A provincial capital in the north-east region of Isaan, Surin is a quiet town for much of the year. It has a few good guesthouses, a bustling central market and some reasonable nightlife.
It’s a great place to soak up the traditional, laidback pace of life in the region, and a useful base for exploring the province. Surin shares its southern border with Cambodia and the Khmer lived and worked in this region, leaving a legacy of temples and ruins to explore. The region is renowned for its delicious, fragrant jasmine rice and its handicraft villages that produce rattan, silver, gold and some of Thailand’s finest silk.
Everything changes in November, when the town and province gears up for the annual elephant festival. The local Suay people have a long association with elephants and these gentle giants have become the icon of the province, with several quirky elephant statues around the town.
Our Spin: The Elephant Round Up festival is a fun celebration of these amazing creatures and acknowledges the importance of their role in Thai history. Witness the incredible bond of an elephant and his ‘Mahout’ (handler). The procession of 300 or more elephants through the city’s streets is a sight to behold.