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Buffalo races at Chonburi

posted Sep 29, 2011, 3:30 AM by Dong Travel   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 3:32 AM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
Chonburi province will host its annual buffalo races during 7 to 11 October in front of the district office in the town centre.

Buffalo racing is a tradition in Chonburi province going back 140 years and attracts big crowds, a mix of Thais and foreign tourist.

The 140th festival promises a fun fair, contests, hundreds of food stalls and even farm produce displays on the sidelines of the races.

The main buffalo races are held, 11 October, the last day of this five-day festival. There are four categories based on weight — super tiny, tiny, small and heavy weight.

Races draw a massive crowd of spectators who watch buffalo and their riders race to the line sprinting at a remarkable speed and kicking up a huge cloud of dust over the 100-metre course.

Up to eight buffaloes can race at one time, but that depends on how many animals are entered in the various categories. Knock-out races eventually declare the ultimate gold medal winner.

International news channels such as CNN and BBC have featured the races in the past giving the event recognition as one of the world’s whacky sporting occasions.

Visitors should be prepared for the heat, which can be oppressive as the races get underway. Carry an umbrella and drink plenty of chilled water.

According to the city’s tourism officials the five-day event should generate tourism revenue of at least Bt20 million.

The annual festival is always scheduled one day before the end of the Buddhist lent in the 14th of lunar month. The original purpose was to close the rice growing season with a competition to decide the fastest buffalo after months of working in the paddy fields.

The upcoming five-day festival will highlight local culture, sports and traditional Thai dance performances, Muay Thai boxing and demonstrations in local kite assembly and production. There are also farm related booths and demonstrations on the sidelines of the fair and an OTOP fair and music concert. If you are a buffalo fan there are also special events such as a buffalo health competition, perfect breeder competition or a buffalo fancy dress contest.

Source: TTRW