If you haven't come with your own guide, the best way to visit the sporadically scattered sites around Surin is to book a tour with friendly Mr. Pirom at the Pirom Guest House (tel. 04451-5140). Mr. Pirom has been in the business for years and guiding is just an extension of his passion for the ancient history and culture of this rural region. The most popular tours are to the many secluded Khmer temples in the area, and he combines such visits with stops at elephant-training villages, Khmer cultural sites, handicraft villages, and even trips to the weekend market at the Cambodian border. Expect to pay from 1,000B per person.

The elephant roundup that takes place on the third weekend of November each year is one of Thailand's best-known festivals, so it attracts many Thais as well as foreign visitors. As a result, accommodation must be booked well in advance. Over the course of the weekend, the elephants parade in battle gear, play games of football, and test their strength with a tug of war. Don't miss the morning parade when locals lay out a spread for the pachyderms as they stroll through town. Tickets cost from 500B to 800B and can be reserved through the Tourist Authority of Thailand (www.tourismthailand.org).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.