays, which are the times when most locals visit. Less crowded means less noise, thanks to fewer boat motors.

How to Get to Red Lotus Lake?

Boat Tour, Red Lotus Lake

Start your journey to the Red Lotus Lake from Udon Thani, which is located only 40 km away, around a 1-hour ride. You can reach Udon Thani from Bangkok by bus, train, and plane. From Chiang Mai by bus or plane, and from other cities nearby and the Laos border by bus. 

The airport in Udon Thani is a domestic one with short direct flights from Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Udon Thani City is where we recommend you to spend the night before visiting the Red Lotus Lake and where you can arrange your transport to the lake the day before. You have two options:

From Udon Thani, you can rent a scooter or car and ride by yourself to the lake. Make sure to organize the vehicle in advance by asking your accommodation for help. Rent it the evening before so you can leave early in the morning.

Another option when coming from Udon Thani is hiring a taxi (1000-1500 THB round trip). The driver will wait for you at the lake and bring you back to Udon Thani after your boat tour. You can ask your accommodation to arrange this for you.

Ban Diam on the northeast side of the lake is where the boat tours start and where you should head to.

Informations and Experience with Red Lotus Lake

The Red Lotus Lake is a popular destination among local tourists, but it’s not as popular for international tourists due to the difficulty of reaching it by public transport.

Remember, the easiest way to reach the lake is by private transport from Udon Thani, either by renting a vehicle or hiring a driver. We didn’t see any other foreigners at the lake.

In January and February, the sunrise in Udon Thani is usually around 6 am. We left around 5 am from our hotel to have a stunning morning experience.

To see the incredible landscapes of the Red Lotus Lake up close, it’s necessary to hire a boat with a driver since the flowers can’t be seen from the shore. At the Ban Diam Pier, visitors can choose between smaller and larger boats, depending on their preference and group size.

The local boatman will first drive for 10 minutes to reach the water lilies, where he will navigate through the labyrinth of flowers. He will stop at designated spots, giving you time to peacefully enjoy the flowers stretching as far as your eyes can see and to take stunning photos.

There are life vests available to ensure your safety. You may be asked to wear one during the tour. But don’t worry, you will be able to take it off for pictures.

We took a smaller boat, a traditional wooden boat, which was more aesthetic than the bigger one. Also, it allowed us to venture deeper into the flowers, which was better for pictures.

However, the bigger boat is a better option if you’re a group and want to split the costs rather than splitting the group into different boats.

During your visit to the Red Lotus Lake, you can enjoy activities like bird watching and photography.

The lake is home to diverse bird species. If you’re a bird enthusiast, bring a binocular with you to observe the magnificent colorful waterbirds. Also, there are endless photography opportunities to capture the vibrant flowers and the picturesque surroundings.

How much does it cost to visit the Red Lotus Lake?

Red Lotus Lake, Udon Thani

Visiting the Red Lotus Lake is an extremely budget-friendly adventure. At the Ban Diam Pier, there are two types of boats to choose from:

Small Wooden Boat: The small boat is perfect for two people and costs 300 THB. This boat allows you to get closer to the flowers and increases your chances of capturing better photographs.

Larger Boat: The bigger boat is ideal for larger groups, accommodating up to eight people, and offers more space. The cost is 500 THB.

You can also choose between a short trip (45-60 minutes) or a long trip (90-120 minutes). The costs mentioned above are for the shorter trip; if you wish to have more time, you will have to pay a little bit more.

Tips for the Red Lotus Lake

Pink Lotus Flowers on Red Lotus Lake

Maximize your Red Lotus Lake visit with these good-to-know tips before you visit the Red Lotus Lake.

  • You will need to organize your visit to the Red Lotus Lake by yourself. There are no tours available online on Viator or GetYourGuide.
  • We highly recommend arranging transport in advance, as you will need private transport and ideally leave before sunrise.
  • Udon Thani is a great place to taste delicious Thai food. Use the opportunity to try some traditional local dishes.
  • When self-driving to the Red Lotus Lake, download offline Google Maps for navigation.
  • While sharing a boat with other people can be cheaper, if you get your own boat, you will have a more private and intimate experience.
  • The Red Lotus Lake is a Photographer’s Paradise. Bring your camera to capture this surreal landscape.
  • Avoid littering and respect nature.
  • Facilities near the lake include parking, toilets, and local restaurants.
  • We found out that Thailand is home to different red lotus lakes. This one is near Udon Thani and another one in the south called Thale Noi in the southern province of Phatthalung.
  • Remember to visit the Red Lotus Lake between December and February to see the pink flowers.
  • We recommend avoiding weekends and holidays when many Thai people come to visit.
  • Also, don’t forget to visit in the morning, best for sunrise.
  • Wear light, breathable clothing and bring sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent for the boat ride. Additionally, bring some extra clothes for the early morning: it can be cooler in the morning, especially if you come by scooter like we did.

Where to Stay when Visiting the Red Lotus Lake

Thailand's Red Lotus Lake

We recommend staying in Udon Thani City, which is accessible by public transportation and offers a wide variety of accommodations, food places, shopping, and entertainment facilities.

 In Udon Thani City, there is much going on, such as the night market with local street food. Search on Google Maps for UD Town in Udon Thani.

From Udon Thani, you can visit Red Lotus Lake by renting a vehicle or hiring a driver, which takes less than one hour.

Best Hotels in Udon Thani

Check out top-rated and handpicked accommodations in Udon Thani City in different price ranges.

Best Hotels near Red Lotus Lake

Alternatively, you may choose to stay near the Red Lotus Lake and organize your transport through your accommodation.

While there are no accommodations directly at Red Lotus Lake, there are a few nearby, however, the options for accommodations and restaurants are very limited. For more options, stay in Udon Thani City.

Where to Go After Red Lotus Lake?

After visiting Red Lotus Lake, you have a couple of great options. If you’re heading to Vientiane, Laos, Udon Thani is a convenient stop, just a 1.5-2 hour ride away.

Alternatively, you can return to Bangkok and explore the stunning off-the-beaten-path islands of Koh Mak and Koh Kood, which are among Thailand’s best-kept secrets. We can’t recommend them enough.


Vibrant Pink Lotus Flowers

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Thailand with the vibrant colors and peaceful ambiance of the Red Lotus Lake near Udon Thani.

This lake offers a surreal and peaceful experience, especially during sunrise with thousands of pink water lilies everywhere around you! A real paradise for nature lovers and photographers.

Any questions? Your own experiences? Let us know in the comments!

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