Thailand’s winter season is here. Yupe, there is winter season, in addition to summer and rainy season. Surprise, dontcha?!
Winter breeze has started blowing, and this means it’s time for brighty sunflowers!
Lopburi province is where you need to be. It is a small province in the Central region, around 150km north of Bangkok. It takes approximately 2.5-3 hours drive from Bangkok.
Due to its close proximity to Bangkok, many locals visit sunflower fields as day trip during winter season. Expect to pay a minimum 10 baht (no dual-pricing, foreigners pay the same price as locals), to enter the sunflower fields.
Some farms even have props for photo, and there was even one field that provide elephant ride (tsk!).
You will be able to buy sunflower-related souvenirs at these farms, such as sunflower seeds, umbrellas, t-shirts, etc.
Many sites state that the Sunflower Festival is from November to March. I think, November to January would be the safe bet, when the sunflowers are in full bloom.
But, the farms take turn in planting the sunflowers. This is to ensure that there are blooming flowers during this period. If you are driving (the best transportation method), just drive till you see farms with blooming sunflowers, whichever period you go.
Normally, you need not fret if you ain’t driving.
Kudos to the State Railway of Thailand, they have been running special tourist trains from Hualamphong station for few years. The train goes only on the weekend and public holidays, and only in the month of December.
The route is as such that it departs from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station to Pa Sak Cholasit Dam. That train does not take the northern line to Lopburi, but rather the Northeast line toward Nong Khai (using the bypass over the lake formed by the Pa Sak Cholasit Dam).
The tickets normally sell like hot cakes. So, make sure you get yours as soon as you can. The train departs from Hualamphong station 6am+, and you will get back to the same station around 12 hours later.
As I couldn’t find 2015 information in their website here, I called their hotline 1690 (Press 9 for English, and 1 for State Railway of Thailand). I was informed that there won’t be any train service this year, due to drought problem. There is a delay in blooming for the sunflowers.The staff told me that there might be other sunflower fields at Lopburi province. It is possible to take a train to Saraburi, but will need to make arrangements, to go to these fields.
Update Dec 2016
Again, I was unable to find any updated info on the State Railway of Thailand’s website. I called them on 1 Dec 2016 to find out if there’a any special tourist train to the sunflower fields. It seems that State Railway Thailand still has yet to release any info until now … so, no boo … no train yet again. I was told that there is not enough water / water level too level at the Pa Sak Cholasit dam.
I was advised to take a train to Pa Sak Cholasit dam: Express train 75, 820am-11am, 2nd class ac @ 286 baht, based on my indicative travel date on 11 Dec. The ticket can only be purchased on the travel date itself at the train station.
I was attended by Khun Yutthana, who speaks seriously good English for a Thai nationality. He told me that he has only started work for 2 months, but yet he was able to provide detailed info. I wanted to send an compliment email, but there isn’t any channel to do so … aiks.
Update Jan 2017
Update Nov 2017
News about sunflowers in Lopburi has started appearing here … so, can start planning trip to the sunflower fields. The tourist train to Pa Sak Cholasit dam and Saraburi sunflower fields for 2017/2018 are confirmed on Saturdays and Sundays as below:
- Nov 2017: 18,19,25,26 Nov
- Dec 2017: 2,3,9,10,16,17,23,24 Dec
- January 2018: 13,14,20,21,27 Jan
Price: 270 baht
Itinerary (Translated from Thai using Google Translate):
** Depart from Bangkok Station at 07.10 hrs. Stop at Samsen Railway Station, Bangsue, Bangkhen, Laksi, Don Mueang, Rangsit, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Kaeng Khoi, The highlight of this trip is the view point. “Floating train” at Khok Salung Then, stop at Pasak Dam at 10.40 am.
In addition, the Lopburi. Organized activities such as the show of Thai Bang community lifestyle. Display and distribution of OTOP products. Visit the Museum of History, construction of the Pasak Dam, Aquarium, goat farm, sheep farm, sunflower garden. Horse-drawn carriage is also available. Tram service runs through the dam to worship the great Wang Muang. With Saraburi
** Return from Pasak Dam stop at 15.30 hrs. Stop at Kaeng Sua Pier, Kaeng Khoi, Saraburi, Ayutthaya, Rangsit, Don Muang, Laksi, Bang Sue, Samsen and then arrive at Bangkok Station at 6.30.
– Pasak Dam – Bangkok Baht 270 per person. No discount for all types (use a bogey ride, 3rd floor, renovation of the whole procession).
Ticket sales: Buy all stations nationwide or Reservations can be made by phone number 1690 (advance 5 days).
For more information, call 1690 hotline.
Visited the sunflower fields twice, and it’s one of my top 3 favorites off the beaten track in Thailand! I was even thinking of going on a solo trip via tourist train … next year, then.
State Railway of Thailand
Hotline: 1690 (Press 9 for English, and 1 for State Railway of Thailand)