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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Bull Fights in Southern Thailand

    I was recently down in the south at Nakhon Sri Thammarat and for once my visit coincided with the bull fights.

    These are huge in the area, there are bull fighting stadiums in Thung Song, Cha Uat and the one local to me at Cha Mao, known locally as Hua Pan, the bridge at the head of the river, which in years gone by was the staging post for all the boats to get out to the local villages.

    Since they built roads into the rural areas off the highway, the sound of those noisy boats has all but gone now.

    Anyway back to the bull fights.

    I went with only my oldest son as my youngest onjected on the grounds of animal cruelty.

    I have mixed feelings about it, but I can live with it, there is no death and only minor destruction like boxing really.



    Two bulls are put into a ring, worshipped, lead nose to nose and left to but heads and horns until one bull walks away.

    Once he does, he is the loser.

    Fights can go on up to an hour and be as short as one bull just refusing to fight.

    Both happened on this particular day.

    The stadium holds about 3000 people and on this day it was full.

    Prizes for the fights ranged between 40,000THB to 1,000,000THB

    Gambling is rife.

    Entry was 200THB but I was allowed to enter free of charge as was my son. Apparently they do this for foreigners. I remember I didn't pay last time I went about 10 years ago.

    OK.... onto the photos..... it was a particularly difficult day to take photos, the sun was very bright and directly overhead which makes the shadows an absolute fuck to deal with, particularly as the ground behind the bulls was glowing which meant silhouettes or lack of detail in the background.

    Clouds are a godsend to a photographer...............
    Last edited by Bobcock; 28-08-2013 at 10:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    FIGHT #1

    Not a big money fight this one, but it was certainly the longest of the day.

    Prize was 40,000 to the winner, nothing to the loser.

    Firstly the bull enters the ring.......



    After that he gets a bit of pampering which includes getting mashed banana rubbed all over his head. I asked why and was told it's just what they do....no other information offered.....



    There is a white line pained in the dirt of one section of the ring. The handlers and the uaual family / friends that hang on and feel big because they are with a fighting bull sit behind the white line. In fairness the bulls seem to have no interest in the people and there was only one instance where a bull went near them..... onto that later.



    And we're off...... the bulls are led together my a handler on both sides with a small rope through the ring in his nose. Sometimes they take a while to fight, especially with younger less experienced bulls. Once they start to battle the ropes are withdrawn and they are left to their own devices.


  3. #3
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    dirk diggler's Avatar
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    Maybe the mashed bananas is like Vaseline on a boxer?

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    At times there is not much action, the bulls lock forheads rather than horns and use their weight to twist their opponent or in the case of one fight, drop the body weight to pull him down and wear him out.



    This guy was standing not far away and made a good picture, a few hours away from the farming life.....

    The land here is very fertile and certainly the guys in the village work the land hard, 3 crops a year if things go well, and they certainly don't earn the 'lazy' tag that I hear thrown at someones wife's 'brother' in Isaan. Don't know I've never really been to Isaan.........

    I see very little alcohol when I am there and I sit on the porch enjoying a nice evening beer the menfolk are all off to bed to rise at 4-5am. They do their work early to avoid the heat, but the cash they earn is wasted on sitting around during the afternoon drinking.

    Anyway, I like this portrait.....





    This fight didn't have any classic action, thse were two younger bulls finding their way in the fight game, some long periods of inactivity....


  5. #5
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    This is the VIP area..... and where the drummer and ring announcer sit. The guy with the glasses seems to control a lot of the gambling, he was there when i went 10 years ago, in fact I sat up there with him and he had a huge wedge of 1000 Baht bills in his hand.....





    This is one of the bookmakers crew in the crowd, they sit on the fence at about 5 metre intervals and when the action hots up they announce the latest odds....



    And then one decides it's had enough, turns tail and runs away. The victor generally just watches it go as it runs to the gate from which they leave the arena. This is the loser waiting for the gate to open.


  6. #6
    Newbie Khamprasith's Avatar
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    lol @ preppy bookmaker!

    Beautiful pictures! I had heard about bull fighting before but I had never seen any ''footage'' of it! Thank you!

  7. #7
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    I watched some TV on Thailand that showed about an hour's worth of the bull fights. Wasn't really that exciting compared to boxing chickens and dogfighting. (The reason I kept watching it was that nothing else worth watching was on, and I kept hoping for a better fight.)

    Japan has a version that seems to have higher quality (read aggressive) bulls.

    Now if you put some Spanish fighting bulls in with some Cape Buffalo, then you would have one heck of a fight!

    RickThai
    Last edited by RickThai; 28-08-2013 at 10:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    I visited a fight in Koh samui back in 1987, and it was horrific to watch, one of the bulls got its horn locked into the others eye and was pushing it further into the socket somehow the bull set itself free and ran,i never returned again

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    I'm not sure why the bottom half of the horns is taped, my feeling was it is to show up any blood that runs down the horns, but that's just a gues.





    The loser exits the ring reasonably quickly but the winner stays and has a bath and a bit of pampering......





    ...........before having some coloured woolly hats put on his horns so he can show everyone that he was a winner.


  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    The stadium..... located about 25km south of Nakhon Sri Thammarat in Tambon Cha Mao, Known as Chao Mao Bridge Bullfighting Stadium.



    It has two major stands plus the control centre opposite where I am standing, it was packed the day we were there, these pics are taken after the first bout and by the time it million Baht fight came around there wasn't any room left.



    Last edited by Bobcock; 29-08-2013 at 08:13 AM.

  11. #11
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    I think your pics are fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    FIGHT #2

    I've lost the schedule so I can't remember the prizes for each fight or more interestingly the bull's names.....

    I think this fight was about 60,000THB to the winner, and was a far shorter affair that the fight one.

    Once again the bull gets some nice mashed banana all over it's head.





    Had a pretty frenetic start....




  13. #13
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    It must be said these beasts are magnificent, very powerful. I don't know what they weigh maybe 250-300kg, very muscular and despite this strangely docile other than this environment.



    Once again the loser turns and runs away and the victor just ignores this and grazes.......



    The proud winner, with a lovely set of horns so I thought at the time...... but small in comparison to what was coming....




  14. #14
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    Loving the woolly hats!!

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    FIGHT #3

    Fight 3 was a bout between this feisty fellow and......



    this mellow chap....



    Pregame I went for the calm guy, I was already 2-0 up against my lad and I thought the hyped up bull would not be successful..... I was wrong.

    It was quite a long affair but the feisty bull had more power in the long run....




  16. #16
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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  17. #17
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  18. #18
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    And after a titanic struggle suddenly the red bull decided he wasn't going on and on and on..... and trotted off to the exit gate.



    On this one occassion the victor followed him and they had a short tussle in the peoples area but the loser had already decided there would be no more....



    The winner complete with bobble hats.....


  19. #19
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    utterly sickening, while I know Thais were cruel with their chicken fighting I had no idea this sort of depravity went on here. Thailand is about 150 years behind the west, except Spain maybe.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yasojack View Post
    I visited a fight in Koh samui back in 1987, and it was horrific to watch, one of the bulls got its horn locked into the others eye and was pushing it further into the socket somehow the bull set itself free and ran,i never returned again
    Double yuck!


    Great pictures though!

    RickThai

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Lots more to come...... The sun went behind one clouds so some of the pictures coming are technically better.....

  22. #22
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    dirk diggler's Avatar
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    Over the years I've turned up many times to see bullfighting but always been told it's off season.

    I just arrived back in Korea to change out a Thai guy who lives near me in Songkhla who told me he has 3 fighting bulls and they fight once per month. He's invited me along so we just need to work out a time we're both home.

    He left today and I'm pissed at myself for not asking about the mashed bananas.

    Great thread and great pictures!
    Lang may yer lum reek...

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Never mind, just make sure you ask him next time you see him. I'd love to know.
    Last edited by Bobcock; 30-08-2013 at 02:35 PM.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    FIGHT #4

    Didn't out to be a real crowd pleaser.... in one corner we had this big red fella complete with his banana garnish....... he was also in a feisty moode before the fight.....





    and a large black bull.... but this basically just stoop and looked at each other for a bit.....



    and a bit more....... until the black one just turned away



    They tried to bring him back as there was 200,000 THB on this fight, but as soon as 'Big Red' threatened..... the black one was off again.



    Last edited by Bobcock; 30-08-2013 at 03:03 PM.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    FIGHT #5

    This was a bit of a barnstormer.....












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