Bom Om Touk (Cambodian Water Festival)

Celebrated in November, this three day festival marks the end of the monsoon season and coincides with the change in flow of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. The flow of the rivers changes direction twice each year due to the sheer volume of water in Tonle Sap Lake and the silting up of the Mekong Delta.

Cambodians enthusiastically celebrate with festivals, boat races, fairs, concerts, colorful giant floats and (very loud) firework displays. It is not a festival for the faint hearted due to the large crowds, but it is one of the most colorful and for the more adventurous, an unforgettable experience.

Adrenalin fueled boat races take place across the country, however the main ones can be seen by Phnom Penh’s iconic riverside at Sisowath Quay. This is also the place to admire elaborate floats which are painstakingly constructed by different government ministries and drift down the river at night, beautifully illuminated. The racing also takes place along the Siem Reap River which runs through the heart of the town. Every town and city throughout the country have teams that enter their hand carved boats each year in order to race in front of tens of thousands of spectators.

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