About Saraburi & Lopburi sunflower fields
Saraburi and Lopburi are two provinces 110 to 150 km north/northeast of Bangkok, sunflower fields in question are located mainly in an area between both brovinces north of Saraburi and southeast of Lopburi provinces. Some farms in the area tends to grow sunflowers towards the end of every year which results in beautiful blooming from November or December until mid January. The period around the blooming time is called Sunflower Festival nowadays with festival area being basically any sunflower field.
When is the best time?
Many websites misleadingly informs November to January as blooming time for marketing purposes, it is important you read following before planning a trip to any sunflower field in Thailand.
The dates for blooming varies from year to year depending on weather conditions or what farm owners has for planning. There is no guarantee about any blooming date until mid December, but generally a bit into December is the best time. The farmers from major "endless" fields normally can tell couple of months in advance if there will be any early blooming from November, there is no way to know earlier in the year. Once blooming starts in a field, it will continue only 2-3 weeks. The blooming ends towards mid January.
The main attractions are few big farms at several hundred hectares that stretches until the mountains at the far end from the roads.
Any blooming in November?
Yes, there may be blooming in some farms already in November but some years it may be challenging to find one. The blooming quite often starts from second half of the month.
Can you enter the sunflower fields?
Some farmers will charge visiting tourists with around 10-20 Baht per person to enter their fields, these are normally the bigger farms. Otherwise, most farms are pretty much free to observe from the roads. People cosidering entering fields should ask permission from the farmers before doing so.
Some farms are offering pathetic elephant riding tours through sunflower fields, please avoid these. Elephant trading is a big business in Thailand. Wild elephants, and rangers trying to protect them in various protected sites accross Thailand get killed by the poachers on a regular basis, to kidnap the elephant calves to meet the demand of the tourist market.
For marketing reasons, various websites claim that the elephants are well taken care, this by promoting pathetic "facts" like they are being washed regularly, they are resting x hours a day etc. These are often not true and the fact still remains that the elephants and rangers get killed for this market. Please avoid all sorts of activities with animals in captivity, including taking photos or feeding them. There are more environmentally-conscious alternatives with domesticated animals that might be worth to visit.
This world we are living on has serious environmental issues, spending money on these type of businesses with animals in captivity won't make the matter any better, only worse.
For more information, please watch the various documentaries on YouTube by searching "elephant crushing Thailand".
How to get there?
Trying get to the area by public transportation is not a good idea as there is no guarantee there will be any blooming sunflower fields on a particular spot along the public transportation routes. Even a private driver may find it challenging to find a good spot.
The most convinient option is to arrange a full day taxi service. The trip can be combined with visiting other destinations north of Khao Yai National Park, price from 3,600 to 3,800 Baht for a SUV/space wagon for up to 5 passengers including pick up and drop off at any Bangkok hotel.