Another post on the provinced of the North-East Region:
Surin is a large province in the Mun River Basin of Thailand’s 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. 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 Thailand’s famous jasmine rice.
Surin is popular for its local products are silk, cotton cloth, wickerwork, silverware, carved ivory, preserved radish, white pork sausages, grilled pork, and pork floss.
Things to do in Surin:
1. Elephant Study Centre, Ban Ta Klang Elephant village
Elephant Study Centre, Ban Ta Klang Elephant village is the world’s largest elephant raising village. Visitors will learn the way of life of the ethnic Kuai or Kuy, indigenous people of Surin who preserved the culture and traditions related to the elephant. The Kuai ethnic people are skilled mahouts who have been long-time experts on catching wild elephants to raise them like a family’s members that create a bond between human and elephant like no other place.
2. Village of Traditional Golden Brocade
Ban Tha Sawang or better known as the APEC woven textile village since its woven textiles were chosen to be tailor-made for the shirts of 21 APEC leaders and for the shawls of their spouses, who participated in the APEC Summit in Thailand in 2003. That was the time the village became recognised together with its famous “1,416-heddled, gold-brocaded silk”, the handicraft work created by the Chansoma cloth-weaving group, which has preserved and revived the sophisticated weaving of golden brocade used in the royal household in the past. Headed by Achan Wiratham Trakun-ngoenthai, the group was formed by villagers of Ban Tha Sawang who have a reputation of cloth weaving skills in creating woven textiles in a combined style of alternate gold braid weaving designs of the royal household with the techniques of folk weaving to become the old styled golden brocade silk that has value and exquisiteness.
3. Sikhoraphum Sanctuary
Sikhoraphum Sanctuary is a Hinduism sanctuary built around the 12th century with a combination of Bapuan and Angkor Khmer styles. The Sanctuary comprises 5 brick prang towers lying on the same laterite base. On the door frame at the front of the principal prang is Thailand’s most beautiful and complete carving sandstone sculpture of Apsaras or female dancers.
4. Silverware handicraft Village
Khewa Sinarin is a well-known village for making ancient silverware with the unique design of Surin called “Luk Pakueam” or beads by making a silver plate into a plain round or oval shape, then enamelling and creating different designs; such as, Lai Khai Maengda, and Lai Dok Phikun into various women accessories like bracelets, belts, necklaces, earrings, etc.
5. Ban A-lue Homestay
Kuy is the first ethnic group who has settled in Lower Isan for over 100 years. They have their own language. The ethnic Kuys at Ban A-lue is a community that has still inherited the primitive living of the Kuy tribe in terms of costumes, lifestyle, culture and traditions. Their houses maintain an original style on high stilts for raising an elephant underneath and placing a loom. Women in the village will spare some time from farming to weave folk silk textiles.
6. Ban Phluang Sanctuary
Ban Phluang Sanctuary is a small stone sanctuary but has distinctive features of the exquisite and complete carved sculpture with a unique layout and building; the prang was built with sandstone and bricks on a rectangular laterite foundation surrounded by a moat. It is believed that this sanctuary was built to worship the God Indra in about the 11th-12th centuries. A lintel of God Indra riding the Erawan elephant carving above Kala, a mythological creature, was found on the east side.
7. Phanom Sawai Forest Park
Phanom Sawai Forest Park is a short hill comprising 3 peaks; the first peak named Yot Khao Chai (Phanom Pro) that is 220 metres high is a site of Wat Phanom Sawai. There is a cement brick staircase to reach the temple with 1,080 bells along the way. The temple features a large pond in a shady atmosphere and houses “Phra Phuttha Surinthara Mongkhon”, a large white Buddha image in the attitude of giving a blessing with King Rama IX’s initials Pho Po Ro enshrining the Buddha’s relics at the navel. The second peak called Yot Khao Ying (Phanom Sarai) is located Wat Phanom Silaram, a temple housing a medium-sized Buddha image on the hilltop and 2 ancient ponds that are believed to be a habitat of sacred turtles. The third one called Khao Khok (Phanom Kron) with 150 metres high houses Sala Atthamuk, a memorial on the Rattanakosin Bicentennial celebration enshrines the replica of the Buddha’s footprint.
8. Surin National Museum
Surin National Museum was built from the support of local advisors who did research and gathered the stories of Surin province. The exhibition room showcases the natural history, archaeology, history of the city from the Ayutthaya era to the present time, ethnology of the Thai-Khmer, Thai-Laotian, Thai-Kuy, and Thai-Khorat people whose residences are in Surin province including its outstanding heritage of elephant raising, handicrafts and folk performance varieties.
9. Buddhist Lent Candle Festival and Elephant Alms-giving
Buddhist Lent Candle Festival and Elephant Alms-giving is an annual festival of Surin province, which includes the most participation of elephants that many agencies value the importance of elephants to preserve and carry on this marvellous tradition.
10. Eel Festival, Jasmine Rice, and Red Cross Fair
This festival is held annually in Amphoe Chumphon, a district located in the area called “Thung Kula Rong Hai”, a renowned Jasmine rice production source of Surin. The Festival’s activities are related to rice; for example, a parade decorated with Jasmine rice grain with a traditional dance parade, the eel catching competition, the eel size contest, the competitions of Jasmine rice, rice threshing and rice pounding, traditional rice cooking, silk cloth contest, a boat race with not more than 8 oarsmen, etc., as well as the exhibition of best products in Chumphon Buri, OTOP products trade fair including local entertainment shows; such as, Mo Lam, and folk music performances.
(Source: – Tourism Thailand)