Surin @ ThailandFor most of the year Surin province is a sleepy agricultural province, quietly growing jasmine rice and weaving beautiful silk. Come November however, the spotlight shines on Surin province as Thais and foreign visitors congregate in the province to witness one of Thailand. The land of big elephants, prestigious silk, beautiful rosary, many Khmer ruins, sweet radish, fragrant rice, and rich culture.


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ISAN is the northeastern region of Thailand. It is located on the Korat Plateau, bordered by the Mekong River (along the border with Laos) to the north and east, by Cambodia to the southeast and the Prachinburi mountains south of Nakhon Ratchasima. To the west it is separated from Northern and Central Thailand by the Phetchabun mountain range.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, northeastern Thailand has been officially known as Isan, a term adopted from Sanskrit Ishan, meaning in a north east direction. The term "Isan" was derived from Isanapura, the capital of the Chenla kingdom. The Lao-speaking population of the region, who comprise the majority, distinguish themselves not only from the Lao of Laos but also from the central Thai by calling themselves Khon Isan or Thai Isan. The Khmer-speaking minority and Kuy (Suai), who live in the south of Isan, speak dialects and follow customs more similar to those of Cambodia than either the Thai people or the Lao people. Agriculture is the main economic activity. Production lags behind the rest of the country due to the socio-economic conditions and the exceptionally hot, dry climate. Isan remains Thailand's poorest region.

The main language is Isan, which is a dialect of the Lao language. Currently written with the Thai alphabet (instead of the slightly different Lao alphabet), Isan belongs to the Chiang Seng and LaoPhutai language groups, which along with Thai are members of the Tai languages of the TaiKadai language family. Thai is also spoken by almost everyone. Khmer, the language of Cambodia, is widely spoken in areas along the Cambodian border: Buriram, Surin, and Sisaket. The people are aware of their Lao ethnic origin, but Isan has been incorporated into the modern Thai state. Several Thai prime ministers have come from the region. Prominent aspects of Isan culture of include Mor Lam, an indigenous type of folk music, Muay Thai boxing, cock fighting, and celebratory processions. Isan food, in which Sticky Rice (Khao niew) and chiles are prominent, is distinct from Thai cuisine. Sticky rice is a staple of Thai Northeastern cuisine, and it accompanies most meals.




Surin town lies about 100 Km. west of Sri Sa Ket, and the province, which borders Cambodia, boasts a number of Khmer sites. None match the size and magnificence of the more famous monuments, yet they present unique sightseeing opportunities to be included on any tour of the Northeast. Among the most interesting ruins are:

Prasat Si Khoraphum - Si Khoraphum District @ Surin - Thailand

Prasat Si Khoraphum

Some 30 Km. northeast of Surin town, these ruins near Sri Khoraphum municipality can be reached by car or by rail. The sanctuary comprises five brick towers raised on a single base and displaying a blend of Baphuon and Angkor architectural styles. Of special note are the stone carvings, particularly on the door to the central tower, which include two relief carvings of apsaras (celestial dancers) in excellent condition. The apsara is a common motif at Angkor, but these are the only examples found in Thailand.

Prasat Baan Phluang - Prasat District @ Surin - Thailand

Prasat Baan Phluang

Located some 30 Km. south of Surin town, this small 11th-century Khmer monument consists of a single unfinished tower built in the Baphuon style and raised on a laterite platform. Interest lies in the pure excellence of the building, which has been carefully restored.

Prasat Taa Muean - Phanom Dongrak District @ Surin - Thailand
Prasat Taa Muean - Phanom Dongrak District @ Surin - Thailand
Prasat Taa Muean - Phanom Dongrak District @ Surin - Thailand
Prasat Taa Muean - Phanom Dongrak District @ Surin - Thailand

Prasat Taa Muean

Situated 12 Km. from Baan Taa Miang on the Thai-Cambodian border, these are arguably the most evocative of Surin's ancient Khmer ruins. The site comprises three separate sanctuaries within a few hundred metres of each other: Prasat Taa Muean itself, a relatively small monument built in the late-12th or early-13th century; Taa Muean Tot, a ' hospital chapel ' consisting of an entrance pavilion, library and main sanctuary; and Prasat Taa Muean Thom, an extensive sandstone complex dating from the 11th century and built in the Baphuon style.

Prasat Phumpon - Sangkha District @ Surin - Thailand

Prasat Phumpon

Set in a traditional village at Tambol Dom, 10 Km. from the district office on the Sangkha-Buachet road, Prasat Phumphon dates from the 7th century and thus ranks as the oldest Khmer sanctuary in Thailand. The site consists of a single brick prasat and surrounding remains.


Prasat Links...»



ISAN MAP : Surin @ Thailand Loei Nong Khai Nakhon Phanom Udon Thani Sakon Nakhon Nong Bua Lam Phu Khon Kaen Chaiyaphum Kalasin Mukdahan Maha Sarakham Yasothon Amnat Charoen Nakhon Ratchasima Roi Et Buriram Surin Sri Sa Ket Ubon Ratchathani Bueng Kan





The land of big elephants, prestigious silk, beautiful rosary, many Khmer ruins, sweet radish, fragrant rice, and rich culture.

Surin is a large province in the Mun River Basin of Thailands Northeastern Isan region. Although the exact history of the town itself is not well known, the people of the region have always been highly regarded for a particular skill: capturing and taming elephants. The Suay or Kuay (meaning simply people) migrated to the area perhaps thousands of years ago and established a reputation for their elephant handling prowess that is still celebrated to this day. Since 1960, around the time that elephants were being replaced by machines for most of their laboring jobs, the Surin Elephant Round-Up has been an annual event known both locally and internationally. During this celebration of both the elephants and the training skills of the Surin people, the gigantic pachyderms impress everyone with their cleverness and charm, an event that is the embodiment of the unique character of the province.

In addition to elephants, Surin features many ruins from the era when the Khmer of Angkor controlled the region, and Surin is also known for producing beautiful silk and growing Thailands famous jasmine rice.

For most of the year Surin province is a sleepy agricultural province, quietly growing jasmine rice and weaving beautiful silk. Come November however, the spotlight shines on Surin province as Thais and foreign visitors congregate in the province to witness one of Thailands most iconic celebrations: the Surin Elephant Round-Up. As much a celebration of the mighty elephants as the local people who are so skilled in training them, the Elephant Round up features hundreds of elephants showcasing their skills, including a man vs elephant tug-of-war and full fledged battle re-enactments.

Those visiting other times of the year or just before, after the big event will enjoy the bucolic environment that surrounds a number of charming handicraft villages and a handful of Khmer ruins, abandoned for half a millennia following the fall of the Khmer Empire at Angkor.


Hotels are generally full during the elephant round up so book ahead!
Visitors can interact with the elephants at the end of the days performances.



@ Thailand



Options in Surin, Thailand
Surin is easily reached via private car, public bus, or train. Once there, it may be easier to get around with your own car, but there are standard forms of local transport available for visitors: i.e. songtaew, motorbike taxi, tuk tuk, and if you are lucky: elephant!


Getting to and from Surin

By Train:
Regular trains depart from Bangkok's Hua Lumphong Railway Station for Surin every day. Call 1690, 0 2223 7010-20or visit for more information.

By Car:
From Bangkok, take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road) to Saraburi and then Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap Road) to Nakhon Ratchasima; finally, use Highway No.226 to Surin via Buri Ram, a total distance of 457 kilometers.

By Bus:
Buses depart from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) to Surin every day. Contact Transport Co.Ltd at Tel: 0 2936 2852-66 or visit for more information


Getting Around Surin
Surin is a very convenient city for travelers to explore: most sights and lodging are within a few blocks of the bus and train stations. If you dont want to walk, Samlor (three wheeled, pedal powered cabs) charge 20B to 30B for a trip around the city center.

It is also possible for visitors to rent cars and motorbikes while in Surin. Be aware that only Commercial First Class Insurance provides full coverage on rental cars (as opposed to limited personal or third party only insurance). You may wish to request a copy of an insurance policy and ensure that it states "For Commercial Use". Regardless, inspect rental vehicles prior to rental and drive with caution, particularly as traffic in Thailand can be quite confusing.

For around 150 to 300 baht per day you can hire your own motorbike, which will typically require you to leave your passport as a deposit. Be sure to inspect bikes prior to rental and drive with extreme caution as rental motorbikes are not normally insured and accidents are frequent. Helmets are required by Thai law.


Attending the Surin Elephant Roundup is the provinces number one activity, though visitors also have the opportunity to visit local villages to learn about handicrafts production and explore ancient Khmer ruins. Otherwise, Surin has limited activities other than enjoying the natural and peaceful environment as well as the charm of the hospitable local inhabitants.

Other than Surins iconic elephants, there are a number of natural and cultural attractions, including beautiful temples and handicraft villages. The following are some of the most popular attractions in Surin:

Art, Culture & Heritage

Prasat Si Khoraphum - Surin @ ThailandPrasat Si Khoraphum
Si Khoraphum khmer sanctuary at Tambon Ra-ngaeng at Km. 34-35 on Highway No. 226 is 5 pagodas on the same base. Each is about 30 metres high. Designs adorn the door columns and lintels. The site was built around the 17th Buddhist century...
Link 1 , Link 2 , Link 3

Prasat Ban Phlai
Ban Phlai sanctuary is at Tambon Chua Phloeng, 10 kilometres from the district office. This Khmer religious site consists of 3 brick buildings on the same laterite base with a moat surrounding them. The buildings were built around the 16th Buddhist century... Link 1

Prasat Mueang Thi - Surin @ ThailandPrasat Mueang Thi
Prasat Mueang Thi is 16 kilometres from Surin on the way to Si Khoraphum on Highway No. 226. Three square brick pagodas were part of five on the same base... Link 1 , Link 2

Prasat Ban Phluang
Built around the 16th-17th Buddhist century. This small sanctuary has very detailed designs. The site is 4 pagodas on a rectangular laterite base. Each pagoda is square and made of sandstone with floral and human figure designs. Ban Phluang sanctuary is at Km. 32 on the Surin-Prasat-Kap Choeng road... Link 1

Prasat Phumpon - Surin @ ThailandPrasat Phumpon
This khmer sanctuary is at Tambon Dom, 10 kilometres from the district office on the Sangkha-Buachet road. This is one of the oldest Khmer sanctuaries in the Northeast and was built around the 12th-13th Buddhist century... Link 1 , Link 2

Prasat Ta Muean
This khmer santuary is 12 kilometres from Ban Ta Miang on Highway No. 214 on the Thai-Cambodian border. Prasat Ta Muan Tot has a square base made of sandstone, similar to those at Ban Phluang. Prasat Ta Muan Thom is 200 metres from Ta Muan Tot sanctuary. Situated near a stream, it consists of 3 pagodas with floral and idol designs. There are also 2 laterite buildings and a pool beyond them... Link 1

Khwao Sinarin Handicraft Village
The village, located in Amphoe Khwao Sinarin, is famous for fine silk, weaing with unique patterns and notable silver beads.

Prasat Yai Ngao - Surin @ ThailandPrasat Yai Ngao
This is a Khmer sanctuary beside Highway No. 24, 4 kilometres from the district office... Link 1

Surin National Museum
Situated at km. 4 of Surin-Prasat Road, on the left before bypass road. The museum features five areas namely geography, archeology, city history, ethnology, and heritages of the province.

1. Geography section features physical of Surin including tomography, climate, geology, soil science, natural resources such as earth, water, forest, wildlife, and national parks. Moreover, it features rice and rice farming, as Surin is of the best place for growing Jasmine Rice.

2. Archeology section features development of people, lifestyle including the second funeral in pre-historical period, antique from Dvaravati, Khmer, and Ayutthaya-Lanchang found in Surin. There are replica of ancient sites presented with motion picture to educate museum goer in the area of archaelogy and art history found in Surin.

3. City History section features history of Surin city from past to present in the presentation boxes. From Kuai ethnic group who caught white elephant escaped from Ayutthaya until Surin City was well established. Other topics include administration reform, significant incidents such as white elephant catching, the first arrival of train to Surin, market at the first stage, education in the past.

4. Ethnology section features four major ethnic groups in Surin namely Suay or Kuai who has excellent skill in catching and training elephant, Khmer who is the native of the region, Laotian who is the latest migratory, and Thai Khorat who came from Nakhon Ratchasima. The presentation replicates lifestyle of different ethnic groups with replica houses, rites, photographs and picture about the traditions.

5. Heritages of the province. Surin is famed for its cultural heritages, which was handicrafts namely silver ornaments, silk cloth, traditional performances, and elephant raising. The later puts Surin on the world map. The presentation of this section includes replica, photographs and motion pictures.

The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 9.00 am. to 4.00 pm.. It is close on Monday, Tuesday, and special holiday. For more information, call 0-4451-3358... Link 1

Phraya Surin Phakdi Sri Narong Changwang (Pum) Monument - Surin @ ThailandPhraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang (Pum) Monument
This monument is dedicated to the first lord of the city. It is located at the southern entrance to the city in the area where the city's inner wall once stood. It was built in 1968... Link 1


Places of Worship

City Pillar Shrine - Surin @ ThailandCity Pillar Shrine
Located on Lak Mueang Road, 500 metres west of city hall, the shrine is a sacred icon of the city. At first, the shrine did not house any pillar. In 1968, the Fine Arts Department has designed a new city shrine and got golden cassia log from Mr. Prasith Maneekan, Amphoe Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi, and made it the city pillar. The log is 3 metres long and 1 metre long in circumcircle. The rite and celebration took place on March 15, 1974... Link 1

Wat Burapharam
Wat Burapharam is on Krung Si Nai Road near the provincial hall. It houses Luang Pho Phra Chi, a sacred Buddha image of the city. This old image was built during the Thon Buri period at the same time Surin was founded... Link 1


Nature & Wildlife

Huai Saneng - Surin @ ThailandHuai Saneng
Huai Saneng is a reservoir popular with locals who seek relaxation. It is 5 kilometres from Amphoe Prasat... Link 1



Suburban Living

Chong Chom Market - Surin @ ThailandChong Chom Market
Located at Bn Dan Phatthana, Tambon Dan, this market is a trade centre at the border checkpoint for local Thais and Cambodians... Link 1

Ban Buthom Basketry Village
This Basketry Village is at Tambon Muang Thi on the Surin-Si Khoraphum road at Km. 14-15. When villagers are not harvesting, they make basketry from rattan to sell as household items and souvenirs.

Ban Tha Sawang Silk Weaving Village
Located in Tambon Tha Sawang, the village has a weaving plant in ancient style. Silk woven here is produced from very fine thread of silk, dyed naturally, and woven with delicate pattern from the past. The village produces also ancient style cloth called Pha Yok Thong, which is woven from pure silver line and golden-coloured silk. How to get there: The village is 8 kilometres from Surin City. Motorist can across the railway, opposite to Surin Plaza, and keeps going to the intersection. Turn left into Ko Loi - Mueang Ling Road... Link 1

Silverware and Silk Villages
Silverware and Silk Villages can be reached by taking the Surin-Chom Phra road (No. 214) to Km. 14-15, then 4 kilometres to the right. These villages are Ban Khawao Sinnarin, Ban Chok and Ban Sado, all nearby one another. The beautiful silverware and silk products made here are sold to shops and tourists.In addition, Chan Rom village at Km. 9 on the Surin-Sangkha Highway cultivates Indian mulberry for silkworms that are then used to produce ancient-style silk designs and colors. Basketry is also made here.


Recreational & Entertainment

Elephant Village - Surin @ ThailandElephant Village
This elephant village at Ban Ta Klang on Highway No. 214 (Chom Phra-Ta Tum) can be reached by going to Km. 36 and left for 22 kilometres. The locals here are called the Suai people. They are skilled in capturing, training and raising elephants. An elephant museum here displays a complete elephant skeleton, its organs, tools used to capture elephants, elephant-raising techniques, and the history and development of Surin elephants... Link 1 , Link 2

Admission : 100 baht per person




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