World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 0.7 (121 votes)

The Kui Elephant Handlers

Listed under Traditional Cultures in Cambodia.

  • Photo of The Kui Elephant Handlers
  • Photo of The Kui Elephant Handlers
  • Photo of The Kui Elephant Handlers
Photo of The Kui Elephant Handlers
Photo by flickr user babasteve
Pin It

The Kui, also known as the Kuy, Kuay, Kaa, Suay or Suei depending on the region in which they live, are Mon-Khmer natives living in parts of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. With no written form of the language the Kuy have a verbal tradition of preserving their culture and traditions, passing down skills and beliefs to their youngers. They are reputed to have an intimate knowledge of local plants, which is used for healing and medicinal purposes .

The Kui mostly practiced animism, or the belief that all things are inhabited by a soul, and although some have now converted to strict Buddhism or Christianity, many have combined animism and Buddhism to create a unique set of beliefs- many traditional Kui villages will have both a 'Wat' (or Buddhist temple) as well as a spirit shrine.

The Kui are rice-farming people also known for their iron-working and blacksmithing skills. Many Kuy women raise silkworms and weave fabric. They also have a reputation as great elephant trainers and handlers (and in the past, hunters) whom they use to clear land and move timber. The Kui are active in the Surin Elephant Round-up, an event held every November which includes a man vs. elephant tug-of-war, football match, and elephant procession.

Written by  Amber Due.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • The San of the Kalahari

    Described as the 'Louvre of the Desert', the magical Tsolido Hills in Botswana’s Kalahari are home to one of the largest concen…

  • The Tribal People of Papua New Guinea

    The tribes of Papua New Guinea are reputed to be ferocious cannibals but, during a three month long caving expedition I was tre…

  • Tuareg People of the Sahara

    These nomadic people are the Sahara’s main inhabitants and have been travelling the desert in their camel caravans for over two…

Nearby Experiences

  • Amansara

    Another luxury hotel with a chequered history in the Cambodian Kingdom. This one, built by French architect Laurent Mondet and …

  • Neak Pean

    This circular island was built for the Buddhist temple that sits proud in its centre. It’s in Preah Khan Baray – one of the ma…

  • Champasak

    As he former royal seat of Laos, Champasak is a small city laden charm and allure. Everything in town is easily accessible via…

Related links

Contribute to this page