The Sunflower Fields of Lopburi.
We got the season right this time.
The sunflower fields in Lopburi only blooms end of the year (November – January) in Lopburi, a province that’s 3 hours away by train. I was concerned about bringing the parents along since the train did not have air-conditioning, but I was proud that they stuck it out all way there and back. In the end it was me who needed the rest, from the heat of the sun.
Getting there took quite some planning.
The day before departure, I made a quick search on the State Railway of Thailand train schedule and called them (hotline number: 1690/1490) to confirm the timing. The staff who picked up my phone was very helpful and patient. He gave me the following information for 2 types of trains:
- Rapid train: 94b/person (fan only)
- Train Num: 111 (second/third class only)
- Time: 7am (departure) – 945am (arrival)
- Special Express Train: 374b/person
- Train Num: 7 (first class with air-conditioning)
- Time: 830am (departure) – 1028am (arrival)
We took the rapid train and bought our tickets at the counter in Hua Lamphong station, an hour before the train departed. We brought along some bread in case we got hungry and at 630am, went to the platform to get on our train.
Arriving in Lopburi, the Monkey Kingdom.
Bear in mind that trains often get delayed, just like ours which departed an hour after the scheduled timing. After 3 hours and 18 stations later, we finally reached Lopburi at 1050am. I went to the ticket counter to purchase our tickets back to Bangkok at 240pm and spoke to the girl at the information counter, who gave me a map of Lopburi.
Apparently there’s no tuk tuk that goes to the sunflower fields, so we went outside and found a taxi right in front of the station. The taxi was actually a mini lorry with modified seats at the back for passengers. Our driver was an old, wrinkly dark man with a hat, who didn’t understand an ounce of English. We had to ask someone from the taxi stand to explain the cost to us which us 200b/person for the whole journey there and back. We said yes and hopped into the taxi, with me sitting in the front seat.
Lopburi is the second capital after Ayutthaya and known as the monkey Kingdom because of the many monkeys that can be seen in the city, especially around the Prang Sam Yot (a Khmer temple) and Sarn Phra Karn (a Khmer shrine). These monkeys are fed 3 times a day as to not disturb the visitors to the city.
Hello mini sunflower field!
Our first stop was 20 minutes away from the Old Town of Lopburi, a mini sunflower field in someone’s farm which was small. It felt as though we were trespassing but according to the driver, it was okay for us to walk across the grey soil and into the farm. So we did just that, wondering to ourselves if this was worth taking the 3 hours train to Lopburi. That thought diminished when we started taking photographs of the big sunflowers with a few almost as large as my face!
Next up Khao Jeen Lae, a larger sunflower farm.
After 3o minutes under the hot sun, we went back to the taxi asking the driver if he would take us somewhere els. He repeatedly said Khao Jeen Lae and pointed to the map with a symbol of a mountain (no sunflowers) excitedly. We followed his suggestion and arrived at a bigger farm or rather a sunflower park with acres of bright yellow sunflowers! There’s a row of stalls selling sunflower seeds, souvenirs, a petting area for farm animals (goats) and ponies.
We hopped onto the mini train for 20b/person which goes around the farm, stopping at one point for us to go down and take photos with the sunflowers. A group of horses came to where we were and we took photos with them, leaving the riders with tips.
After all the photos, we bought 2 bags of sesame seeds or kuaci (for 100b), tried a few and had a cool coconut drink before heading back to the train station. In total we spent about 2 hours for both sunflower fields, which was pretty good timing.
Lunch at a Halal Muslim Restaurant.
If you feel hungry, there’s ample of restaurants in the city for you to try before you head back to Bangkok. For us, we went to a Halal Muslim Restaurant just across the railway tracks of the Lopburi train station. Yes we had to go down, looked right and left, crossed all the tracks to the restaurant. My dad had seen in when we arrived at the station and we decided to try it out.
The place looked new and clean. No shoes are allowed in the shop so we placed them outside. We ordered a simple dish of basil chicken with rice for 30b each and drinks, which turned out to be good. Lucky for us, we returned to the station before a cargo train arrived, blocking the long stretch of tracks.
Would I visit the fields again?
Given this experience, I would visit the fields again with an alternative option of transportation. If we’re in a big group, I would suggest hiring a car/taxi from Bangkok to Lopburi and sharing the cost together. It’s more comfortable and you’ll have more time in the fields or to other places of interest in Lopburi. In our case, we couldn’t visit other landmarks and only had time to go to the sunflower fields.
The place is very well maintained and visitors know enough not to pluck the flowers or break them. We made sure we touched them lightly and not to litter the area. So yes I would definitely come back and spend more time in this province to visit other interesting spots.
Some handy information:
Location: Lopburi, Thailand | Visiting Hours: November-January yearly | Trains: To Lopburi (3 hours), taxi to sunflower fields and back. | Special Train: Look out for the special train that goes straight to the sunflower fields organized by the State Railway of Thailand | Others: Wear a hat, bring water and wear comfortable clothes, shoes.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.