Sunday, 16 December 2007

Saraburi's Sunflower Fields

We were wilting in the not-so-cool-season sunshine but the sunflowers couldn’t get enough... A trip to witness the scenic splendour that is Saraburi province’s sunflower fields comes highly recommended. Tantawan, as they are known in Thai, are grown as a commercial crop there and in bloom from November until March, when farmers harvest them for their seed and oil.

Apart from reaping what they sow, local farmers also have a sideline: charging visitors a meagre 5 baht fee for the right to explore. Stroll among the plant's tall green stalks, get your picture taken with your arms around the neck of a flower, as if it’s an old friend, and admire the sweeping yellow vista that comes framed by the area's rolling limestone hills. Nice.

We visited on a glorious December afternoon, a public holiday across the Kingdom. But while the crowds were out en masse, they were still vastly outnumbered by armies of vivacious yellow plants, all in formation, each one bright and big, round face inched hungrily toward the sun. Some visitors stood and stared. Others wandered into the far reaches of the field, immersed in reverie. Most though - friends, families and lovers - took to posing playfully for photographs, heads bobbing above a sea of vivid golden yellow – the King’s colour.

Like the students laughing, exuberant and joyous, while triumphantly grappling a flower head and each other. Or the young mother hoisting up her young child as the father strives to snap the ultimate mantelpiece photo. Nearby, an elephant lolled its head, languorously, while children nearby posed inside giant plastic sunflower moulds, pulling ‘V’ signs. Off in the distance a lone spirit house stood sentinel, meadow spirits swarming, invisibly, in the ether around it...

We wandered beneath a multi-coloured canopy lined with stalls. Resembling a village fete, there was a range of colourful local produce for sale: fruit juice, fruit wines and sunflower-themed knick-knacks ranging from hair-clips to umbrellas. Our favourite was the local honey stall, on top of which was sat a large beehive, a cloud of disgruntled bees buzzing anxiously above it, disputing their eviction. Deliciously sweet, we bought a small Sangsom bottles worth for 60 baht. A couple of stalls down, we then procured some fresh sunflower seeds. Filled with mineral content the disk seeds – the hundreds of spikes that fill the face - are a stunning source of protein (50 baht a bag). They also made a fantastic snack for the less than two hour drive home…

1 comment:

Quachee said...

Hey wow, that's a great pic. The sunflower looks so fresh!