Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos
Cambodian Water Festival

Cambodian Water Festival

The annual three-day Water Festival, each November, competes with the Khmer New Year for being the most important holiday for Cambodians.

The annual three-day Water Festival competes with the Khmer New Year for being the most important holiday for Cambodians. The boat races on the Tonle Sap and the carnival atmosphere ashore attract millions of people from all over the country.

In Khmer the annual Water Festival is called Bonn Om Toeuk, and marks the arrival of the fishing season, and the reversal of the current in Tonle Sap river. The festival features boat races as well as fireworks displays, and will take place in 2015 on November 24 to 26.

More than 400 boats, propelled by precision-trained oarsmen, take part in the annual boat race, the highlight of the Water Festival or Bonn Om Touk. This is one of the major events in the Kingdom which attracts multitudes of people from the various provinces to the capital Phnom Penh.

It is not surprising that the city takes on a carnival air during this period. Open-air live concerts are held, make-shift food stalls selling a variety of local fare are set up in parks and children as well as adults take rides on ferris wheels.

Colourful buntings and banners adorn government buildings and as night falls the Royal Palace is brightly lit with colourful lights. Brilliant fireworks illuminate the night sky and flotillas, outlined by lights, glide gracefully down the river. This is, in fact, Cambodia's version of the Mardis Gras.

When to go:

Cambodian Water Festival

located in Phnom Penh

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