Trained buffalo are the new hit photo prop in central Vietnam’s famed city of Hoi An, where tourists hope posing with these tamed animals will add some spice to their Instagram.
Forget planting crops and feeding chickens. Farmers in Hoi An are raking in the dough from a new revenue stream: buffalo photo shoots.
That’s right. For just a few bucks holidaymakers visiting the famed tourist hub can pose with beautifully groomed, well-trained water buffalo in lush country fields – a winning combination for a perfect Instagram post.
Farmers in the city’s Cam Chau Ward now spend their days resting atop their buffalo, hoping to catch the attention of passing tourists.
|A farmer rests on his buffalo’s back while waiting for tourists in Hoi An, central Vietnam. Photo: T.B.D / Tuoi Tre|
With just a few quick instructions, their buffalo smile and perform a few tricks on command, creating the perfect opportunity for visitors to snap a few shots with the countryside creatures.
Nguyen Nam, a 58-year-old local farmer, said that raising buffalo solely for tourism purposes has become trendy in Hoi An over the past few years, thanks to the region’s rapidly developing eco-tourism industry.
He shared that the buffalo being used as photo props in Hoi An are typically raised as normal until they reach their full-grown size.
Then, they are trained properly as “models” so that they can pose with tourists.
The farmers then bring their buffalo to scenic rice paddies on the city’s edge and wait to catch the attention of passers-by.
“Photos and postcards depicting our ‘model’ buffalo have become so viral that foreigners go out of their way to visit Hoi An just to experience it for themselves,” Nam said with pride.
|A farmer poses with his pet buffalo in Hoi An, central Vietnam. Photo: T.B.D / Tuoi Tre|
Dinh Phong, the 50-year-old owner of five pet buffalos and a large farming land plot in Hoi An, also claims to make a decent living thanks to the pet buffalo.
After spending 30 years trying to make a life for himself in southern Vietnam, Phong returned to Hoi An to farm and raise buffalo.
“My life right now is the definition of absolute happiness,” he said.
“To be honest, there’s no place like home.”
But raising ‘model’ buffalo is no easy task.
Aside from the capital needed to invest in the animals themselves, famers must make detailed plans on how they will raise their animals to be most appealing to tourists as well as learn English in order to communicate with would-be customers.
Some farmers even apply perfume to their “models” so that they get used to human smells and do not become too excited during a “photo shoot."