If you’re interested in the native culture here on Koh Samui, consider a night at the buffalo fights. During your travels around the island, you might have even seen one or two of the hefty competitors peacefully grazing in a grassy field or being walked along the roadside by their owners.
Buffalo fighting events are held on a rotating basis at one of the six arenas around Koh Samui, which can be recognized by the local crowds that gather on fight nights. Walls of bamboo and coconut palm branches surround these venues to obstruct the view of non-paying spectators.
Not to be confused with Spanish bullfights, these contests of strength and will pit one buffalo against another; no humans are involved. The two buffalo lock horns, and the head-to-head battle begins. The fight ends when one buffalo turns away from his opponent.
Perhaps a buffalo sized headache results, but the animals are never killed; in fact, they are rarely injured.
Some might argue that buffalo fights aren’t much to see, just lots of head butting and shoving. It’s the festive atmosphere at these events that’s the real attraction: The cheering, shouting, and most of all, wagering.
Indeed, the stakes can get rather high, which explains the sizeable spectator following, as well as sizable investments made in training and caring for these majestic beasts.