Surin Elephant Round-up
The Surin Elephant Round-up usually takes place on the third weekend of November in Surin province, Isan, Thailand. It is of recent origin, first held in 1960. The people of Surin were traditionally excellent at capturing elephants in Cambodia, then training them as working animals. Civil war in Cambodia and the elephant's decreasing economic importance has forced the elephant handlers (mahouts) to turn to entertainment to make a living.
The Elephant Breakfast is a small part of the festival and is held on the Friday morning. A procession of up to over 300 elephants (2005) start marching through Surin city from the railway station area toward the Elephant roundabout at the south end of the city on the Prasat road.
The elephants carry dignitaries and also some tourists who dismount their steeds on arrival. Some elephants carry mahouts in authentic battle outfits from the Thai - Khmer - Laos battles. Intermingled with the elephant procession are local school children and teachers in traditional dress, dancing and playing music.
Once all the elephants have arrived then the banquet can begin, the tables of fruits are quickly cleared by the large team of elephants. Whatever leftovers there may be is not lost, as the local people take the leftovers to their own homes.
On the following morning (Saturday) the elephants and mahoots congregate at the Elephant Stadium to the south east of the city centre. Here the main show is performed culminating in a re-enactment of the battles of a past century. The show is repeated on Sunday morning.
Pictures of the 2007 Round-Up.
- Article about Surin Frommer
- First-hand account of visiting the Surin Elephant Festival
- Elephant round up
- Surin information for Expats and Tourists
- Accommodation in Surin