The Red Lotus Sea, officially known as Talay Bua Daeng, has a misleading name: it isn’t red, it doesn’t have lotus flowers and it isn’t an actual sea. These are thousands of pink water lilies that take over the Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake. When these are in bloom they create the “sea of flowers” effect.
How to get to the Red Lotus Sea
This rather unusual lake is located 40km south of Udon Thani, in Northeast Thailand. And Ban Diam is the side of the lake where you can get a boat to explore the lake.
Udon Thani is the closest city with an airport that operates several daily flights to/from Bangkok and other Thai cities. Airlines that connect Bangkok to Udon Thani (UTH) are Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and NOK Air. If you are flying from Chiang Mai, Nok Air is the only one currently offering direct flights.
By train there are several daily departures available from Bangkok, including over night rides, taking between 9 to 11h to arrive.
By bus, it takes about 8h, with hourly departures from Bangkok Moshi Bus Terminal.
To get from Udon Thani to Ban Diam, you can rent a car, a motorbike or hire your own private taxi for the day. If you opt for a car, I would advise you to book online in advance, as it can sell out pretty quickly.
When is the best time to visit the Red Lotus Sea
This magical aquatic garden showcases its beauty during the colder months, from early December to the end of February.
The best time of the day to see the flowers in bloom is between 6 and 11am. After these times, the flowers close to protect from the midday heat.
Red Lotus Sea Price
When at the pier you can choose your boat and pay for it. They will then allocate you a sailor. There are 2 different types of boats you can choose from: the wooden long tail boat or the bigger plastic and aluminum one with canopy protection.
The long tail boat takes up to 2 persons per boat and costs 300 Bath.
The bigger one takes up to 10 people and costs 500 Bath.
How much time will you need there
Rides take between 45min to 1h30m. There is also a market next to the pier you can explore after your boat ride.
Where to stay
OPTION 1 – You can stay in UDON THANI and travel early morning to Ban Diam (40min drive).
£ – The Siri Place – A very clean and modern hotel, only a short drive from the airport. A good option if, like me, you are only staying one night to visit the lake and don’t mind staying away from the city center.
£ – Oldie and Sleepy Hostel – Located in the city center, this hostel only offers dorms, but it is very well located and has a very good atmosphere.
OPTION 2 – You can travel to Ban Diam the day before your visit to the lake and get up super early to catch one of the first available boats and watch the sun rise from the lake. If so, you can stay at:
£ – Graham & Donlay Homestay – Perfect for a one night stay on a budget.
£££ – Gecko Village – Offers luxury private villas in a relaxing atmosphere, with swimming pool and all 3 meals included!
Why should the Red Lotus Sea be on my bucket list ?
The Red Lotus Sea is unique and not very famous yet! For as far as your eyes can see, the lake is pink and birds come flying happily through the flowers. I found the ride also very peaceful, with several stops to just enjoy the view. It is totally worth the effort to get here.