Thai Sacred Lotuses Bloom, First Time After 10-Year Gap
For the first time in a decade a Thai lake has given up its dazzling secret - the pink blooms of tens of thousands of lotuses.
The sea of colour in Khao Sam Roi Yot national park, three hours south of Bangkok, is a show-stopping feat of nature that has locals hoping for a tourist bonanza.
The flowers, considered sacred in Thai culture, are good news for locals who have been ferrying camera-toting visitors through the lotuses which lie in knots on the lake's vast waters.
Most nulumbo nucifera, or sacred lotus, fields have dried up for over a decade, residents said, adding that most existing lotus fields are those of the smaller nymphaea nouchali, or blue lotus blooms. In fact, the 43,260
In fact, the 43,260 rai (69 square kilometers) of swamp in Khao Sam Roi Yot in 2016 was at its worst state in over 30 years due to drought. The lack of water led the ground to crack dry and all the lotuses died.
“Right now the lotuses are rejuvenating and growing again, but it will take some time for them to be beautiful,” Nisakorn Tongprong, head of an environmentalist group at the national park said to Khaoso English.
“This year, the water level came back up to two meters in some areas, but now mostly they’ve decreased to 50 to 80 centimeters because of the heat and the wind. Still, I’m confident that the swamp won’t dry up because summer is almost over and the lotuses are strong, new plants.”
Rungrote Atsawakultarin, head of Khao Sam Roi Yot said Thursday that only one section of the swamp, at the Bung Baw Nature Study Center, is open to tourists to protect the flowers.
Thailand struggles to balance its lucrative tourism industry with preserving the environment. Few countries have experienced the kind of stratospheric growth in tourism.
Few countries have experienced the kind of stratospheric growth in tourism. In the last decade the number of foreign arrivals has more than doubled from 13.8 million in 2006 to a record 32.5 million last year, growth partly powered by Chinese arrivals.
This week some 61 national parks, including 25 marine parks, closed to visitors for the monsoon season, an annual move to try and help them recover.