In Search of Sunflowers

13 Dec

Adventure is the name of the game here in Thailand, and my fourth year resolution has been to find new, unexplored sites and activities. When my friend Jen suggested a day trip up to the province of Lopburi, several of us jumped at the chance. Mr.Wan, a taxi driver and photography enthusiast, picked us up early one Saturday morning, and off we went. Lopburi is the name of both a city and the province – frequent readers may recall last November’s outing to the city and its annual Monkey Festival. The other ladies and I had no interest in the monkeys; instead, we headed into the middle of nowhere in search of Lopburi’s famous sunflower fields that bloom every year as the rainy season comes to an end.

The first stop on our expedition was the Pasak Jolasid Dam. The dam boasts a huge reservoir, one of the largest in Thailand, and supplies water for much of the central part of the country, including Bangkok. It has also become a tourist attraction, with a lovely park and some entertaining activities. We were feeling up for anything, so we dove right in! On the first approach, IMG_5438we noticed the reservoir had dark patches near the shore. On closer inspection, we realized the dark patches were giant swarms of fish, clearly expecting to be fed. Turns out that for a few baht, one can purchase a plastic beach pail filled with fish feed and a scoop. We took turns tossing in food while the fish went positively insane. As we laughed about the randomness of this activity, we looked up to find Mr.Wan, giant snazzy camera in hand, documenting our fish feeding. He turned into our paparazzi for the rest of the day. Post-fish feeding, we turned to leave when all of a sudden we heard… goats! When there’s a random petting zoo, it must be investigated, so off we went. By the time we left the dam area, we had fed branches to sheep and goats, had a full photo shoot among some errant sunflowers, purchased a kite, and sampled tea that tasted like Cheerios. If that isn’t adventure, I don’t know what is.

The second stop of our expedition was meant to be the giant sunflower fields I had visited the previous year, but when we arrived – no sunflowers! This year’s rainy season had been exceptionally dry, and the cool season has been slow to come. The combination has made the sunflowers late to bloom. After a quick consultation with the locals, Mr.Wan claimed to have the scoop on where to find flowers, so off we went. Although we were bummed about the lack of the flowers, the drive itself was lovely. It’s always nice to get out of the city, and a leisurely jaunt through the countryside on a sunny day was delightful.

IMG_3359

Eventually, the main road turned into a side road, which turned into a smaller side road. We stopped to ask for directions. The smaller road turned into a dirt road past a wat. We stopped to ask for more directions. The dirt road led past some sunflower fields already past their prime, and we stopped to ask two ladies on a tractor for further directions. Another turn, this time onto a rutted dirt track and finally… sunflowers! At this point, we were fully in the middle of nowhere. Out of the taxi we went, into the sunflower field, tromping through the tall grasses. Jen chose to sing the Indiana Jones theme song to scare off potential snakes. Mr.Wan snapped many an amusing photo of us picking our way through the flowers, Kelly with her arms in the air, Jessica and I practically lost in the towering flowers.

The sunflowers themselves are amazing. The fields are enormous, and the yellow buds stretch out as far as the eye can see. Often, the flowers reach heights far higher than my 62 inches. When I went deep into the field, sunflowers loomed over me in every direction. The combination of blue sky, green leaves, and brilliant yellow flowers was gorgeous, and I went a little crazy with the photo taking (something new and different for me).

Finally a few randoms from our day – we attempted to visit a giant Buddha we saw perched on a hill, but upon closer inspection, it was wrapped in scaffolding. Nonetheless, its size was impressive. We had lunch at a small cafe in Lopburi, the highlights of which were a giant archive of National Geographic magazines in Thai, maracas on every table, and Kelly’s snail debacle. I was perhaps too excited by the maracas. As we finished the drive back to Bangkok, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset. All in all, a solid day trip and adventure!

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One Response to “In Search of Sunflowers”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Railay Beach – Elephants and Sunbeams - May 29, 2016

    […] friend Darcy had told us about (she has an awesome blog. We were with her on this bike ride, this adventure searching for sunflowers and this food tour), on the opposite end of Phra Nang beach from the penis cave.  Another steep […]

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