Date 16 - 22 Oct 2010
You could be forgiven for thinking that a domesticated buffalo is not built for sprinting, but in Chonburi town, the gateway to resorts along the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, farmers have managed to tweak a turn of speed from these working animals that is nothing short of amazing.
The annual Buffalo Race, held around the 11th lunar month -normally in October, is a hotly contested series of sprints across on an open space in front of the town’s municipal offices. Clouds of dust rise as these hefty animals pound down the short course at an alarming speed, reminiscent of a stampede. The crowd roars in support of the favorites and the atmosphere is as enthralling as watching thoroughbred race horses; admittedly, a bit slower than race horses, the buffaloes are no slouches when it comes to making a short dash for glory.
Both town residents and tourists turn out for the amazing Buffalo racing that have even been featured in the past on CNN and the BBC as a must-see event.
The Buffalo racing is taken very seriously by the owners of the buffaloes. Prizes for the first nose past the finish line guarantee owners go to considerable lengths to ensure their buffaloes are in tip-top condition.
Although this day of fun and competition would succeed with just the buffaloes as the celebrities, there are other activities to make it a worthwhile outing for families.
A fair with food stalls and handicrafts appeals to visitors who love authentic Thai food, snacks and sweets. Then there are the rides for children, concerts of folk music and, of course, a beauty contest where the prize is the honor of being declared Miss Buffalo.
Not exactly the most adhering of titles for an aspiring beauty queen, but it does not seem to deter contestants from seeking the limelight of the catwalk.
The Chonburi Buffalo Race is a festival that provides amazing photo opportunities to capture an unusual adaptation of the 100-metre dash. Well worth seeing, is always the highlight of those who make the effort to travel to Chonburi.