January 20, 2016

Mention sunflowers and it is unlikely that foreign tourists would associate them with Thailand. Yet every year between November and January these golden-rayed flowers proliferate in vast stretches of land in Lopburi and Saraburi,  two provinces in Central Thailand. The main concentration is the area along the PhattanNikhom – Wang Muang Road, which straddles the two provinces.

Because the end of the year are the winter months, these huge yellow flowers are in full bloom and they attract hordes of locals to make the two-half hour car drive to view them. For tourists it is best to hire a car and a guide as some of the sun flower farms are a bit inaccessible by public transport. The cost will be over S$100. The other alternative is to take the specially arranged weekend public holiday train rides provided by the State Railway of Thailand from Hua Lamphong Station in December. Check the schedules and book early. The fare is about S$10 but the journey takes three –and-a-half-hours. However, it is said that the view from the train is more spectacular. At the place in which the train stops, the fields are within walking distance.

Sunflower is a substitution crop for Thai farmers during the off season. They normally plant rice and corn. The sunflowers are extracted for their vegetable oil and the seeds are a tasty nutritious snack.

Sunflower-seeds

To enjoy this spectacular field of gold, it is best to reach the fields as early as possible. The reason being the flowers rise and face the sun. As the day wears on they tend to droop. Entry to the fields are generally free as the farmers hope that you will buy their souvenirs and sunflower snacks. Some may charge a 10 baht entry for the privilege of admiring the flowers. A few enterprising ones offer tractor cart or elephant rides. This will enhance better photo opportunities.

Sunflowers-in-Lopburi