Bonn Om Toeuk/Phnom Penh Water Festival – Video Post

Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia oozes French colonial charm and remnants are evident in the architecture and cuisine. The city though is entrenched with rich Khmer history and Buddhism and this is put on show each year when two festivals are co joined, the Water Festival and full moon of the Buddhist calendar month of Kadeuk.

Water Festival in Phnom Penh In November each year for three days, Phnom Penh plays host to the most magnificent carnival in South East Asia, the Water Festival or Bonn Om Toeuk. A celebration of the unique phenomenon when the great freshwater lake of Tonle Sap reverses its flow forcing the river to do the same.

The city is adorned with colourful bunting and the Royal Palace is lit with thousands of lights, the night air is filled with the sight and sound of fireworks and street food and parks come alive with food stalls and amusement rides as Khmer people travel from all over the country to be part of this significant event. The highlight of this national holiday is the boat race which you can get a taste of from the video below.

More than three hundred boats take part in the annual race on the Mekong River, each propelled by a team of up to 70 oarsmen. The boats are colourfully decorated and come to the city from temples and provinces all over Cambodia. Villagers come to support their boats swelling the cities population by a further 2 million.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 28th, 2009 at 09:27 and is filed under mekong journal, Mekong Posts, mekong video, Travel, Video, Weblogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Wow! This looks incredible. Those boats are huge! I can’t believe how many people fit inside them.
    Love the hat as well, by the way.
    Were you the only outsider that was there at this time? Did you see any other travelers or tourists at the festival?

  2. The Hungry Cyclist

    pp gets a few tourists and many expats but most avoid the city when the festival is on because its chaos! those who do stay mostly hang out on the west side of the river but the real action is over the bridge – pop into maxines for the best view of the boats and a well needed drink at the end of the day.

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