In a nutshell
Saraburi. The capital city of the namesake province makes for a convenient stopover destination on your way through to the northern cities of Thailand. The fields of flowers and stretches of jungle will evoke the wanderlust in you, pushing your boundaries, and venturing deeper and longer into the countryside in search of its gems.
Why go to Saraburi
There is a strong chance you’re reading this because of you’ve caught wind of the fields of sunflowers. So, let’s get to it. The sunflowers are awe-inspiring. Shockingly engrossing and powerful, the fields will pull you in for hours – running through its paths, brushing against its leaves, staring slowly over its expanse, examining closely it’s lively detail. The sunflowers must simply not be missed. Be sure to bring a camera, a summery outfit, and some tiger balm for your legs – the bugs tend to get a little much after a few hours. When: November to January.
The chrysanthemum garden, while less wild, is also astoundingly beautiful! The flowers come in a dazzling array of colours and make for some pretty creative photographs – so dive right in! The entrance fee is only THB 20.
Beyond hours spent frolicking in the fields of sunflowers and chrysanthemums, there are other opportunities to be in and around nature.
There are several national parks around Saraburi that are well worth a visit. They have been extremely well protected, and as such, provide a very rich and raw experience of the jungle. A great circuit hiking trail to the very calming three tier waterfall, Nam Tok Sam Lan is open to people of all fitness levels. Krok E Dok waterfall is less soothing, but impressive in its height and power. Chet Sao Noi waterfall is yet another worth the short trip.
Rarely mentioned in travel guide books, Saraburi is home to the most famous temple in Thailand where the rehabilitation centre for drug and alcohol addicts functions. The temple is called Wat Tham Krabok and their web-site gives the complete information of the question. Note that the rehabilitation process in Wat Tham Krabok is going to be neither cheap nor pleasant but the result is usually outstanding.
When to go to Saraburi
If you’re heading to these parts for the incredible sunflower fields, then there is no doubt, you need to be here between the months of November and January. Other than this strict timeframe, it is probably best to visit Saraburi and its surrounds in the dry season, between November and March. Considering the several temples, historical sites, waterfalls and surrounding national parks, you’d do well to avoid the rainy season between April and October.
Where to stay in Saraburi
A supremely impressive establishment with very generous offerings is Akanit Tower. For as little as 400 THB, you can live in lap of luxury. Really, so much luxury. Air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, a TV, a refrigerator, and even a city view come standard with their rooms. Go online and book it right now!
If you want to pass on this amazing offer for some inexplicable reason, or are unfortunate enough to be sent away because they’re full, you’re not entirely out of luck. Several other good, but not incredible offerings remain on the table. The Grand Pruksa Siri Apartment and the Grand Charoonrat Apartment are both strong budget options. All the bells and whistles are included for the very little 600 THB and even include breakfast.
At the higher-end of things, the Saraburi Inn is a pack leader. The Inn is very well run, is packed full of the sorts of amenities and services that you would expect for the price tag, and boasts an all-time winning luxury, room service. The rooms are around 1,400 THB.
Beyond the accommodations mentioned here, there are a handful of options scattered around the city. While you are not about to find five-star hotels or cute little boutique guesthouses, you won’t have any trouble finding something, and even less trouble finding something affordable.
What to eat in Saraburi
Curry puffs, something you’ve no doubt eaten elsewhere in Thailand actually originated in Saraburi! Get your hands on some of the original puffs right here! Grab one with taro filling for dessert!
Entrench yourself in the culture of the area by dining at one of the many street side restaurants. Right near the railway station there are several really well priced spots that serve up a range of Thai dishes. Sink back a few local beers, eat foods you can’t pronounce, and revel in the moment and what it means to be alive.
Considering its relative proximity to your bed, you’re quite likely to grab breakfast in your hotel. However, should you be too late or too early for this or just feel like a bit of a jaunt, then head to the tea and coffee shops nearby the bus station. You won’t get a fantastic full English breakfast, but you’ll find something to your taste there.
Vegetarians and vegans especially, can have a hard time this side of the world, what with all the chicken skewers and pork sausages on street side corners. However, Loving Hut has got you covered! The vegan restaurant serves up so many worldly-wise dishes, which can be followed by a healthy amount of desserts. Ah, yeah!
How to get around Saraburi
Getting around the less visited town of Saraburi is going to require renditions of some of your more rehearsed Thai phrases, a good sense of adventure, and some patience for the times that you go misunderstood. While locals may not have the greatest grasp of the English language, they can definitely get you where you’re going – if you can just get on the same page! Songthaews, tuk-tuks, and motorcycle taxis are the staple. Once you have gotten a couple of intra-city trips under your belt, you’ll be zooming around the town with great confidence and ease. Mai bpen rai, nakap!
Some accommodations offer motorcycle rentals. If you’re willing to take the risk, they are a great way to get around with absolute freedom and flexibility.
How to get to and from Saraburi
As always, the train is painless, spacious, and loudly romantic. Leaving from Bangkok Hualamphong, you can be in Saraburi in less than two hours. That is, of course, if you book the rapid train. Ordinary trains take around three hours to make the trip. Tickets are cheap, and even those of the highest standard with set you back less than 300 THB. Trains leave regularly from Bangkok – up to fifteen trains throughout the day depart from Hualamphong.
Taking between three and four hours, the bus trip is somewhat more taxing than a rapid train. What you lose in time, though, you make up for change spared. Busses leave from either Victory Monument or Mochit bus station. Tickets cost anything between 150 and 200 THB.
You can also catch a minibus from Mochit if you don’t feel like waiting for the next bus, are a fan of small spaces, or need to make the most of the small amount of time that you’ll gain in this faster form of transport. Ticket prices are virtually identical, but your levels of nausea will not be.
Is Saraburi a safe place to visit?
The people of the North are almost famous for their hospitality and friendliness. All the smaller and less commercialised areas of Thailand have a significantly greater collectivist spirit. The individualistic ways of the west unfortunately come part and parcel with smartphones, fancy ice-creams and uninterrupted internet connection. You’re far more than safe in Saraburi, you’re covered. Breakdown on the side of the road? Wait but a few minutes. Need help catching a songthaew? All you need to do is ask.