Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ride 'em buffalo girls...............

More riding lessons in lovely Thailand, and not on an elephant this time!  
Can you believe the crazy things best friend Paula gets me up to when we're traveling together!

Let me introduce you to Mr. TONG, a 5 year old (a teen in buffalo years) albino water buffalo. According to his 'valet' he has strong leadership skills and is always eager to learn new things.........hopefully transporting silly tourists is on his favorites list!

"Giddy up" Mr. Tong...............it was awesome, and much closer to the ground than way up on my sweet but huge elephant Mokasoup, view here and here.

This view, from our suite, is of the spectacular rice paddies of The Four Seasons Resort in Chiang Mai, where these water buffaloes work. Staggered planting allows visitors to see rice in all its growth phases. The rice is also planted further apart to enable appreciation of the stunning sunsets reflected in the watery fields.

The harvested rice is donated to local Hill Tribe villagers through the assistance of Prince Bhisadej Rajani. This Royal Project, initiated by the King of Thailand, is to motivate farmers to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers, or produce handicrafts, rather than continue in the now diminishing opium trade which has been largely eradicated since the inception of this project.

This is the usual coloring for a water buffalo - he is named Mr. Thae and is the baby of the group. Although young, we learned the lady buffaloes pay a lot of attention to him because of his good looks. Just something special about those younger guys!

Paula on Mr. Tong............she actually rode him on our very first morning at The Four Seasons. I admit I was a bit nervous about hopping on. Can you blame me, it was my first close encounter with these big 'ole guys.  Several days later, after conquering the heights of elephant riding, I was brave enough to try just about anything!

A buffalo talisman purchased at the Buddhist temple Wat Doi Suthep on the side of a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai. This one I brought back for a special boy I know - he loves zebras but I think he may just like water buffaloes too!

Daily Job Description for The Four Seasons Water Buffaloes -

  •   8:00 am        Start work
  •   8:30 am        First bath by the buffalo butler
  •   9:00 am        Tour around the Resort to greet/socialize with guests
  • 11:00 am        Nibble grass near the rice barn
  • 12:00 pm        Lunch (2 baskets of delicious grass)
  •   1:00 pm        Work in the rice paddies
  •   3:00 pm        Second bath by the buffalo butler
  •   4:30 pm        Second tour around the Resort
  •   5:00 pm        Finish work and go home to rest/relax
Sounds like a great life to me!


  1. The water buffalos are quite handsome, I think. I've never really seen a photo of one up close. Am I crazy or is there a sweetness in their eyes?


  2. I have never heard of water buffalo rides before. Their horns are beautiful aren't they? Sounds like a relaxed lifestyle to me.

  3. Buffalo butler! Love it!
    Staggeringly good photo's once again, I love travelling with you.

  4. What a fabulous picture of you on that creature!!
    A Christmas card if ever I saw one!!

  5. You have could joined up with Calamity Jane and rode with her in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Shows if you lived during that era. You and Paula - two showgirl performers for certain.

    Your DH,


  6. Holy Cow! You have done some amazing things!!

  7. You published 11 posts since Jan 11 and I read them all – I admired all your pictures – some are extraordinary. I envy you to have had a digital camera in Chiang Mai – when we were there I only had a film camera.
    It certainly was once in a lifetime event to be on Macquarie Island – your photos convey the beauty of it so well – and so many cute penguins! You really had great weather. I can’t believe that the penguins would come so close to you – how charming to have them near like that. What an experience – I can certainly understand your emotion looking at all the wildlife.
    I did ride on camels and elephants but not buffaloes – I wouldn’t think they run too fast.

  8. I kept thinking we didn't see rice fields, but we did when we toured a reproduction Hill Tribe Village. We also shopped at that same place and I bought jade bracelets right there.

  9. Mary, you appear to be a natural. You and Paula make quite the team.

  10. Mary, I have enjoyed browsing through your travel posts this morning. Gorgeous images and wonderful narrative.

  11. So lush and the colors so rich there. The photos of you two atop these behemoths are priceless!


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