Cambodia: Celebrating Water Festival 2016 in the Penh

For this year’s Water Festival, we decided not to go away from the city so that my son could witness the Water Festival Celebration in the capital city of Cambodia.

joining the crowds

This celebration is one of the important festivals in Cambodia as it marks the end of the rainy season and celebrates a unique natural occurrence when the Tonle Sap River reverses the flow of its current. Probably it is the only waterway on earth which flows in opposite directions at different times of the year.

The Tonle Sap River

In the afternoon, we went to the Riverside to watch the Boat Race. Many boats participated the competition. And, each boat was manned by about 30 to 40 well-trained men and women oarsmen.

Boat race

Boat race

The riverside turns into a huge stadium

At around 6.30PM, the fluvial parade of stunning illuminated boats glowing up the river started. It was fascinating to see those lovely boat!

Fluvial parade

Fluvial parade

Fluvial parade and the supermoon

Simultaneously, the fireworks displays were held at the river’s confluent (Tonle Sap/ Mekong). It was beautiful!

Fireworks display

Fireworks display

At the same, we saw the supermoon! It was big and nearly as bright as the sun.

The supermoon

The supermoon

During this occasion, thousands of people from the provinces come to Phnom Penh to support their respective teams in the boat racing. In spite of the busy streets, it was fun to see people selling and buying anything and everything or just simply enjoying themselves.

so many people

After strolling around the riverside, we sat in Karma Restaurant (in their outside seats facing the riverside) – had our afternoon snacks and dinner there, watched the glowing boats floating on the river, watched the fireworks and supermoon; and enjoyed watching people passing by.

BBQ pork ribs served with vegetables and fries

Chicken teka served with pilau rice

Giant beef burger

Overall, it was a great family day and night out, as it was enjoyable joining the crowd. If you plan to visit Cambodia around November, I recommend that you participate in the Water Festival Celebration. Watch out for pickpockets when joining the crowd though.

Have you participated in the Water Festival in Phnom Penh? What was your best experience?  

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Cambodia: Visit the ancient Angkorian Temple in Phnom Chisor

Yesterday, we traveled 62 km south of Phnom Penh to visit the 11th century Hindu temple built by King Suryavarman at the top of Phnom Chisor in Takeo Province.

Phnom Chisor Temple

stunning views from the top of the hill

My son in Phnom Chisor Temple

Phnom Chisor Temple

Phnom Chisor Temple

the murals in one of the pagodas

We went there by tuktuk (costing us $30 round trip) and it took us two hours to get there. The journey by tuktuk was somewhat bumpy and dusty, but I highly recommend it as you’ll witness the beautiful view of the surrounding countryside with the lovely scenes of Cambodians daily life.

beautiful scenery of the countryside

beautiful scenery of the countryside

beautiful scenery of the countryside

We arrived at the foot of the hill at around 10.45am and immediately climbed 400 steps that took us to the marvelous top where a beautiful place full of history awaited us. When we reached the summit of Chisor Mountain, we wandered around at our own pace. In fact, we were fascinated by the interesting Angkorian ancient ruins, the pagoda and the breathtaking panoramic scenery from the top of the hill. Also, while wandering around the place, I noticed that it is a common place for local people to visit with their families and participate in religious events.

Stunning views from the top of the hill

stunning views from the top of the hill

So many steps all the way up to the Temple

to the pagoda

to another pagoda

Phnom Chisor Temple

Phnom Chisor Temple

Phnom Chisor Temple

Phnom Chisor Temple

Phnom Chisor

All in all, it was a nice experience as we glimpsed into Cambodian traditional life and history far from the city and its traffic.

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • Climbing the stairs to top of the mountain is more enjoyable if you go there early in the morning or late in the afternoon as it is cooler than midday.
  • Bring a lot of water, it is a fairly sweaty climb.

 Have you been to Phnom Chisor Temple? What did you like best there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cambodia: Wildlife Encounter in Phnom Tamao

Phnom Tamao is a huge interesting drive-through wildlife rescue center that holds many varieties of animals which were rescued from trafficking as poachers and traffickers tried to sell their valuable pelts, skins, bile, liver or other organs for traditional medicine and other purposes. It is a safe haven and relaxed environment for the rescued animals as they can get proper medical treatment and recover. I have learned that Wildlife Alliance is working in close partnership with the national government of Cambodia to be able to help control the increasing trade in exotic wildlife that threatens the wildlife across the country and South East Asia as a whole.

Lovely Sun Bear

Iguana

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center

I’m not sure what this is. It looks like a raccoon but the face is thinner than a raccoon. P.S. There was no English label though.)

Another animal we are not sure of but it looks like a wheesel and a pine marten.

Since we love animals, and we were curious about the place, we took our son there for a wildlife encounter.  It is 44 km south of Phnom Penh following National Road 2. It took us about 2 hours and a half by a Tuktuk through a picturesque Cambodian countryside.

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center

Naughty monkey

Dearest deer

Sweet Sun Bear

To me, Phnom Tamao is different from any zoo or wildlife parks that I have ever visited: First, you drove your car from exhibit to exhibit since it is very large. Second, many vendors and people are allowed to have a picnic inside the area making it so crowded especially during local holidays. Third, as we headed along a straight road on the way to the center, there were many beggars lining up asking for money which to me was very sad.

Mighty elephant

Lonely Leopard

At the Tiger’s area; we couldn’t see them.

Huge turtle

All in all, I was quite impressed with Phnom Tamao. We enjoyed wandering down lanes and peeping into cages, we were never sure what we might spy and which animal we were looking at since the zoo was not very well marked and sign-posted. On top of this, we noticed that the rescued animals looked contented and are so well cared for. Personally, even though it was too hot when we went there, being able to see the animals closely and touch some of them made it a very memorable experience.

Rest time in the jungle – just too hot and too crowded.

This beautiful bird roamed freely in the area.

Monkeys were everywhere…

Beautiful Black Bears

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • It is not a good idea to go there during a local holiday as it very crowded.
  • Go with a guide. Check out www.betelnuttours.com, it offer tours and activities.
  • Entrance fee costs you $5 per person.
  • At the gate, there were children selling food to feed the animals.
  • Bring a bottle of water and a towel as it is very hot.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes

Have you been in Phnom Tamao? What did you like best in Phnom Tamao?