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Festivals in Cambodia

Hello everyone,

What are the main festivals in Cambodia? Are there art, food, music, film, or other festivals expats can attend and participate in?

When do the festivals take place? How long does each festival usually last?

What activities go on during the festival? Is it necessary to buy tickets?

Are there any other events that take place in Cambodia that shouldn't be missed?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

First off, the big local festivals. One of the biggest is the Water Festival (Bon Om Touk) which this year takes place from the second to the 4th of November. The highlight are the boat races both in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Phnom Penh has become way too crowded for my liking and I actually prefer the even in Siem Reap. Things are changing fast though: what used to be stalls selling foods and traditional items are now mostly selling second-hand clothing and electronics.

More sombre is Pchum Ben, this year from the 19th to the 21st of September. Respect to the deceased is paid during those days and if you want to take part, you had better get up real early which you will do anyway if you live close to a Pagoda as the music and praying will start around midnight. Great festival for photographers but of course be respectful.

There's also the Khmer new year, which usually falls on the 13th of April of each year and lasts from 3 days to a week. During this event Khmer people gather to play different traditional games, dance and have parties. Most of Cambodians who live or work in Phnom Penh go back to their provinces during this period, which leaves pp very empty!

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