Surin Travel Guide
Surin is a small backwater in Thailand that receives few guests outside of November, when the Elephant Roundup kicks off. But in this season hotels fill up quickly as 300 elephants and hordes of tourists flood the market.
Surin is close to the border with Cambodia, and in centuries past the Khmer kingdoms were the dominant power here. The result is a collection of distinctive temples and palaces scattered across the outlying countryside. This kind of architecture is rare in Thailand so the temples are worthwhile for those in the area.
The most important Khmer ruins are Prasat Sikhoraphum and Prasat Ta Meuan. The oldest structures date to the 12th century. For those who are unmoved by marching elephants or ancient history, there is a collection of handicraft villages outside of Surin where you can watch artisans at work and buy well-made souvenirs.
Getting There & Away
Surin is easily reached onboard VIP buses from Bangkok (8 hours), with overnight service available. Trains to Bangkok also take 8 hours. Traveling to or from Cambodia is possible via Chong Jom, which can be reached by minibus in 2 hours. The border crossing offer visas on arrival in both directions.
Things to Do
- Elephant Roundup
Surin’s most important annual event lasts three days in november and features every elephant trick imaginable.
- Prasat Ta Meuan
This temple complex dates to the 1100s and features three distinctly cambodian structures.
- Prasat Sikhoraphum
This complex boasts five pagodas that date to the ayutthaya period.
- Handicraft villages
Several artisans’ villages are found outside of town, each with their own specialty like silverware or woven baskets.