Surin Project

The remote village of Baan Ta Klang is located 52km north of Surin city and is one of Thailand's largest elephant centres. It consists of a large elephant training area, a museum and the "Surin Elephants Study Centre". This is the typical Thai elephant camp where visitors can feed, bathe and ride the elephants. They even have regular circus shows with the elephants. It is ethically questionable whether a visit this centre is the right thing to do; if you are concerned about the treatment of elephants (even riding elephants is now considered cruel), then you may wish to volunteer at the Surin Project. The project is aimed at improving the living conditions of captive Asian elephants. They try to provide economic sustainability for their owners through responsible volunteer tourism. The primary focus is to get the elephants in more natural surroundings, where volunteers can walk alongside them and observe these magnificent creatures living and acting as they should. Volunteers work alongside the ethnic "Kui / Suai" community, whose ancient culture and language has been shaped by their age-old relationship with elephants. In bygone ages, the Kui were employed by Ayutthaya kings to capture and tame wild elephants. The project offers the mahouts an alternative form of employment - as opposed to elephant riding and elephant shows which are still the primary forms of income for many mahouts, who also own the elephants. Volunteers will go out on daily walks and observe the Surin Project elephants interacting with each other in a more natural setting. Although it’s worth a warning, that you will also see how elephants not in the program are typically treated. This volunteer programme operates in 7-day blocks; you can’t just visit for the day. They also have a programme in Chang Mai where you can visit for the day. Entry: 50B entry to the village. Surin Project is 13,000B per week including food and accommodation. See the website link for more details. Open: Daylight hours. Tel: +66 819675015; +66 44512925 Address: Moo 9 & 13, Baan Ta Klang, T. Krapho, Surin. Website: Getting Here: Baan Ta Klang is 58 kilometres north of Surin on Route 214 (the road to Roi Et). Songthaews depart regularly from the bus station at around 60B per person. By motorbike, head north on Route 214 and take a left, following clearly marked blue signs the whole way. Once in Baan Ta Klang, take a left right after Ta Klang school and you'll see the elephants straight ahead.

Map of North East Thailand

North East Thailand-Map