LOCATED 430km east of Bangkok and 50km from the Cambodian border is the quiet, nondescript town of Surin, the capital of the Surin Province.
In the north of the province is the valley of the Mun River, a tributary of the Mekong, and to the south of the province is the Dongrek mountain chain, which also forms the boundary to Cambodia. The central and northern parts of the province are undulating flood plains.
Rich in history and tradition, and with plenty of excellent sights, Surin’s story dates back thousands of years. Its small population of approximately 40,000 has its roots deeply embedded in a time when the Suay or Kuay ethnic groups migrated along the Mekong River to settle around the Dongrek Range.
The Kuay ethnic people are found in both Thailand and the neighboring Southeast Asian country of Laos, and they are particularly talented in catching and training elephants. In fact, Surin is famous for its annual Elephant Roundup in November, a three-day-long event where elephants roam the streets of Surin and perform in various activities.
Other popular festivals include the Surin Jasmine Rice and Silk Cloth Fair in January which features contests of agricultural products and silk cloth, and the Ascending Phanom Sawai Mountain Festival in March, a parade of traditional art and culture to Phanom Sawai mountain.
Aside from beautiful silk fabrics, highly-prized aromatic jasmine rice, and plenty of Khmer ruins, Surin also boasts a fantastic night market with street vendors peddling delicious eats such as gai yang (Laos-style flattened chicken) and som tam (fresh green papaya salad).
With so much to offer, the Surin Province is definitely worth a visit:
Local woman working on silk weaving
Surin’s highly-prized rice
Prasat Sikhoraphum (Castle Rock temple)
Ancient Khmer sandstone carving
Thai-Cambodian opera performance
Fresh produce at the market
Traditional Thai dancers at the Phaya Surin Pakdee Monument
Buddha statue at Wat Kut Kha Khim