The cool season is here! From around early December to January, Thailand’s spectacular flowers are in full bloom: orchids, bromelias, cosmos, sunflowers and more as far as the eye can see. This is a great time to visit fields and gardens filled with vibrant flowers, to learn more about their role in Thai agriculture, customs and traditions. Here are some places we’d recommend:
1. Saraburi’s sunflower fields offer a lovely day trip from Bangkok. 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. There are about 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.
Admission costs are nominal, from 10 baht per person. Your 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.
2. Dasada Resort Khao Yai stages an annual flower show, from now until 28 February 2018. Located on the Prachinburi side of Kao Yai National Park, the resort features several HUGE exhibits of orchids and other exotic blooms. In fact, the experience is closely tied to a floral theme (e.g., desserts contain floral flavours, decor revolves around flower motifs, the spa offers floral-themed treatments, etc.).
Dasada is a great overnight escape for families. Book a room at the resort, check out the exhibits and simply relax among the verdant surroundings. There are hilly areas where kids can run and play among large inflatable teddy bears. Get around the resort’s expansive grounds via golf cart, or bring your own bikes and scooters. The premises also house a small aviary with peacocks and other birds, as well as a bunny enclosure. At night, enjoy their spectacular light tunnel as well as a unique light and sound show with tall “dancing” fountains, which kids will love.
3. A favourite seasonal destination for families, Jim Thompson Farm brings the theme of “Rushing Water – The Life Force of Isaan” to the farm this year. Amidst a very picturesque rural landscape in Pak Thong Chai, Korat province, visitors can explore the farm’s 240 acres. Highlights include a cosmos field and hydroponic vegetable gardens, where you can select your own mulberries and other fresh organic vegetables; a giant pumpkin patch with another blooming flower field; and an Isaan Village zone with a water castle whose walls are built solely from water fountains.
In addition, you can learn about the Jim Thompson enterprise and their silk production processes at the Jim Village, which showcases Jim Thompson fabrics in the form of a multicoloured fish tunnel. And finally, shop at the Jim Market for souvenirs, organic hydroponic vegetables and other fresh produce grown on site.
The farm tour runs from today until 7 January 2018. It is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance from Thai Ticket Major; Jim Thompson retail shops (Surawong Road, Siam Paragon, CentralWorld and The Emporium); or Jim Thompson House and Museum in Pathumwan (BTS: National Stadium).
4. For something right in town, consider visiting the charming Museum of Floral Culture in the Dusit district. Created by renowned Thai floral artist Sakul Intakul in a restored, century-old teak mansion, the museum caters to lovers of flowers and nature and those with an interest in Thai art and culture. Here, you can learn about the role of flowers in the Thai way of life as well as about important floral cultures from civilizations across Asia. Also, enjoy a stroll through an impeccably-landscaped Thai-meets-Zen-style garden.
The museum offers guided tours in English or Thai during regular opening hours, which are included in the admission fee. (Japanese tours are also available but on a more limited basis; please enquire for details). You can also book a tour led by Sakul Intakul himself, based on his availability. Contact the museum at [email protected] for more info.