Chonburi Buffalo Races

In-between Pattaya and Bangkok is the city of Chonburi, the capital of the Chonburi province. Annually this city hosts the Chonburi Buffalo Races, one of the region’s most well known festivities. It feels like an activity straight from the American Southwest, yet this festival is actually very much a Thai tradition and dates back hundreds of years.

Major parts of the festival include the beauty pageant for "Miss Farm Maiden", costumed dancers, and a large parade that includes buffalos that tow fantastically decorated carts through the city. This leads to the main attraction—essentially a rodeo where riders hang on for dear life as buffalos race toward the finish line.

The riders of the most well-decorated and fastest buffalos are swamped with prizes at the end of the day. This competition requires a lot of guts, bravery, and talent as the rider must not only perfect the art of not being kicked off the steed, but also the ability to race the buffalo to the finish line in the shortest amount of time—all while avoiding injuries.

The buffalo at these races lead good lives that include diets of beer and eggs that are supposed to increase their virility on the raceway, and they are also tended to by farmhands who keep the animals cooled down with buckets of water. Between happy buffalos, and happy attendees, the races remain one of the most popular festivities for all ages.  


Buffalo racer

Buffalo racer

Parade cart

Falling off a bull

A decorated buffalo

The contestants