Surin Elephant Round-up Thai Festival

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 event consists of a series of shows displaying the strength and skill of the animals, such as football games and tugs of war.

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.

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Loei - Thailand

Loei Thailand

Loei (Thai: เลย) is one of the most sparsely populated provinces (changwat) of Thailand, located in the North-East of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from east clockwise) Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Nongbua Lamphu, Khon Kaen, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok. In the north it borders Xaignabouli and Vientiane Province of Laos.
Loei is a city surrounded by undulating mountain ranges whose summits are covered by foggy lines, abundant with various kinds of flora. The well-known ones are Phu Kradueng, Phu Luang and Phu Ruea.

Loei is an ecotourism city surrounded by undulating mountain ranges whose summits are covered by foggy lines, abundant with various kinds of flora. The well-known ones are Phu Kradueng, Phu Luang and Phu Ruea. Its temperature is comfortably cool, with beautiful geographical surroundings, as well as unique cultures and traditions.
Loei is 520 kilometres from Bangkok, covering an area of 11,424 square kilometres. It is a boundary province located in the upper northeastern part of Thailand, on the bank of the Mekong River along the Phetchabun mountain range.
In the past, it was a small community in a prosperous empire during the same period as the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Later, the Lan Chang Empire became weaker, therefore, the community moved to be with Ayutthaya. During the reign of King Rama V of the Rattanakosin period, the community was upgraded to be Loei province.

Bun Luang Festival and Phi Ta Khon (งานประเพณีบุญหลวง และการละเล่นผีตาโขน) is held annually in Amphoe Dan Sai on Saturday to Sunday after the full moon day of the 6th lunar month, and after paying respect to Phrathat Si Song Rak. Phi Ta Khon is a local activity of Amphoe Dan Sai and Amphoe Na Haeo, relating to the belief and faith in Buddhism and the spirit of ancestors. Phi Ta Khon parades are organised in the Bun Luang Festival, an annual local merit making ceremony. Phi Ta Khon is usually participated especially by males both boys and men. The festival is organised in 2 days. On the first day, the Phra Upakhut procession proceeds from the Man River to Wat Phon Chai and on the next day, it will enter the town, while the Phi Ta Khon participants will throw their costumes and accessories away into the Man River. After that, a series of all 13 chapters of the Great Birth Sermon will be given during the event.

Phitakon (ผีตาโขน) 
 The best worst-publicized festival in Thailand. Every year in Dan Sai (ด่านซ้าย) the Phi Ta Kon festival is held. Revelers make traditional masks, which they wear in a parade down the main street of Dan Sai. Traditionally, the masks were made to frighten evil spirits away, the wearer dons the mask and drags bells behind them with the intention of clearing the surrounding area of evil spirits (generally while drinking large amounts of home brewed spirits of a different kind). Afterward, the parade begins and thousands of people head through the streets for what becomes a chaotic fertility festival, many participants in the parade carry phallic water guns and comically over-sized wooden penises with them. Dan Sai is about 2 hours west of the main city of Loei. It can be reached by bus.


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Prachuap Khiri Khan

Prachuap Khiri Khan (ประจวบคีรีขันธ) is a coastal town in Western Thailand. It could culturally be considered a part of the Central Plains, but is geographically connected to Southern Thailand as it is a part of the Malay Peninsula. It possesses various interesting tourism attractions such as beaches, islands, forests and mountains.
Prachuap Khiri Khan Province covers an area of 6,367.620 square kilometres. It is a long and narrow coast stretching to the South. The narrowest part is from the border of Thailand and Burma on the West to the eastern sea coast at the Singkhon Pass, Khlong Wan sub-district, Mueang district, being a distance of approximately 12 kilometres. Its distance from the north to the south is approximately 212 kilometres.

The town itself is small enough to get around on foot. For access to the beaches you can easily catch a tuktuk.
Rickshaws (Sam Lor) are for relative short distances. Tourists can take short rides within the town costing between 20 and 30 baht. Longer rides may cost as much as 50 baht.
Tuk-Tuks (three-wheeled motorized rickshaws) are also popular for short and quick journeys. Fares must be bargained in advance.
Songthaews (public passenger pick-up vehicles) pick up as many passengers as they can and drop them off as the drivers reach their destinations. They are a very reasonable way of getting around.
Motorbikes can be hired but it is advised to be extremely careful when hiring a motorbike to only use a reputable agency.
Cars can be rented from trust-worthy companies such as AVIS, Budget and Hertz. For those traveling only short distances, they can rent bicycles downtown.
Motorbike Taxis are the most popular form of public transportation in town and the prices are low (some bargaining is advised before getting on). Trips cost about 10-40 baht depending on the distance. Due to safety however, make sure the driver has a spare helmet of good quality.
Boats can be hired at the pier for travel to nearby islands.

Wat Thammikaram - excellent views of the bay and city, with wild monkeys crawling all over the place.

Ao Manao beach

Yuttichai Hotel, clean, friendly family-style hotel on Kong Kiat Road, which is the street leading from the train station in the direction towards the ocean. Double rooms from 160B. Laundry and scooter rental services are also available from the hotel.
Suksant hotel, looks to have been remodeled recently but the plumbing is in a horrible state when it comes to the higher levels, to the point where the toilet would simply not flush.
Maggie's Guest House. Maggie's is a lovely traditional Thai house, set in a large shady garden. The house is on Soi Tamphamook. The Soi is situated between the Suksant and Had Tong Hotels and the house is about 100 metres from the sea. Rooms start from 150 baht. Laundry service, scooter and bicycle hire. Day trips arranged to the various national parks or where ever you want to go. Jungle treks and mountain bike tours can also be arranged through the guesthouse. Check the house out on facebook (maggies guest house Prachuap) 
.Tel +66-32-604216 OR +66-802251340

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Rayong and Koh Samet

Koh Samet
Just 200 kilometers from Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand, the T-shaped island of Ko Samet is famed for its white sandy beaches, exotic coral and crystal clear waters. Ko Samet has developed steadily over the past decade or so, but it hasn't been the victim of over zealous construction which has hit the likes of Ko Samui (or even Ko Chang). The island is typified for its splendid beaches and white silky sand, surrounded by tropical coral reefs and crystal clear sea. Tourists can also enjoy a plethora of delicious cuisine and fine nightlife.
It's a popular tourist destination for Thais and foreigners alike. As Ko Samet is so near Bangkok, the island is ideal for those in the capital wanting to chill-out with their families for a couple of days, without having to go through all that rigmarole of having to travel down south. It's only a 2.5 hour ride to Ban Phe, where one can take a 20-minutes ferry to the island.
It is believed that once upon a time, Ko Samet was the home of pirates and that until this very day there is still lost treasures buried somewhere on the island. Thailand's legendary poet Sunthorn Phu was the first one to put this island on the map when he set his classical epic there, Phra Aphai Manee "The Story of Princes, Saga, Mermaids and Giants".
Even though Bangkokians had known about the beauty of Ko Samet for decades before, the Thai government put this island off limits and restricted overnight stay there until 1981. In that year, on 1st October, the Forestry Department of Thailand declared Ko Samet and its surroundings to be a national park.

Catch the sunset from dramatic cliffside locations along the south-west coastline.
A fireshow at the renowned Ploy Thalee Restaurant/Bar on Saikaew Beach. They are held twice a night around 8.30PM and 10.30PM.
Most beaches are on the eastern side of the island. The beaches hide in small bays and stretch some 200 metres. From the north, there are Hat Sai Kaeo, Hat Hin Khrong, Hat Khlong Phai, Ao Phutsa, Ao Thapthim, Ao Naun, Ao Cho, Ao Thian, Ao Wai, Ao Kio Na Yok and Ao Karang. The only beach on the western side is Ao Phrao. One of the famous beaches is Ao Wong Duean in the middle of the eastern side. This beach stretches in the shape of an almost complete circle. Both Ao Wong Duean and Hat Sai Kaeo have very fine white sand.

Rayong (ระยอง) is a city on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand.
On the east coast of Thailand, 179 kilometres from Bangkok, modest beaches dotted around Rayong province are tranquil paradises for sea lovers who wish for hideaway places near to the capital. Months of monsoon allow lush forest as well as fruit orchards to cool down from the heat of the day, and give produce during May of each year, so fruit lovers always travel here for various tasty fresh tropical fruits, particularly durian, rambutan and mangosteen. After the end of the monsoon season in late October, the crystal clear water of Rayong along its hundred kilometre-long coast embraces to welcome all visitors.
Traditional Thai massage at Wat Don. Good value authentic Thai massage by fully trained and qualified masseurs. Body massage costs about 150 baht for around 1.5 hours.
Can eat seafood at Laem Charoen Restaurant at a coast in Rayong downtown.

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