As it is a colder season in Thailand, we can't help but to find an opportunity to go out and get some cool breezes. I am from Phuket and even in this season, it never gets cooler. While people from other parts of Thailand get to wear sweater, I have to wear raincoat. I barely had a company leave left, so I decided to take a short trip for 4 days to see Red Lotus Lake and relax nearby Mekong River. But this review would focus only on the Red Lotus Lake. Hearing from the news that lotuses in the lake bloomed more than the previous year, I had to see them for myself.
I flew with Thai Smile to Udonthani province. There are many flights available each day.
For the Thai Smile, you can have baggage weight up to 20 Kgs for Smile class seat and 30 Kgs for Smile plus. Great for those who like shopping or those who will transfer to international route. Getting a lot of baggage weight is very convenient. My tripod is quite heavy and I can put it in my luggage without carrying it on the cabin. Seats are comfortable.
I fly with Thai Smile quite often. The cabin crews are welcoming and cheerful, which is the Airline's characteristic. Actually other airlines in Thailand provide good services but sometimes I feel that the cabin attendants look exhausting, making me feel tired for them.
Thai Smile also provides food and beverage service on board. This time there were shrimp burger and chicken sandwich to choose from. The menu rotates and is changed seasonally, making a trip more exciting. This is why Thai Smile won Travelers' Choice award from TripAdvisor. As I work in a hotel, I know that it is not easy to win this award. This means that their service must be top class. This year Thai Smile won 3 awards; Best Airline in Asia Pacific, Excellent Airline in Thailand and Top 10 Global airlines. Service Quality is guaranteed.
We rented a car from AVIS, picking up from the airport. The car that we rented was Toyota VIOS because the route was not rough. Smaller car saves gasoline and we were lucky that we got quite a new car, only driven for 3,200 Kms .
I woke up early in the morning from our hotel in Udonthani city, heading to Kumphawapi District, about an hour away. We stopped by convenient store to get something to eat and followed Google map. About half an hour of driving and we could see a direction sign for Red Lotus Lake. Direction signs to the lake pier are available clearly along the way, you can not get lost. Importantly you observe local lifestyle and countryside landscape that you do not get to see in the city.
Actually there are a few spots that you can get on boat but I chose 'Baandiem pier' as it is the main pier. There is a big car parking space and food stalls around. You can grab something to eat before boarding. Ticket counter is not far from parking space.
The boat fare is 100 THB for short tour and 150 THB for long tour. I suggest you choose the long tour. It takes around 1 hour per trip. There are 2 types of boats, smaller one for 2 persons and bigger one for up to 8 persons. Smaller boat is good for taking photo as it is roofless boat but it might get shaky. Bigger boat is more stable when cruising but there is a shade that might hinder your photography. I chose small boat fro 2 persons so I could get best pictures. I thought I would have to pay 300 THB per trip but it costed me only 150 THB. So the rest of my money, I gave it to the driver for tip.
So let's take off. The first part of the lake you wouldn't see lotuses, but do not worry.
Morning weather at the end of November (25th November 2017) was very breezy, around 17 degrees. It was not that cold as we were in the middle of morning sunlight. The boat service starts from 6 am. If you want to see sunrise, you should come at 6 am, but if you want a warm atmosphere, you can come around 6.30 to 7 am. From the pier, it takes around 15 minutes to get to the area where lotuses bloom. There is a small space for the boat to get through lotuses. The boat would stop for you to take pictures, or you can ask the driver to stop where you want.
Here we arrived... very beautiful.
Taking picture of the lotuses required a bit of techniques. You need to take them from lower angle to make them look crowded. The morning light gave them a warm tone, making the leaves look yellowish green. Find the angle where the light entering the frame from the side, you can get a good shade of the green-blue water too.
The driver told me that this year, there is bigger body of water and less algae which made the lotuses bloomed more than other years, especially in beginning of season like November. You'd better come in this period. The lotuses would be gone around later half of December.
Please visit there, you will not be disappointed. Flying to Udonthani is also convenient. There are many flights available everyday.
You can read a full review of the trip (Udonthani + Nong Khai) that I wrote in the following link.
See you next trip!