Surin

Surin (Thai: สุรินทร์, pronounced [sù.rīn]; Northern Khmer: ซเร็น, pronounced [sren]; Kuy: เหมองสุลิน) is one of Thailand's seventy-six provinces (changwat) lies in lower northeastern Thailand also called Isan. Neighboring provinces are (from west clockwise) Buriram, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, and Sisaket. To the south it borders Oddar Meancheay of Cambodia. Surin covers a total area of 8,124 km2 (3,137 sq mi) from the Mun River in the north to the Dangrek Mountains in the south. The capital, Surin city, in the western central region province is 434 km from Bangkok.[5]

 

The area of present-day Surin has long history of human settlement which dates back to prehistoric times. Historically the region has been ruled by various powerful kingdoms including the Angkorian Khmer Empire, the Lao kingdom Lan Xang, and the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya. Reflecting this history as part the greater geo-cultural area of Thailand known as Isan, Surin is ethnically diverse. The primary language is the Isan dialect of Lao. Speakers of Central Thai account for a small minority while nearly 50% of the population are ethnic Khmer. The remainder are speakers of various Lao languages and small tribal groups such as the Kuy and Nyah Kur.

 

The northeast provinces have traditionally been isolated, both physically and culturally, from the rest of Thailand and Surin is no exception. The vast majority of the province is rural and relatively poor. There is little industrial development with rice farming being the primary industry. Rice farmers supplement their income by cutting sugar cane, as construction laborers, or working in the local silk weaving trade.[6] Elephant capture and training is also an important industry in Surin. Approximately 25 percent of all the elephants in the kingdom are raised in Surin, predominantly by the ethnic Kuy people.[7]

 

Tourism is also important to the Surin economy. Elephants and scenery are increasingly seen as potentially lucrative by the provincial government which has attempted to make Surin a popular destination for international ecotourism.[7] Domestically, Surin has a reputation for its fine silk and silver beaded ornaments produced in tourist-focused villages such as Khwao Sinaring Handicraft Village. Local traders also conduct cross-border commerce with Cambodians through a border crossing at Chong Chom, 70 km south of Surin city.[8]

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