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You are here:      Home News Buffalo tour
Buffalo tour
Bat Trang2One of the greatest draws to Vietnam is our culture. Bat Trang, a trade village and long-standing popular destination, now has a new lure for visitors who desire a glimpse into the country’s cultural richness.

Recently, I heard about a service that was so unique to try it.

There is a new way to view Bat Trang village’s ceramics: by buffalo-drawn cart. As I stood observing the unhurried grazing of buffalo’s owner, Dam Van Phuc, appeared and invited me to join him on a somewhere between the horse carts in Da Lat, Vietnam and the cow carts in Japan. It was made of wood with two five-seat benches and covered with a steel roof. Our buffalo lumbered forward, his steps heavy. The tour began.


On the way, I left almost hypnotized by the carts lovely ratting and swinging. Dressed in brown with a white cap, Phuc told me that he is an expert in breeding and cattle. For more than a year, Phuc had been contracted by Ming Hai Ceramics Company to drive buffalo carts for tourist. Controlling the buffalo with familiar ease, he described how that the cart-ride service was inspired by the company director, Minh Hai, who came up with the idea while visiting Japan. A Japanese businessman recommended buffalo carts as a tourist attraction, and Hai decided to turn this vision into a reality. Hai returned to Bat Trang and set out to find suitable buffalo and wood to make carts.

Since then, the company buffalo serve ten guests. These particular buffalo are strong, hailing from Son La Province where they had been used to haul wood. Every morning, after a hearty breakfast of fresh grass, the buffalo are brushed and wiped clean to ensure they will look and smell nice for the guests. The caring and feeding regimen is as good and proper as for domesticate house-hold pets.

“The buffalo are always required to be strong, nice and clean,” explained Hai. “The buffalo spend two months being trained to walk well and to get accustomed to vehicles’ horns before serving customers. Now they are very gently”

“I heard about Bat Trang through guidebooks and television,” said Mrs. Reiko Okada, a Japanese tourist sitting beside me. “But it is really wonderful to see this with my own eyes today. I really like the ceramics here and it is also great to go shopping by buffalo cart. I probably will not visit another village in this way again.”

The cart stopped at a traditional pottery workshop where craftsmen were shaping and drawing on pottery beside a coal kiln, which was firing batches. The tour guide told us that about 40 percent of pottery produced in the village use coal, the traditional fuel, instead of gas. Further along, we requested of to stop at various showrooms. We returned heavily-laden with new ceramics.

Zigzagging through the dusty roads, the ride was a relaxing means to enjoy both traditional art and a novel tourist service of Vietnam.


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