Lotuses Bloomed In Thai National Park For The First Time In 10 Years

These are beautiful—and so delicate.

Many Thais revere lotus plants, which symbolize purity, enlightenment and wisdom in the Thai culture.

According to lore, when Buddha was born, his first seven steps were cushioned by these beautiful, symmetrical flowers. All over Thailand, it’s common to find temples and pavilions in the midst of lotus ponds.

About 30 miles south of Bangkok, against the backdrop of craggy limestone hills, tens of thousands of graceful, pink blossoms recently emerged from a dark, murky lake. It was an awe-inspiring sight that many had been waiting a decade to witness.

Shangri-La found! A photograph of THUNG SAM ROI YOT Wetlands Centre first lured me to this part of central Thai coast, off the western tourist grid. It took two attempts over two days and a couple of hundred k's on a motorcycle to find our way in today, to this magical place of lotus, teeming fish and birdlife (only one faded sign on highway, plus asking directions along way from non English speaking Thai's.) The centre was near deserted but for some park rangers, one of whom prepared us lunch of crab salad and spicy pork larb, which we ate overlooking the lotus pond watching birds and butterflies with wind chimes tinkling (at around $3au per head). It was one perfect day… #khaosamroyyotnationalpark #hiddengem #thungsamroiyot #khaosamroiyot #pranburibeach #aleentapranburi #artlife #tkarttravels #lotuspond #wetlands #offthegrid #roadslesstraveled #travelfish

A post shared by Life is a Canvas (@traceyknowlandart) on

Due to drought and pollution, the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park had not seen a single sacred lotus (nulumbo nucifera) since 2007. In the last few years, park rangers ramped up efforts to clean up Thailand’s first marine national park. Those efforts, along with increased rainfall earlier this year, seem to have resulted in this splendid visual phenomenon.

In 2016, Thailand attracted 32.6 million foreign tourists, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year. While Thai authorities welcome the boost in economy, they are also taking steps to avoid over-tourism, which poses a strain on the country’s natural resources and the environment.

Concerned about the fragile nature of these plants, park officials and environmentalists are urging tourists to hold off on visiting the swamp until the area has time to mend.

“The national park is in the process of restoring the lotuses. When it comes to the right time the park will open them up to the public,” head ranger Rungroj Aswakultarin told global news agency AFP.

Since a lotus will bloom and wither within a 3- to 5-day span, planning a trip around next year’s blossoms may be a challenge. But given how stunning the Kho Sam Roi Yot National Park looks aside from the swampy area where the lotuses bloom, it’s safe to say you probably wouldn’t be disappointed with a trip here any way you slice it.

#discoveringasiawithasmile * * Khao Sam Roi Yot means "The mountain with three hundred peaks". It is the first marine national park of Thailand. One of the main attractions of the national park is Phraya Nakhon Cave with it's iconic royal pavilion, called Phra Thinang Khuha Kharuhat, build in 1890 for King Rama V's visits. During certain hours of the day, when the sunlight shines from a certain angle, the sinkhole opening illuminates a nice tone of light over the pavillion, creating a spectacular view. * * #khaosamroiyot #khaosamroiyotnationalpark #thainationalpark #thisisthailand #nationalparks #findyourpark #fypyes #nationalparksoftheworld #nationalparkpictures #nationalparkgeek #globalwanderer #weareexplorers #wxplore #exploringtheglobe #share_the_experience #face_of_the_earth #globalgemz #prachuapkhirikhan #phrayanakhoncave #national_park_pictures #aroundtheworldpix

A post shared by Petra & Henk Hospes (@travelinglandlords) on