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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