It’s that time of year again for one of the most well known festivities in the city of Chonburi – the Buffalo Races! The tradition dates back hundreds of years and usually takes place the day before the full moon in October. This year it takes place on October 7, 2014.
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Buffalo have always played an integral part in Thai culture and have been used for centuries to plough rice fields. The Chonburi Buffalo Races date back many years ago when farmers from the countryside would come to the bustling town of Chonburi to trade produce. One time, two farmers got in an argument over who had the fastest buffalo – and thus the first race began! Now, the meaning behind the festival is to pay homage to the buffalo, and to thank them for the hard work that they perform for the farmers throughout the year.
During the festival, the buffalo are treated like royalty. They get top notch meals that include beer and eggs — foods thought to improve their ability to run faster. The buffalo are also treated to personal attendees that take care to cool them down with buckets of water.
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For the main event, riders must hang on tight to their buffalo counterparts as they barrel down a course 100 meters long, right in front Chonburi City Hall! Prizes are awarded for fastest buffalo, best-decorated, and other special events that test the balance, agility and speed of the buffalo.
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Along with the races, the festival includes a beauty pageant for the most attractive buffalo, a humorous buffalo costume contest, rides for children, folk music performances, and delicious authentic Thai food.
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Are you ready to experience the Buffalo Races for yourself?
Here is how: To travel to Chonburi City, there are regular buses from Bangkok that will take around 2 hours. The bus fare from Bangkok is approximately 120 Baht. It is also possible to take a bus from Pattaya, which will take around 2 hours as well and will cost approximately 40 Baht. When you are planning your trip, make sure that you book your hotel in advance as this is a very popular festival and many people will be visiting the city at this time of the year.