Robert Schrader

The Red Lotus Sea and Laotian Borderlands

Up north, meanwhile, the most authentic experience can be had in the Isaan region, origin of famed som tam papaya salad, among of Thai culinary delights that come from here. Udon Thani is not the largest city in Isaan (although it is the one nearest the border of Laos—this information comes in handy on visa runs!), but it is the gateway to what is probably the most surreal place I've ever seen in Thailand: Talay Bua Daeng Lake, a "Red Lotus Sea" that fills up with pink lotus blossoms every January and February.

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