25 Oct 2017
After the tragic events on the last day of the festival in 2010, it was canceled the following three years.
The Water Festival was restored in 2014, although much less visitors than normal attended the festivities.
In 2015, the government again pulled the plug. The official reason was: the water level is too low. Unofficial reason: rising political tensions between ruling party CPP and opposition party CNRP.
Finally, in 2016, the Water Festival took place in its former glory with a good atmosphere and lots of visitors.
Dates in 2017: November 2-3-4
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 millons of people from all over the country.
A smaller Water Festival is held around Angkor Wat, but for the real thing you’ll have to go to Phnom Penh.
In Khmer the annual Water Festival is called Bonn Om Toeuk. The Water and Moon Festival ushers in the fishing season.
It also marks the reversal of the current in Tonle Sap river. Boat races as well as fireworks displays are held at the river.
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.
They arrive by buses, cars, bikes, cyclos, bicycles and even trucks. Many stay over in the city during the three-day festival, lending support to their boat team. Others use this opportunity to explore the sights and sounds of Phnom Penh – for many it is the only occasion to visit the city.