One way to experience the traditional lifestyle of Thai farmers is at the Buffalo Village in Suphanburi. In Thai it is called “baan kwai”. Thai farmers, and their trusty companions, the buffalo, are considered the backbone of the country. Although buffaloes have been the butt of many jokes in classrooms across the country (to be called “buffalo” is the same as being called “stupid”) the buffaloes have in fact been hardworking animals that all farmers can rely on. The use of buffaloes was starting to die out on farms as farmers turned to other means of ploughing such as using tractors. However, when fuel prices started to rise then some farmers decided to go back to the trusty buffalo.
Thais have made use of buffaloes since before the time of the Kingdom of Sukhothai. They were not only used in farming as was seen during the famous siege of Bangrachan just before the fall of Ayutthaya. Thai farmers are as fond of their buffaloes as most people are of their dogs or cats. In the past it was unthinkable to slaughter buffalo for meat. Farmers would look after the animal until it died. Only then would they use the meat as food. They would also keep the horns of the buffalo as a kind of memento. After the farming season finishes, there would be ceremonies to bless the buffalo. Farmers would sing its praise and treat it with a big feast and fresh water. Some farmers even referred to the buffaloes as their children, which shows how much respect they had for them.
It is not always easy or convenient to go and learn about the role of buffaloes on a farm so that is why they created the Buffalo Village in Suphanburi Province. So instead of visiting a farm, you can now learn about traditional farming at this theme village. They aim not only to raise awareness of the important role the buffaloes have played but also to help conserve the dwindling breeding stock. The main attraction here are the daily buffalo shows which last about 30 minutes. To be honest, as I grew up on a farm, I didn’t find the show that interesting but the audience that day did enjoy it. Apparently not many independent foreign tourists come this way which probably explains why the show was only in Thai. However, the management told me that they get lot of tour buses passing through with foreigners and they put on special shows for them including demonstrations of rice planting. Other highlights of the Buffalo Village is the group of traditional Thai style houses.
The shows are at 11 a.m and 3 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m., 2.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the weekend. Although the show was only in Thai language, they have decided, for some reason, to charge foreign tourists a higher price. Full price, including entrance, show and buffalo cart ride is 300 baht for foreigners and 60 baht for Thais. Foreign children are 210 baht and Thai children only 10 baht. I personally found the entrance fee to be too high and I don’t believe it would be good vlaue for money. Luckily I didn’t have to pay! I would like to thank the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for inviting me on this trip and being such kind hosts. Click here to see the Buffalo Village marked on google maps. More information about Suphanburi Province at our www.ThailandGuidebook.com website.
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