The cool season is here! And from around the end of November to January, Saraburi’s vibrant sunflower fields are in bloom, making for quite a stunning sight — and a nice day trip from Bangkok. Over a 100 kilometres (or a 2+ hour drive) north of the capital, the fields draw lots of visitors, offering beautiful photo ops, picnic venues and farmer’s markets with mostly sunflower-related products, such as sunflower honey, seeds and oil.
The fields are relatively new; in 1999, drought forced farmers in Saraburi (and in the neighbouring province of Lopburi) to grow sunflowers as a commercial crop. Today, there are an estimated 500 square kilometres of fields along the routes of Muaklek-Wang Muang-Pasak Chonlasit Dam and Lop Buri-Phattana Nikhom-Chaibadan. Once you hit these routes, take your pick from a number of fields, both small and large.
Generally, admission costs are nominal, from 10 baht per person, and some farms will offer tractor cart or elephant rides among the sunflowers. A day trip can also include a stop at the picturesque Pasak Jolasid Dam, the largest dam in central Thailand, part of the Pasak River Basin Development Project initiated by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Getting there: Driving from Bangkok, start from Highway 1 (Phahonyothin Road) towards Saraburi. When you reach Phu Khae district, turn right onto Highway 21 until you are in Phatthana Nikhom district. Along the roadside, you’ll find plenty of fields of sunflowers. Unfortunately, road travel is the only way to get there; this year the special seasonal rail service, that makes a stop at a sunflower field and the dam, has been suspended. Please contact the State Railway of Thailand’s Call Centre at 1690 for more info on whether this service will be re-instated in the future.