Think of animals you might associate with Thailand and water buffaloes might spring to mind. Or monkeys, snakes or geckos. But sheep? Somewhere along the line — and it seems to have happened in the last few years — sheep are ‘in trend’ in Thailand.
The car park at Farm Hug in Sakon Nakhon, north-east Thailand
Thai friends I’ve spoken to seem to think it all started with Sheepland at Khao Yai back in 2012. The mini theme-park with sheep as the unlikely attraction proved to be popular with Thai people. The opportunity to feed the sheep and pose for photos with them was a winning combination. And in Thailand when one business sets up and has any degree of success others will soon follow, dare I say it, like sheep. The Swiss Sheep Farm in Cha Am opened in mid-2012 and Pattaya Sheep Farm in 2013. Other smaller sheep farms have sprung up around Thailand including Sheep House at Farm Hug in Sakon Nakhon which features in the photos below and is also home to an excellent Thai restaurant.
With the images being shared on social media by selfie-loving Thais, it’s easy to see how the popularity of the sheep farms in Thailand soon spread. Where lack of space or money prevent real sheep from being kept, there is a proliferation in the model variety. If you look carefully enough when you visit Thailand you may notice these sheep cropping up in places you wouldn’t expect to see them including temple gardens and in front of spirit houses. I’ve even spotted the model sheep with braces outside dentists.
Spirit house in Trat, eastern Thailand
Garden in the grounds of Chanthaburi Cathedral
The Thai word for crazy is ‘baa‘ with ‘baa baa bo bo‘ meaning odd, so there a few easy laughs to be had if you do visit any of these sheep farms and want to practice your Thai language skills!
Thai people I’ve spoken to don’t have a definitive answer to why sheep have become so popular in Thailand. Just as koala bears might be viewed as exotic and cute if you live in Europe or America, maybe the same thing applies to Thailand where the narak is always appreciated. Whatever the reason, the sheep in Thailand look set to be around for a while and you’d be ‘baa’ to think otherwise.