Member Richard Smith arranged the trip which had a total of 30 participants in the group. They departed early on November 18 by chartered tour bus; breaking up the trip with a stop at Phanom Rung Stone Castle in Buriram Province. This is one of the most beautiful Stone Castles in Thailand. It is a Khmer temple complex set on the rim of an extinct volcano at 1,320 feet above sea level.
There is always elephants and pageantry at the annual Surin Elephant Round Up.
It was built in the 10th to 13th centuries in the Lopburi style. The PCEC members spent some time touring the complex that Thailand’s Department of Fine Arts spent 17 years restoring to its original state. Then it was on to Buriram to check into their hotel, have dinner, and spend some free time walking around and socializing.
One of the many shows on offer was a tug of war between and elephant and humans. The elephant won, of course.
It was up early the next morning for the trip to Surin to see the Elephant Round Up show on November 19. The PCEC members thoroughly enjoyed the display and pageantry and thought the Round-Up was spectacular with about 250 to 300 elephants and many townspeople participating in the show.
They saw the major battle between the Burmese and the Thais, with all the beautifully decorated people and elephants. The show was punctuated by explosions of shells from the artillery, and included mock battles on the field between ground soldiers and with the elephants.
About 300 elephants parade before the audience at the end of the Surin Elephant Round Up.
The final part of the show was to bring all the elephants, nearly 300 of them on the field so all the audience could see was a sea of the gray backs of these huge animals.
After the show, there was an opportunity to walk around and do some souvenir shopping as well as a chance to feed some of the elephants that were strolling around before heading off to the Queen Sirikit Silk Center in Surin. Here the PCEC group had the opportunity to see silkworm breeding and silk cloth making. In fact, the group dallied a bit longer than planned and missed their planned midnight arrival back in Pattaya by a couple of hours.
PCEC members pose for a group picture during their visit to the Khmer Phanom Rung Castle complex on the way to Surin.
PCEC Member Judith Edmonds admiring the view from a Phanom Rung Castle doorway.
Several PCEC members strolling around after the show take the opportunity to see a baby elephant up close.
PCEC members take the opportunity to do a little shopping after the show.
PCEC Members Gary Hacker, Richard and Janet Smith meet with some of the local Surin participants in the Elephant Round Up.
PCEC Member Stuart Saunders offers some food to one of the elephants after the show.