Surin Province

Mun River Mouth.jpg
Official seal of Surin
Map of Thailand highlighting Surin Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Surin Province
Country  Thailand
Capital Surin
 • Governor Wichian Chawalit (since March 2009)
 • Total 8,124.1 km2 (3,136.7 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 24th
Population (2011)
 • Total 1,380,399
 • Rank Ranked 10th
 • Density 170/km2 (440/sq mi)
 • Density rank Ranked 16th
Time zone Thailand Standard Time (UTC+7)
ISO 3166 code TH-32

Surin (Thai: สุรินทร์, Khmer: សុរិន្រ្ទ: Sorin [1]) is one of the north-eastern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from west clockwise) Buriram, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et and Sisaket. To the south it borders Oddar Meancheay of Cambodia.


With the total area about 8,124 km2 (3,137 sq mi), Surin province is located in the north east of Thailand between the Mun River in the north and Dongrek Mountain Chain in the South. Originally, it was named as Khu Prathai Village by the governor of the city, Luang Surin Phakdi, and used to be the old city of the ancient Cambodian back around 200 years ago. The city has 13 districts and 4 sub-districts with 450 kilometers away from Bangkok city by cars and 420 kilometers by train.[2]

Surin province is well known for a beautiful scenario for a traveling purpose and a great place for souvenir shopping. It has earned a reputation for its fine silk and notable silver beads & ornaments such as necklaces, belts, rings, watches and bracelets etc. in Khwao Sinaring Handicraft Village. By visiting Mueang district, tourists can buy many home made food such as shredded pork (Mu Yong), Chinese sausage (Koon Chiang), and sweet radish in honey etc. Internationally, Surin has many well-known festivals, for instance, the Annual Grand Elephant Round Up, Eel Festival, and Buffalo Blessing Festival etc.[3]

The motto of the city is: “Surin the land of elephants, splendid silk, beautiful silver beads, stone castles, sweet cabbage, aromatic rice, beautiful culture.”


The first syllable Sur- originates from the Sanskrit word Sura (Devanagari: सुर) meaning God (cf. Asura), and the word In-tar from Sanskrit is Indra (Devanagari: इन्द्र). Hence the name of the province literally means Lord Indra.[citation needed]

Prior to the fourteenth century, the area of Surin was under the Khmer empire suzerainty (known in Khmer as Sorin).


In the north of the province is the valley of the Mun river, a tributary of the Mekong. To the south of the province is the Dongrek mountain chain, which also forms the boundary to Cambodia. The central and northern parts of the province are undulating flood plains.


Climate data for Surin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.1
Average low °C (°F) 16.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 2.7
Avg. precipitation days 1 2 4 8 15 17 17 19 19 11 4 1 118
Mean monthly sunshine hours 282.1 254.8 266.6 246.0 241.8 192.0 198.4 189.1 183.0 232.5 249.0 269.7 2,805
Source: Thai Meteorological Department



The earliest settlers in the region were hunter-gatherers. The Neolithic period, which saw the introduction of agriculture, dates from 2,500 to 1,500 years BCE. The Bronze Age follows from 1,500-500 BCE, and the Iron Age from 500 BCE to 500 CE. The first evidence of human settlement in Surin emerges in the Iron Age, with approximately 60 known Iron Age sites.

Historical period

The earliest known historical period is the Dvaravati. This was an Indian based culture, which defused through the north-east region of what is now Thailand. Evidence of this culture is found in Surin region dating to between the 7th to 11th centuries CE. It was in this period that Buddhism became the dominant religion of the region.

Following the Dvaravati period, the powerful Khmer Empire expanded its influence throughout what is now the southern Isan region of Thailand. This period covers the 7th to 13th centuries CE. Surin was an important part of the ancient Khmer empire. Temple ruins and a substantial ethnic Khmer minority remain part of Surin. Khmer stone inscriptions date from c. 600 CE. Over the next several centuries a growing number of Khmer sites were constructed in the province, most notably Prasat Sikhoraphum. These sites would have formed part of the network of Khmer infrastructure centred on Prasat Phanom Rung.

With the collapse of the Khmer empire in the 13th century, Surin faded from history, not to re-emerge until the 18th century. According to legend, a local Kuay leader named Chiangpum presented a rare white elephant to Chao Phaya Chakri, the future King Rama I. In gratitude, he awarded Chiangpum the royal title Luang Surin Phakdi and appointed him village headman. When he became monarch, Rama I named Luang Surin Phakdi as the provincial governor. In 1763 Chiangpum's village moved to 15 kilometers to its present location and was upgraded to a city named Muang Prathai Saman. According to tradition, the move was due to better water at the new site. In 1786 the name was changed to Surin in honor of its royal governor.

The province slowly grew as people returned to the area. Although there was a continual influx of people from the surrounding areas, Surin was largely self-sufficient and remained somewhat isolated until the arrival of the railroad in 1922. Chinese and Indian merchants settled in the city, manufacturing increased, and Surin gradually became a modern metropolis.

Tambon Tha Sawang Silk, well-known handicraft of Amphoe Mueang Surin
Elephant Feeding
Elephant procession
Elephant Festival


In Thailand's 2000 Census it was reported that 99.5% of the province's population are Thai nationals. 29.3% of the population range from age 0-14. 60.9% range from 15-59 and 9.8% of the population is 60 and over.

Surin is one of the provinces where there is a sizable Northern Khmer population. It was reported that 47.2% of the population are capable of speaking the Khmer language. This is down from the 1990 Census where it was reported that 63.4% of the population spoke Khmer.[4]


The provincial seal is an image of Indra atop his celestial white elephant, Airavata which is based on the design found on a famous Khmer temple in the province. Both Khmer temples as well as elephants are commonly found in Surin.

Provincial tree as well as provincial flower is the Common Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans).

Administrative divisions

Map of Amphoe

The province is subdivided into 17 districts (amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 158 subdistricts (tambon) and 2011 villages (muban).

  1. Mueang Surin
  2. Chumphon Buri
  3. Tha Tum
  4. Chom Phra
  5. Prasat
  6. Kap Choeng
  7. Rattanaburi
  8. Sanom
  9. Sikhoraphum
  1. Sangkha
  2. Lamduan
  3. Samrong Thap
  4. Buachet
  5. Phanom Dong Rak
  6. Si Narong
  7. Khwao Sinarin
  8. Non Narai



City Pillar Shrine. ศาลหลักเมืองสุรินทร์. The shrine is the sacred icon, the tutelary deity of the city and the province. Prior to 1968 the shrine did not house a pillar. This changed in 1968 when the Thai Fine Arts Department designed a new city shrine. A city pillar for this new shrine was made from a golden cassia log, donated by a Mr. Prasith Maneekan. A new shrine is under construction c. 2010.

The Monument of Phaya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang (Pum). อนุสาวรีย์พระยาสุรินทรภักดีศรีณรงค์จางวาง (ปุม). This is a statue of Surin’s traditional founder and first mayor, Phaya Surin. The black, brass statue is 2.2 metres high, and was dedicated in 1968. The statue is located at the southern entrance to the city, at what is now a major traffic round-about, but was in the past, the inner wall of the city. Pum stands on a high plinth, and is depicted holding a with curve-blade pike in right hand. This is a traditional device used to control an elephant. The pike reflects his legendary skill in controlling war elephants, and recognises the important of the role of elephants in both the history and economy of Surin.

Wat Burapharam. วัดบูรพาราม. This ancient Buddhist temple was built by Surin’s first mayor Phaya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang. The Wat houses a Buddha image of Luang Pho Phra Chi, which was built at the same time as the temple.

Surin National Museum. พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ สุรินทร์. The Surin National Museum was established in 1974. It was first housed in the Surin City Hall, but was later moved to the Surin Education Office. In 1992 the Thai Fine Arts Department proposed a dedicated museum building for the province. Construction of the museum began in 1995, and was completed in 2010. The Museum is now located in Ban Nongtao, Chaniang sub-district, Mueang district, on highway 214. The Museum covers five topics: natural science, history-archaeology, local history, ethnology, and local heritage.

Lower Isan Art and Crafts Centre. ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพอีสานใต้. Located on a bypass road, close to Tambon Nok Mueang Administration organization, southeast of Surin City. The centre displays art and culture exhibits of Lower Isan.

Huai Saneng. ห้วยเสนง. Huai Saneng Reservoir has a high and steep crest. Its southern area has a rich display of water lilies and flocks of birds. The palace of Mother Princess is located in the headquarters of Phanom Sawai Forest Park. วนอุทยานพนมสวาย. The park has a hill with three peaks. The first peak, Yot Khao Chai, or the Man Peak, is where Wat Phanom Sawai is located. The second peak, Yot Khao Ying, or the Lady Peak, houses a medium-size Buddha image. The third peak, Yot Khao Kok, houses an octagon pavilion.

Mueang Thi Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทเมืองที. Built from brick and cement, these Khmer ruins comprised 5 stupas on a base, with the largest in the middle and the rest at 4 corners. One stupa at the corner has completely damaged.

Ban Buthom Basketry Village. หมู่บ้านจักสานบ้านบุทม. The village is famed for its rattan basketry. The basketry is a major complement to the income the village derives from agriculture. A notable feature of the basketry is that the villages do not paint lacquer on the finished product, which may cause the growth of fungus, but soak their basketry with lemon, carambola, or kaffir lime to make it glossy.

Village of Chansoma Golden Brocade, Ban Tha Sawang. หมู่บ้านทอผ้าไหมยกทองจันทร์โสมา บ้านท่าสว่าง. The village is highly recognised for its 1,416-heddled, gold-brocaded silk, being offered to Her Majesty the Queen. The outstanding performance of the village is that it was selected by the government to weave cloth for the shirts of 21 APEC leaders and the shawls of their spouses.

Khwao Sinarin Handicrafts Village. หมู่บ้านหัตถกรรมเขวาสินรินทร์. The community is famed for local-style silk cloth called ‘Hol’ which is considered the best silk sloth. Ban Chok village is the first village to produce silver buttons called ‘Luk Pa Kueam’ which is used as decorations for lady.

Ban Phlai Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทบ้านไพล. Three brick stupas in the same line are surrounded with moat except on the east. Although Shiva Linga and some lintels are missing, the remaining artifacts are kept at Phimai National Museum indicate that the Khmer Ruins was built in 11th Century.

Ban Phluang Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทหินบ้านพลวง. A small sanctuary, but with excellent stone carving. Facing east, the single stupa stands on large rectangular laterite base. The main door is real, while other three are false doors. The stupa is built from laterite, sandstone, and brick.

Ta Muean Group of Khmer Ruins. กลุ่มปราสาทตาเมือน. The Khmer Ruins comprises three stupas in the same area.

Ta Muean Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทตาเมือน. The sanctuary in Bayon Art style is built from laterite, like other architectures of King Chaya Varaman VII found in Thailand. A few Buddha images in the attitude of meditation in the niche are found here.

Ta Muean Tot Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทตาเมือนโต๊ด. The sanctuary comprises principle stupa, made from laterite and sandstone, in square shape with front balcony. Like other Khmer hospital’s shrine, there is a pond outside the wall.

Ta Muean Thom Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทตาเมือนธม. The biggest sanctuary in the group comprises three stupas with the biggest at the mid and smaller ones by each side.

Chong Chom Check Point Border market. ตลาดการค้าชายแดนที่ด่านช่องจอม. The market has long been a significant border market between Thailand and Cambodia. The Check Point is an official border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand.

Huai Thap Than - Huay Samran Wildlife Sanctuary. เขตรักษาพันธ์สัตว์ป่าห้วยทับทัน-ห้วยสำราญ. This is a lush area of jungle situated on the Thailand and Cambodia border. The sanctuary has an education centre for the public. From October to December, wild flowers are in full bloom.

Prasat Si Khoraphum. ปราสาทศีขรภูมิ. This Khmer era prasat consists of five prang on a laterite base, all facing east. The main and larger prang is in the centre, with the four, smaller prang at each corner. All are built from sandstone and laterite. The lintel depicting Dances of Shiva is considered the most beautiful one among those found in Thailand and Cambodia. Three sides of the Prasat are surrounded by a moat.

Tapiang Tia Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทตะเปียงเตีย. The rectangular stupa was constructed from bricks, and has five lotus-shaped peaks. The stupa is in the Laotian style, which dates it to the late Ayutthaya period (Tapiang Tia translates as duck pond).

Phum Pon Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทภูมิโปน. The Khmer ruins comprises 4 stupas, 3 made from bricks and one made from laterite. The biggest and the northern stupas are the oldest Khmer ruins found in Thailand, around the 8th Century.

Yai Ngao Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทยายเหงา. This Khmer ruin consists of two stupas facing east, and standing in a north-south direction. The brick stupas stand on a laterite base and are decorated with carved brick gable, which depict the mythical creature, a ‘Makorn’. The Makorn is a legendary animal, a chimera composed of parts from a lion, an elephant, and a fish, and holding five-headed naga in its mouth.

Pa Son Nong Khu Forest Park. วนอุทยานป่าสนหนองคู. There is a clue showing that this area used to be very abundant forest in the past. There are Pinus mergusii grown all over the area, mixed with the Dry Deciduous Dipterocarp Forest. Presently, there is only small animal available such as squirrel, Malayan flying lemur, wild rabbit, snake, dove, coucal and myna. Hornbill has been found sometimes.

Chom Phra Khmer Ruins. ปราสาทจอมพระ. Like majority of shrine of Khmer’s hospital, it comprises square-shape stupa with balcony and a library at front. Significant antique found include a head of Bodhisattva Avalokitesavara statue and statue of Vajrasattva.

Surin Elephant Village. หมู่บ้านช้างจังหวัดสุรินทร์. Located in Ban Ta Klang. These villagers are descendants of the Suay or Kuay Ethnic group, who have a long history elephant husbandry. Unlike northern Thailand where elephant is kept for labour, Ta Klang people consider elephant as their friends who can share the same house.

Local Products

Surin is famed for its high quality silk. This quality is due to a unique weaving process, as well as outstanding patterns and dyes. Moreover, the province is famous for its food.



Elephant Festival

Surin Jasmine Rice and Silk Cloth Fair. งานวันข้าวหอมมะลิอินทรีย์และมหกรรมผ้าไหมสุรินทร์. Held every January, the Fair features contests of agricultural products, silk cloth, and presentations from governmental institutions.

Thai Elephant Day. งานวันช้างไทย. A light and sound show which describes the legends of Thai elephants. Held annually in the second week of November.

Ascending Phanom Sawai Mountain Festival. งานประเพณีขึ้นเขาพนมสวาย. This annual festival is a parade of traditional art and culture to Phanom Sawai mountain, in order to pay respect to Phra Yai, the intimate Buddha’s footprint, Luang Phu Dun, and Wat Phanom Silaram. This festival is held in March.

Si Khoraphum Khmer Ruins Celebration and Loi Krathong. งานฉลองปราสาทศีขรภูมิและงานประเพณีลอยกระทง. The annual celebration is held every third weekend of November at Si Khoraphum Khmer Ruins. The celebration features performance, lifestyle of ethnic people (Khmer, Lao, and Suay), local performances, souvenir market, beauty contest, Krathong contest and float.

Surin Elephant Round-up and Surin Red Cross Fair. งานช้างและกาชาดสุรินทร์. The annual fair is held every third week of November at Si Narong Stadium. Since ancient times, Surin is rich of elephant. Guay ethnic people has turned wild elephant into their vehicles and their talent in elephant controlling has made debut for Thailand. The Round-up features contest of elephant’s dining table, elephant welcome float, the world’s biggest dining event of the elephant, and performance such as elephant capture, tug of war between elephant and men, elephant football match, war elephant, and local performances such as Ruam An-re and Kantrum.

Eel Festival. เทศกาลงานปลาไหล. The fair is held at the field of Amphoe Chumphon Buri every third week of December, after the harvest when eel is big enough for the catch. Farmer normally can catch lots of eel at that time, and it turns yellow and not smells fishy.

Ordination parade on elephant’s back. งานประเพณีบวชนาคแห่ช้าง. The vibrant tradition is held mostly on the 13th-15th day of waxing moon of May (around mid of May) at Wat Chaeng Sawang, Ban Ta Klang, Amphoe Tha Tum. Khmer, Laotian, and Guay speople are all Buddhist. All families wish their sons to enter monkshood and study dhamma before wedding. Ordination of many monks at the same time and parade on elephant’s back in long distance means great merit for all families. As all participants always dress up beautifully with mat-mi silk, the tradition earns lots of interest and inherited for generations. The parade comprises big parade of more than 50 elephants crossing Moon River. The men entering monkshood will have their heads shaved, pay homage to Chao Pho Wang Thalu Shrine before starting the ordination.

Long Boat Racing Festival. งานประเพณีชิงถ้วยพระราชทาน. Organized in October every year. Four types of racing for the royal trophy and the contest of boat beauty parade will be organized on Maenam Mun in front of Wat Pho, Amphoe Tha Tum.

Notable people


  1. ^ Headly, Robert K.; Chhor, Kylin; Lim, Lam Kheng; Kheang, Lim Hak; Chun, Chen. 1977. Cambodian-English Dictionary. Bureau of Special Research in Modern Languages. The Catholic University of America Press. Washington, D.C. ISBN 0-8132-0509-3, Vol. II, pg. 1164
  2. ^ "Surin Province". Surin Province. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Surin Province". Thailandbuddy. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "(Surin) Key indicators of the population and household, population and housing census 1990 and 2000." Population and Housing Census 2000.(retrieved 14 July. 2009)

Further reading

External links