Thai destinations for a fabulous floral experience this winter

Thai destinations for a fabulous floral experience this winter

Winter has been giving hints that it's almost upon us in recent days and, as with every cool season, there really is no better time than to take your camera for a walk on the wild side.

From November to February in Chumphon and Chiang Rai provinces and lots of places in between, a multi-hued carpet of flowers spreads out over the highlands and lowlands as cherry blossom, robusta, water lilies and even adenium open their petals to the sun.

Here are some places to revel in flower power this cool season. Do avoid long weekends if you can or you risk getting swept away in the tourist tide.

ADENIUM, CHON BURI

Some fall in love with its pinkish flower. Others like its unusual, thick caudex. Native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Adenium obesumis is often referred to as the Desert Rose though the Thais call it "chuan chom". From November to January, thousands of potted adenium rise up tall and show off their flowers to visitors at Nongnooch Garden in Pattaya, Chon Buri province. The beauty of adenium, it's said, increases as it ages. Keep your eyes on the big trunk. Like the Chinese Laughing Buddha with its large belly, the bulging caudex of the adenium is considered lucky.

WHEN TO GO: November to January

MEXICAN SUNFLOWER, MAE HONG SON

The Mexican sunflower - "buatong" in Thai - is actually a weed and an invasive weed at that. Poor African farmers love it for offering an alternative to synthetic fertiliser thanks the ability of its roots in improving soil nutrients and even though the Mexican sunflower was introduced to Mae Hong Son to protect against soil erosion, the locals only care about its gorgeous golden flower. When the fields of Mexican sunflowers are in full bloom, they turn the hilly landscape into a sea of gold. Best place to take them in is Doi Mae U Koh in Khun Yuam district. From the lookout, you'll be transfixed by the golden fields of flower sweeping down into the valley.

WHEN TO GO: November to early December

SUNFLOWER, LOP BURI

Lop Buri's sunflower fields are particularly popular with day-trippers from Bangkok. The city-dwellers drive to the golden fields to rejuvenate their minds and refresh their spirit. The endless fields of sunflowers stretched out against the backdrop of Khao Cheen-lae Mountain are perfect for photo opportunities.

WHEN TO GO: November to February

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