It’s been a very long time that I hear about some cow race which happens once a year in some remote are in the Mekong Delta. A few friends showed me some pictures from time to time but I did not really pay too much attention at the beginning.
Until the day someone really explained me what it was and how it was to go there with a camera.
Since 3 or 4 years I never had the chance to make it until 2 weeks ago…
First of all, I need to say that this event takes places in the South West of Vietnam, in An Giang Province, very near the border between Vietnam and Cambodia. A very important Khmer population is living there and this event is part of Khmer Sene Dolta festival, a time when Khmer people pay tribute to their ancestors and take part in activities with traditional songs and dance after a hard-working year.
So all this doesn’t make things easy at all. First to get there at the right time, you need to follow the Lunar calendar and find out when is the 30th day of the eighth lunar month until the second day of the ninth lunar month.
Great you know when it is ! Now you just need to find the Ro Pagoda in Tinh Bien District’s in An Cu Commune and you’re all set for what will definitely an unbelievable shooting experience !!!
This is an extremely famous and popular event in the region gathering not less than 30,000 spectators this year. Make sure you get there very early in the morning as the best shooting spots become crowded very quickly
And it’s really fun and very unusual to end up in the middle of such photographers
At 7:30, the first 2 out of 37 pairs of cows will start racing on a 200 meter long muddy and flooded ring.
Cows are part of the farmer’s everyday life and they represent the families and their ancestors too
Each pair of cows pulls a very basic wooden trailer made of planks attached to each other and on top of which the driver will stand
Well it’s time to race !
For 5 hours it is a relentless succession of screaming, cheering … mud flying everywhere on the crowd, the police, the photographers and their priceless equipment…
but believe me when I say it’s worth it :
I only put a few pictures here but if you want to see the whole gallery you will find it HERE
It was definitely an amazing and exhausting experience, a day full of emotions and it took me a few hours to come back to normal life.
If you want to feel the atmosphere a bit more you can watch this local TV report where I happen to be interviewed very quickly 😀
I surely will go back there next year and try to get even closer to these cows who definitely were my heroes on that day.
Edit on Oct 15th, 2016
Since I was asked about how dirty I was at the end of the race, here is the answer 😀
Could be worse right ???