TRANG - The tourism council in this southern province has come up with a plan to put another burden on buffaloes in an effort to lure more tourists to Koh Sukorn.
Sukorn, meaning pigs in Thai, is an island where visitors can never find pigs as the majority of its 2,500 residents are Muslims. But they can see 300 buffaloes there, and in fact it is the only island in the province where the locals groom them for ploughing and meat consumption.
The council has convened a meeting with the locals and officials of the Koh Sukorn Tambon Administration Organisation to moot the idea of using the buffaloes for tourism purposes.
"Buffaloes are the trademark of the island and they should be used for tourism promotion," council president Somchai Jearanaisilp said.
Motorcycles are popular for tourists to get around the island, but the council said it would be more charming if visitors have a chance to travel on a cart pulled by a buffalo.
The council will invite staff of the Buffalo Village in Suphan Buri to train the animals to be friendly with strangers and pull carts, Dr Somchai said. Veterinarians of Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya Trang campus will be brought to check the animals' health, he added.
Koh Sukorn is off the Trang shoreline in Palian district.
There are many theories behind the name of the island. One legend has it that a Muslim man going to Trang on a ship met and fell in love with a Buddhist woman. She goes out to the sea with him and they later tie the knot.
Her parents cook grilled pork for her when they know that their ship is returning to Trang. The parents are angry when the ship arrives but the woman refuses to see them. They throw their grilled pork into the sea and it washes ashore on this island.