This and other fun facts about water buffaloes

Water buffaloes are an animal that has cultural, spiritual, and agricultural significance in Vietnam. If you’re touring the country, you’ll likely encounter one of these gentle beasts. Locals consider this animal to be their unofficial symbol.

These animals, domesticated over 5,000 years ago, were essential for building Vietnam’s agriculture. Farmers realized that these large animals were docile and began using them as a source of power to plow fields and transport crops and people.

This majestic animal is sacred in Vietnam, appearing in many organized festivals, literature, and artwork.

Are you interested in learning more about these fascinating creatures? Stay tuned. Here is everything you need to know about water buffaloes. 

Where did water buffaloes get their name?

buffalo boyIt’s as simple as it sounds. Water buffaloes are buffaloes who LOVE the water!

There are water buffaloes all over the world. The countries where they are most common include China, Egypt, India, Italy, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, and Vietnam. The one thing that all of these places have in common is water, where these buffaloes can submerge themselves.

Water buffaloes prefer to swim in deep rivers, and others enjoy shallow, muddy water. River buffaloes are most common in India, and swamp buffaloes are most common in China. In Vietnam, you’ll most commonly find swamp buffalo wading in its shallow fields.

Importance in Spiritual Life

Water buffaloes are sacred in Vietnamese spiritual life, partially because of their significance in agriculture and partly because of the lunar calendar.

They are one of the twelve animals in the lunar calendar and symbolize good fortune and hope for a prosperous life.

People born in the year of the buffalo (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021…) are said to have some of this animal’s characteristics. Water buffaloes are strong, faithful, quiet, large, and friendly. People with this zodiac sign are allegedly calm, organized, disciplined, and careful. They can incorporate other’s opinions but are often firm in their own beliefs.

These animals are so important in Vietnamese culture that festivals, such as the Ox Riding and Bull Fighting Festival, celebrate them. They were also the Southern Asian Games’ mascot in 2003.

Daily Life

fighting buffaloesThese creatures are an integral part of daily life in Vietnam. Most notably, they were necessary for wet-rice agriculture in the past.

Vietnamese people use them in every part of their life. They are a valuable meat source, and people use buffalo skin to make shoes, drums, and buffalo horns. Shirt buttons and combs also have buffalo parts.

These animals frequently appear in Vietnamese cultural works. There are countless texts, paintings, poems, and more.

Foreign travelers also love seeing water buffaloes. A unique experience that you can have in Vietnam is riding one of these creatures. If you have the opportunity to try this activity, you’ll make some incredible memories.


Water buffaloes are fascinating creatures that you’ll encounter if you visit Vietnam. 

If you are interested in traveling to Vietnam to see these beautiful animals and all of the country’s amazing sights, consider booking a tour. Our organization, More Fun Travel offers customized tours so that you can travel worry-free. Contact us if you would like more information about what we offer!

Bonus: Learn more about these creatures and Vietnamese history by watching the movie “Buffalo Boy” (2005).