For three months a year, Lake Nong Harn near Udon Thani in Northern Thailand (about 350 miles north of Bangkok) becomes awash with millions of vibrant pink lotus flowers. It seems appropriate that the peak time for witnessing the display on the “Red Lotus Sea” (in Thai, Talay Buadaeng) occurs near St. Valentines Day.
The best way to see the lotuses is to hire a small boat to take you into the central part of the 80,000-acre lake where in addition to the spectacle of the lotuses you are surrounded by rare species of marsh birds, strange aquatic plants, and other wildlife. The best time to see the flowers is in the morning, because like sunflowers, the blooms tend to close during the afternoon.
When Sarah and I visited earlier this week we were the only westerners on the lake. It was quite and adventure and I must admit somewhat romantic as well. Apparently, Talay Buadaeng is famous among locals, who say the lake originated due to a tragic love saga, but it has not been well known to foreigners. That may be about to change as Travel + Leisure Magazine recently named the Red Lotus Sea the world’s second strangest lake after Jellyfish Lake in Palau.