The wild sunflowers of Doi Mae U-Kho in Northern Thailand (Mae Hong Son province) bloom during November and early December, painting the entire mountain of Doi Mae U-kho in gold. The flowers are also known as Bua tong in Thai or Golden lotus and are actually Mexican sunflowers.
The area that the sunflowers cover is more than 1,000 rai (400 Acres). The Bua Tong Forest Park is located on the mountain of Doi Mae U-Kho, 1,600 meters above sea level. Imagine entire mountain sides and valleys in bright colors of yellow, blue, green and occasionally pink. It is a divine sight.
In November you are almost guaranteed stunning blue skies and pleasant temperatures for your drive. You won’t have the sunflower fields to yourself as they’re just too beautiful to keep people away, but it’s hard to blame anyone for wanting to experience such a surreal and beautiful setting. You’ll find that most of the tourists at the sunflower fields are Thai since most guidebooks doesn’t mention this spectacular sight.
Along the way as you get closer to Khun Yuam, you’ll see the farmers bringing in the rice harvest and threshing by hand, and increasing quantities of naturally blooming sunflowers bursting from the road side.
From Mae Hong Son, take 108 highway South to Khun Yuam, before turning off and following the signs for the last 30 KM to the sunflowers. You should allow 2-3 hours from Mae Hong Son to Khun Yuam, and about 45 minutes from the turn-off to get to Doi Mae U-Kho.
From Chiang Mai, the fastest route is highway 108 via Mae Sariang where you turn North towards Mae Hong Son. You should allow about 5 hours from Chiang Mai to Khun Yuam by car, and longer by motorbike. We’d recommend staying the night in Khun Yuam (as we did) and viewing the sunflowers at sunset and early morning.