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A rare white buffalo, a longtail festival star in Phang Nga

Longtail Festival Where Buffalo Butt Heads

Sunday, April 19, 2009
Festival Photo Album Above

WE discovered a delightful festival on the water in Phang Nga by chance last year, and this weekend about 5000 other people discovered it, too.

Racing longtail boats, buffalo head-butting, overhanging karsts and, not far away, a village built on stilts over water . . . this festival has plenty of local rural charm.

The racing and the head-butting was held over Saturday and Sunday at the ferry departure point for trips to the pretty village of Panyee in Phang Nga Bay.

This appealing stretch of coast lies close to an unusual resort that is run by the local council, about 80 minutes' drive from Phuket City.

About 20 longtails, specially decorated and paddled by as many as 20 people per team, took part in races watched and cheered from the banks by the large crowd.

Remarkably, the locals, most of them from Muslim fishing villages similar to Panyee, have developed this festival themselves.

This year it expanded dramatically because, for the first time in 10 years, the longtail boat racing returned.

Apparently there was a drowning a decade ago that led to the local races being suspended, until the weekend.

With a trailing safety boat, the longtails raced each other, a bit like the dragonboats of Hong Kong, and just as much fun to watch.

Youngsters also turned out in smaller longtails to race, and there were a series of races involving smaller, local speedboats.

If tuk-tuks could take to the water, this is what they would look like.

A white buffalo attracted a lot of attention, and we were told it was quite rare, one of only five in Phang Nga.

On Sunday, a female buffalo was strategically placed so that males butted heads to win her favor. Now that's something we've never seen on Phuket.

A buffalo owner assured us that the buffalo only take a short time to recover, and the event is perfectly natural.

Mixed with plenty of local food, Thai boxing (muay thai) and other local performances, the longtail racing festival should capture plenty of attention again next year.

And the stilt island of Panyee is a must-see, any day.

Phang Nga Tourist Sights


Stilt Villagers Tame The Beast of Panyee
A gem among Andaman destinations, cameras loved this fabled water village on stilts. But up close and personal, Panyee was on the nose.
Stilt Villagers Tame The Beast of Panyee

James Bond Island To Topple: Ban on Tour Boats
To save James Bond Island, boats have now been banned from venturing close. Yet sadly, the collapse of a nearby stack shows that the end for the iconic outcrop is just a matter of time.
James Bond Island To Topple: Ban on Tour Boats

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Where exactly was this? At the big jetty signposted "Phang Nga National Park", a few km before Phang Nga town?

Editor: At the departure point for the ferries to Panyee village, near the local council's resort. Well before Phang Nga town.

Posted by Jamie Monk on May 6, 2009 16:40


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