Enterprising Thai Farmers

Thai Sunflowers 5 Baht

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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Thai Sunflowers 5 Baht…

The people of Thailand are enterprising. No doubt. I was reminded once again of that very same quality just this month.

After Paul mentioned the Sunflower Festival in Lopburi, K.Pi, K.Ph and I drove sort of in that direction.

Sort of, because K.Pi understood that I wanted to see a flower show way way far away. Like, three hours plus away. In another direction. This didn’t come to light until after we’d been on the road for hours and I asked just how long before the sunflower fields would appear.

Sunflowers? Not flowers? As in flower show?

When K.Pi wipped the car around, K.Ph, also thinking we were going to a flower show, piped up that she had her heart set on stopping by the Oldest Buddha Tree in Thailand (easy to reach on the way back from the flower show). And I did too.


So after dragging out a map K.Pi figured out how we could cram everything in. Everything but the flower show. Talk about one long detour of fun! My butt hurts just thinking about it.

Thai Sunflower map

Anyway… when we finally got in the vicinity we started passing miles and miles of open fields of sunflowers. Some we stopped at, but due to the sun dragging flower heads ever which way, others were passed by. You got it, I was looking for the perfect field. The sunflower field with a mountain backdrop. The sunflower field with flowers pointing at my camera. A field like Paul’s field.

And right at the end of my allotted time, there it was. A Field with sunflowers pointing the right direction and a mountain in back. Only, this field was all roped off and demanding five baht per person for a wander around. Yes. That was exactly my reaction too.

เข้าชม /kâo chom/ = enter to admire
คนละ 5 บาท /kon lá 5 bàat/ = person each 5 baht

Thai Sunflowers 5 Baht

I found the sign so hilarious that I just had to take a zillion photos then and there. And it really was the prettiest field of the bunch.

So, did I get charged 5 baht? No. That’s only for weekend tourists, not veterans of the weekday.

If you hurry, there’s bound to be sunflowers in all their yellow glory still waving away. But for those of you who won’t be able to make it this year, here’s a YouTube video where I’m enjoying the peace of the Thai countryside. It’s not of the perfect field – I was too interested in the sign to take a video – but it’ll do.

Btw: This is not my first sunflower field experience. On one of my earliest trips with K.Pi the sunflowers were equally striking, but instead of green and yellow, they were close to be harvested. As most of the flowers were facing down, I had to contort every which way to get those shots, some from a prone position even. In the dirt facing up. K. Pi tells me that it was his first experience with that sort of thing.

Ah, and before I forget… ดอกทานตะวัน /dok thantawan/ is sunflower in Thai.

ดอก /dok/ = flower
ทานตะวัน /thantawan/ = sunflower plant, Helianthus annuus

13 thoughts on “Enterprising Thai Farmers”

  1. Martyn, I was mystified about the playing cards too so I’ll ask around. Or maybe Hugh knows (he’s acquired a heap of Thai knowledge!)

  2. Catherine and Hugh, I think I see the connection with fireworks and flowers. The falling coloured sparks shooting from the rockets etc are like the petals of a flower.

    I’m a little bit lost with the playing cards link.

  3. “bald headed rubber flowers” is great fun Hugh 🙂 I love how different words are put together in Thai. You know, it’d be interesting to collect fun combinations for a post.

  4. A couple more ดอก /dòk/ for fun

    ดอกยาง /dòk-​yaang/ is the “tread” on the tires (ยาง /yaang/ is “rubber” or “tire”.

    And ดอกยางหัวล้าน /dòk-​yaang hǔa-láan/ is “bald tires” (literally: bald headed rubber flowers)

  5. Hi Martyn, you are correct. ดอกไม้ /dɔ̀ɔk mái/ is flower/blossom/bloom. And when you are talking about a particular kind of flower, you put ดอก /dɔ̀ɔk/ in front.

    From thai-language.com:

    ดอก /dɔ̀ɔk/ [numerical classifier for flowers and scented things, patterns, treads]

    ดอก /dɔ̀ɔk/ flower
    ดอก /dɔ̀ɔk/ unquestionable; certainly; at all
    ดอก /dɔ̀ɔk/ interest paid on a loan
    ดอก /dɔ̀ɔk/ [of clothing or cloth] a pattern

    It gets a bit of use and not just with flowers…

    ดอกกล้วยไม้ /dɔ̀ɔk glûai mái/ orchid flower
    ดอกเดซี /dɔ̀ɔk dee sii/ daisy
    ดอกจิก /dɔ̀ɔk jìk/ playing cards
    ดอกไม้เพลิง /dɔ̀ɔk máy phləəŋ/ fireworks

    Thanks Paul. It’s difficult to take a bad picture of a sunflower 🙂

  6. Hi Catherine, wonderful picture of the sunflower. I imagine that it would be great fun to play in these fields if I were a kid – where better to play hide and seek 🙂

  7. Catherine I treated myself to a look at the video (limited usage internet tariff), Wilai would have wanted me to. It s amazing how the flowers grow in waves, like a swirling sea of yellow and not one stands head and shoulders above the others. Clever things those sunflowers.

    I always thought dok mai was flower in Thai. Thanks for educating me once again.

  8. Thanks Snap. When I went there wasn’t anyone else but us, but it must be a mad house on the weekends. The flowers are very beautiful and inspiring so I can see why people want to take the opportunity for a photo. But yeah, they might tread on a few plants here and there 🙂

  9. Cahterine, the ‘here’ and ‘here’ photos have great character! I passed some fields of sunflowers on the way to Chiang Rai recently. Each time people had stopped to have their photo taken with them, for free! I do wonder how the farmers feel about the trampled edges of their plots 😉

    Thanks for the new vocab!

  10. Thanks for the add Hugh. I had an impromptu Thai lesson on how Thais see the movement of sunflowers different than we do. I’ll leave that for the next sunflower post. Btw – I have my notes but I might need to pick your brains to make sure I have it right!

  11. Beautiful.

    BTW the second part of the word for sunflower, ทานตะวัน /taan-​dtà~​wan/ is ตะวัน /dtà~​wan/ an informal word for “sun”. We see it in the words ตะวันออก /dtà~​wan-​òk/ – “east” (literally: the sun comes out) and ตะวันตก /dtà~​wan-​dtòk/ – “west” (literally: the sun falls).

  12. Thanks Talen. It was a grand adventure, but then most of ours are. We head out and… goodness knows where we’ll end up. That’s the fun of it.

    I promise that I will be writing more posts such as this. That’s what this new design style is all about actually. Only, this one needs to be tweaked as it’s not doing what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s not supposed to get in the way of Luke’s post.

  13. Cat, I love it! Flower show/sunflowers…hours on the road.

    I love a good sunflower pic and you have some nice ones! You really need to write about your adventures more often they are thoroughly enjoyable.


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