December: Sunflowers in Thailand
If you’ve been to Bangkok so many times that temples, malls and street food sound like one big humdrum itinerary to you, stray from the Big Mango this winter and go on a flower stalking expedition in Thailand’s sunflower fields in province. A three-hour train ride north of Bangkok, Lopburi is littered with shrines that date back to prehistoric times, free-roaming monkeys, and a throng of sweeping sunflower fields.
Join the locals for a picnic next to a field of tall stalks and shop for locally grown products like sunflower oils and seeds at the farmers’ stalls that have sprung up around the fringes of the fields. Greek mythology has it that a water nymph’s unrequited love for the sun god Apollo turned her into a sunflower and morphed her golden locks into the yellow petals, explaining why the plant symbolizes adoration.
Plan your trip in December when the flowers come into a delicious honey yellow bloom and the weather cools down a bit. Around this time of year, Thailand State Railways ( railway.co.th) offers a Sunflower Train ($60) that makes a trip to the fields on weekends and public holidays, but you’ll have to rise early as it departs from Bangkok at 6:40am.
Phatthana Nikom, Lopburi 15140, Thailand.