Tourists are flocking to Nong Han Kumphawap or also known as the Red Lotus Lake, in the Udon Thani province to view the spectacular scenery of pink water lilies in bloom.
The freshwater lake located just north of Kumphawapi, in Udon Thai Province is around 7km long, 3km wide and quite shallow at approximately 2 meters deep. For most of the year, the lake is average. However, from December to February every year, the blooming of thousands of pink lotus flowers transforms the lake into a never-ending carpet of pink blooms that CNN has named it one of the world’s strangest lakes.
The pink-coloured flowers are tropical water lilies which resembles lotuses. The leaves and flowers of lotus usually rise above the water surface whereas the leaves and flowers of the water lily usually just float on the surface of the water. However, the exception to this are tropical water lilies where the leaves float on the surface and their flowers rise around 15 centimetres above the water, as is the case on Nong Han Kumphawap.
Local folklore also links Nong Han Kumphawap to a traditional tale involving Princess Nang Ai and Prince Phadaeng. According to legend, Nang Ai was famed for the beauty and many suiters wanted to marry her. Her father decided to hold a competition to decide the winner of Nang Ai’s hand in marriage.
The competition becomes complicated involving magical transformations, murder and revenge. Mystical serpents arose from a local river after a fierce battel and flooded the area which became Nong Han Kumphawap. This ancient folktale just makes the lake even more romantic in the eyes of local Thais.
When is the best time to visit the Red Lotus Lake?
The best time to visit the Red Lotus Lake is January and February when the water lilies cover a wide area of the lake.
The flowers are at their best in the early morning. They tend to close up slightly as the sun heats up in the middle of the day.