Towards the end of the Buddhist Lent, the farmers of Chonburi came together to race their buffaloes. A sign at the event proudly announced that this was the 135th year of the races. It is possible that in the beginning they were doing it just for fun. But, these days it is deadly serious. In fact, some of these buffaloes train just for this yearly event. This year the buffalo races took part on Friday 6th October. Each year the day will vary but it is always the day before the end of the Rains Retreat. On the same day is the Rub Bua festival in Bang Phli. You may remember me telling you that I attended this festival first in the morning and then drove straight down to Chonburi after it had finished. It only took me less than an hour to drive there so it is quite possible for people to do both events in one day. Worth considering next year if you are in this area.
Unlike Bang Phli, there were more foreigners at this annual event that is becoming more and more famous. After all, it is not every day you see jockeys on the back of buffaloes. There was also a large group of professional photographers. It was very hot this year. The umbrellas you can see in this picture were not protecting the spectators from the rain but rather from the hot sun. At the event, you can either stand on either side or wait at the far end for the buffaloes to come charging towards you as in these two pictures. Obviously if you choose the latter then you need to be quick on your feet otherwise you might find yourself flat on your back with hoof prints on your chest. See how close I got in these pictures.
It was actually quite an enjoyable hour or so I spent watching the various races. These buffaloes are not like horses. They don’t exactly behave. There are many false starts. Quite often you will see only one buffalo thundering down the track. (See thaiphotoblogs.com for more pictures.) At the same time as the buffalo races, there is also a fair with other things to see and do. You will see a beauty contest not only for women but also for buffaloes! Then there are sporting events like muay thai and takraw. There was also a climbing a greasy pole competition that I told you about before. I will share with you some of these pictures another day.