Chonburi is an eastern province of Thailand and mostly known for its Buffalo Racing festival. The festival is more than just a festival and has become one of Chonburi’s traditions for more than 100 years. The festival often takes place at the end of rain retreat or end of Buddhist Lent. After the rains stop, the farmers from all over Chonburi gather at the local temples to sell their cultivated rice to the people of Chonburi. They usually brought their Buffalos too, so to spend some fun times they’ll often do races and enjoy their spare time like this which later on became a tradition in Chonburi. The Races are now a part of the tradition and have taken the shape of a two-week festival. This year the festival will take place at 23rd of the October, though it varies from year to year.
These annual racing festivals is a serious matter to many farmers, they not only take extra care of the diet of the racing buffalos, but the buffalos also have to go through training, so they are ready to participate in the race. The Race is 100 meters long and jockeys sit on buffalo’s bare back holding a rein and a whip. The race tests the coordination of the rider and the buffalo as well as it is a measure of rider’s eligibility and buffalo’s speed. The races are of many kinds bringing variation to the festival. The Buffalo Racing is also a source of joy for the speculators. Gambling on the buffalo is part of the fun and joy people drive from the Buffalo Racing Festival.
No festival is complete without food to fill the hungry festival goers. As all the other festivals in Thailand food is the basic component of the buffalo racing festival as well. You will find various food stalls with different delicious food items at every corner along with amusing and fun rides set up for the children. Other than that, there also many other exciting activities that take place during the races like “Miss Buffalo”, I know what you’re thinking the title is a bit awkward but not for the local ladies who try their best to win this prestigious honor for themselves. There are also beauty contests for the buffalos who are not fit enough for the races.
The Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year which includes the people from all over Thailand plus some overseas visitors. The festival brings millions of baht to Chonburi each year according to local officials.
The festival takes place near the main Chonburi city close to the city hall, there are Mo Chit (Northern Bus Terminal) and Ekamai (Eastern Bus Terminal) to reach there from Bangkok. It will take you max. 2 hours to reach your destination with a fare of min. 120 baht. From Pattaya, there are several buses that can take you to Chonburi that run all day long, the journey takes approx. 1 to 2 hours with 40 baht as bus fare. Yellow Bus runs from Pattaya Nua (Pattaya Northern Bus Station) while all the other ordinary bus services can be hailed near Sukhumvit Road.