December 5, 2017

Sunflower Fields @ Lopburi

I've been seeing a lot of sunflower photos on my Facebook feed these days. Of course... it's the sunflower blooming season guys!! The sunflower fields in Lopburi only blooms from November to January. I remember this time last year, the sunflowers also flooded my feed. Curious, I took a look at the posts and they were all at the same place, Lopburi in Thailand.

So apelagi, told my sister about it and both of us immediately looked for the flight tickets. While finding information about Lopburi, my sister came across Lopburi Eco Marathon, to be held on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, the registration was already closed. We still wanted to join (so that we had other reason to go to Lopburi haha) so we contacted the marathon organizer. And they granted our wish!! Khorb khun na krup!!

Bought our flight ticket to Bangkok. AirAsia flights was sooo expensive since the date was already near and it's the festive season. Alang-alang expensive, we decided to splurge and upgraded ourselves to Business Class on MAS flight :D.

We landed in Suvarnabhumi Airport and from there took the free shuttle bus to Don Mueang Airport because we wanted to catch the train to Lopburi from Don Muang Station. Saves time compared to going all the way back to Hua Lamphong Railway Station. The train station is adjacent to the airport so it's very easy if you land here. 

From rich girls on Business Class, we transformed to rakyat marhaen and took the 3rd class train to Lopburi hahahaha.

Train to Lopburi is the same train heading to Chiang Mai so there's a few trains daily. Many people do daytrips from Bangkok so you can catch these early trains;
1. Rapid train (train no 111, second/third class only) , departure at 7am, arrival at 9.42am
2. Special Express train (train no 7, first class with air-cond) , departure at 8.30am, arrival at 10.28am
Check the timetable and fare here.

We just took the first train to maximize the day and because we also needed to go to the marathon venue to collect our race kit. We boarded at Don Muang so the train departed at 7.49am. The fare is only THB 15! But don't expect a comfortable ride la. It was a 3rd class seat but whatever, as long as I arrived safely to the destination.

After almost 2 hours on the hard seat, we arrived at Lopburi at 9.42am. 

If you're doing a daytrip, secure your ticket back to Bangkok before going for the sunflower tours as the trains may be full in the evening. There's no public transportation to the sunflower fields so you have to negotiate with the taxi drivers or those mini lorries waiting in front of the station to get you there. Just ask them to take you to sunflower fields or show them a picture of a sunflower and they will know where to take you. Usually they will charge around THB100 ~ 200 per person for the trip.  

We walked to our guesthouse which was only 5 minutes walk from the train station. Luckily the owner allowed us to check in early. While checking in, I took a look at the tours around Lopburi that they offered.

After a short discussion, we agreed with the tour to visit the sunflower fields with the guesthouse and the driver also agreed to drop by the marathon venue to pick up our race kit.

The sunflowers are as large as my face!

There's actually a bigger sunflower farm nearby, Khao Jeen Lae, but it was closed because they had event with the Thai princess there. The princess also joined the marathon btw. 

Luckily we ran across the farm during the marathon the following day!

So beautiful!!!

Give yourselves 2-3 hours to enjoy and take photos around the sunflower fields.

Then, you can return to Bangkok with these trains;
1. Rapid train (train no 112, second/third class only) , departure at 2.39pm, arrival at 6pm
2. Special Express train (train no 8, first class with air-cond) , departure at 5.28pm, arrival at 7.25pm
3. Rapid train (train no 102, second/third class only) , departure at 6.06pm, arrival at 9.10pm
Check the timetable and fare here.

There's a halal restaurant just across the railway tracks of the Lopburi train station so you can have lunch or dinner there before heading back to Bangkok. We didn't get to try it though since it was closed every time we passed by the restaurant. I think it only opens a few hours during lunch time.

Lopburi itself has a few attractions and historical sites like Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Phra Prang Sam Yot etc so it's good to spend a day or two here. 

Overall, I was happy with my mission to see the field of sunflowers in Lopburi and ran the Lopburi Eco Marathon.

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