by Hugh Morris, The Telegraph, December 12, 2017
Every winter a freshwater lake in north-eastern Thailand turns pink with blooming Red Lotus flowers.
The phenomenon, known as the Red Lotus Sea, at Nong Han Kum Pavapi in the Udon Thani province, lasts for three months, from December to February, and draws visitors from across the country and world.
This year’s aquatic flowers have just begun to conjure a vibrant pink carpet on the lake, which is 15km long and 5km wide, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
“The perfect time to see the red lotuses in full blooming is in the morning from 6am to around midday,” a spokesperson said.
“Tourists can hire a boat to see the red lotuses up close and enjoy the natural scenery of the fresh water resource filled with a variety of fish, birds, wildlife and aquatic plants.”
The tourist board is offering half-price passes on a half-day tour of the Red Lotus Sea to anyone who presents an AirAsia boarding pass when buying a ticket.
In addition to the Red Lotus Lake, the region boasts the archaeological wonders of the Unesco-protected Ban Chiang, where the world’s first Bronze Age civilisation is believed to have flourished more than 5,000 years ago.
The province can be reached by bus, train and air, with daily services from Bangkok’s main bus and rail terminals and Don Mueang International, Bangkok.
Fans of colourful landscapes should consider, too, a trip to Lake Natron, Tanzania, where the salt and soda combine to create a blaze of cracked magenta. The water is, however, deadly and calcifies any animals that have the misfortune to dip their toe in its fiery shores.
Then, of course, there is the 400,000-odd pink moss flowers of Shubazakura Hill in Japan, where the flowers create 17,600 square metres of pastel patchwork between April and May.