Pictures from the World Famous Elephant Round-up in Surin, Thailand
(2004 to 2007)

(Click for larger image)

The largest of the elephants at the 2004 round up makes his way to the breakfast tables. He is said to be 32 years old (2004)

This elephant appeared in a promotional video for "Beer Chang" brewed by Thai Beverage Public Company Limited.

The weekend proper starts with the parade of the elephants through the centre of the town on the Friday morning. The elephants and floats congregate by the railway station and thereafter parade down Tanasan Road to what is locally called the "Elephant Roundabout" (approximately 2 km). It is estimated that in 2005, almost 300 elephants were present for the parade.

The elephant procession through the Surin streets

Local dancing school children intermingle with the elephants

The elephant procession through the Surin streets

The Parade
The mahoots dress them in some embarrassing clothes
The Parade

Pretty Girls in Traditional Dress

School children have a few hours off
to watch the parade

Adjoining the Elephant Roundabout, the local population has already set up trestle tables of food for the elephant breakfast. After a few words of welcome from the local dignitaries, the elephants are allowed to eat their fill of fruits and vegetables.

A schoolgirl looks in awe at the mighty mammal

The elephants and mahoots then make their way to the "Elephant Stadium" for
the rehearsal of the weekend's highlight, the "Elephant Roundup".

The official show is on the Saturday and repeated on the Sunday.
Here the elephants and mahoots show their skills and strengths to both locals and tourists alike.
There is a football match, a demonstration of painting skills and the famous Tug o' War
where the bull elephant is pitted against around 60 soldiers of the Royal Thai Army.
The show culminates in a re-enactment of the historic battles between the Thai, Laos and Khmer armies.

In spite of their great bulk the elephant is actually an exceptionally agile animal
and year after year they show their qualities of agility at the festival.
Nonetheless despite strength and agility they also show an endearing gentleness
which goes a long way in explaining the deep affection that the Thai people hold for them.

Nowhere else in the world is it possible to see so many elephants in one location.


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