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Travel Thailand, Surin

Surin's heritage is linked to elephants, silk and the ruins of a Khmer empire. Suay, a tribe of elephant catchers, were domiciled in the forested mountains of this province bordering on Cambodia. Their skills at taming and training elephants is demonstrated annually at the Elephant Round-up which takes place during the third week of November.

Silk weaving is a traditional skill of the province while several Khmer monuments provide the historical attractions. The Bantad Mountains from Surin's southern border with Cambodia. Surin is 45 km from Bangkok and 420 km by train. The province cabers 8,124 square kilometers and has a population of 431,5000 Chiang Khan on the Laos border.

Surin Attractions:
Ban Ta Klang, in Tha Tum district, 58 km from Surin, off Highway 214, is known as the Elephant Village. Elephant that perform in the annual round-up are resident here, living with their mahouts. Most of the villagers are from the Suay tribe, who have their own dialect and customs. They have been associated with elephants for centuries, training them to perform rather than work in the forests as was the case with elephants in northern Thailand. The stars of Surin's Elephant Round-up learn their routines here. A museum and elephant educational centre at the village documents the history of elephants, the traditional round-up and their training. An elephant show is held every Saturday from 0930 to 1100. Admission is Bt100 per person.

Phraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Chang Wang, a monument to Surin's first ruler, stands in the southern part of town. Constructed in 1984, the 2.2 metre-high bronze statue shows Phraya Surin in full battle dress, carrying a mahout's hook in his right hand and a pair of swords tucked into his belt. It reminds visitors of Surin's strategic role as a source of elephants trained for war.

Prasat Muang Thi was built by Phraya Surin at the site of the original town, 16 km from present day Surin. The site originally had five prangs of which only three remain.

Ban Khao Sinarin, once famous for its hand-woven cloth, is now noted for its silver ornaments. The village is about 20 km from Surin on Highway 214. Artisans in nearby Ban Chok also specialise in silver products.

Ban Buthum, a centre of basket weaving, is located 12 km from Surin on Highway 2080. About 70 households in the village produce rattan baskets.

Prasat Sikhoraphum consists of five prangs, the principal one reaching a height of 32 metres. The Khmer ruins are noted for their carvings of Hindu deities on the lintel and doorways of the main prang. The site is 34 km northeast of Surin Huai Saneng reservoir, 9 km from town, has been turned into a recreation are with accommodation.

Phanom Swai Park, 22 km from Surin, features two Buddha images and a replica of a Buddha footprint and occupy prominent positions on a small hill.

Prasat Hin Ban Pluang, a Khmer sanctary, is 30 km south of Surin. The sandstone structure is noted for its beautifully carved lintels.

Prasat Phumipone is the oldest Khmer prang in Surin. The brick tower, resting on a square literate foundation, dates from the 7th centruy, the earliest period of Khmer art found in the Northeast. It is located 10 km from Sangkha district.

Festival
Surin's Elephant Round-up
introduced in 1960, is one of Thailand's best-known festivals, attraction 40,000 tourists during the third weekend of November. Approximately 200 elephants descend on the town to take part in races, soccer games, colorful processions and other circus-style tricks. The town's hotels are full and the streets take on a carnival atmosphere in contrast to its quite disposition for the remainder of the year.


 

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