Surin Elephant Round Up
Every year on the 3rd weekend of November, one of Thailand’s most wonderful events takes place. Sadly, it’s visited by very few tourists as it’s in the north-eastern province of Surin, about 450 kilometres from Bangkok, or 5 hours by car but it should be in every tourist guide and on everyone’s list of things to experience.
Surin is a typical rural Thai province, where people earn their living from the land and mostly lead simple but comfortable lives. It borders Buriram to the west and Srisaket to the east, with a border to Cambodia to the south. The Surin folk speak a mix of Issan (Lao) and Khmer and continue the cultures and traditions that have been passed to them over time.
Surin, as a province, has become synonymous with elephants and every year in November, homage is paid to these wonderful animals in the form of a festival. It’s called the Surin Elephant Round Up but it’s not a collecting of pachyderms, it’s a collection of them.
On the morning on the first day, there is a parade through the town and for me this is the most enjoyable part of the whole festival. It’s a little like waiting for the circus to come to town back home. Hundreds of elephants, of all sizes, walk through the town, ending up at the Elephant Buffet Breakfast, a fair feast of bananas, leaves and any other fruit that is
available. It’s a marvelous time to get up close and personal and rides are also allowed for a small fee.
Over the weekend, outside the city, the Si Narong show ground holds events including battle re-enactments, shows and sports events, all used to show the strength and mobility of these wonderful beasts. There are also displays on the domestication of the elephants, every life living with them and their relationship with Surin Province.
If you are available at this time (November 14-16, 2014) please make your way up here and enjoy the fun.