Trunk to tail the procession of gentle giants mosey onward during the Elephant Round Up held in Surin Thailand, every third weekend of November. A relatively recent developed tradition, it originated from citizens training elephants as working animals, but later due the Civil War in Cambodia and the logging ban of 1989 that put thousands of elephants out of work, handlers turned to entertainment to earn a living. Each year over 200 Elephants gather together in this Eastern part of Thailand to entertain, charm, and astonish visitors with their feats of strength and skill during games such as tug of war and football. One of the more hands on events is the Elephant Breakfast held on the Friday morning. Chains of Elephants carrying dignitaries, tourists and their handlers also known as Mahouts, saunter into town and congregate at the roundabout in the south end of the city, where a feast of fruit is devoured. Tourists and locals get a chance to mingle with these massive mammals and feed them first hand. Saturday and Sunday the Elephants convene at the Stadium for displays of skill and mastery with music, games, and an array of traditional customs and attire.
Descend upon this experience during the third weekend of November each year. This time of year is the cool season with temperatures that usually range between 16 - 30 degrees celcius, a comfortable change from the hotter temperatures of the dry season. Additionally due to the overwhelming popularity both amongst tourists and locals accommodations might need to be sought outside of Surin in nearby Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Khorat if going on short notice.
Odds n' Ends
The Tourism Authority of Thailand offers an organized trip to Surin for the festival at a cost of about $175 cnd. This cost includes your train from Bangkok, entry to the Elephant show at the arena, accommodations, excellent Thai meals, and a glimpse into local folk dancing and silk weaving with a visit to a local village. To find more information contact
TAT Tourist Information Centres in Thailand
Address : 1600 New Phetburi Road, Makkasan, Rajatevee, Bangkok 10310.
Tel : +66 2250 5500 (120 automatic lines)
Fax : +66 2250 5511 ( 2 automatic lines)
Email Address : email@example.com
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