Provincial Surin, near the border with Cambodia, will be flooded with Thais and travellers alike for this celebration of all things elephant. The country shows its affection for the gargantuan animal with a sort of elephant Olympics, during which the elephants are enouraged to play football, race each other, and take on Thai soldiers at tug-of-war.

WHY: Thais hold elephants in great esteem – they apparently believe their country is shaped like an elephant’s head – so the round-up really is intended as a respectful celebration. It all ends with a play about elephantine life, featuring thousands of performers and hundreds of elephants.

DO IT BECAUSE: If you share the Thais’ affection for this majestic creature, you’ll love seeing the elephant parades and will lap up the piles of elephant trinkets on offer. Also look out for the elephant breakfast, when the streets are lined with food for them to scoff.