Water Festival in Siem Reap

Cambodia’s Water Festival is a traditionally Phnom Penh-centric affair. The first Water Festival celebration in Siem Reap took place was in 2001. That year, it was a small affair with just 20,000 people showing up to watch the races. This year couldn’t be more different. The streets around the river are closed to traffic, and Siem Reap has become a pedestrian paradise as everyone from the province has flooded into town to watch the boat races. Dozens of street food vendors are out hawking their wares, and local restaurants have dropped their prices for the Water Festival hordes (Blue Pumpkin are selling scoops of ice cream for $1). Locals, tourists, and expats were enjoying the carnival-like atmosphere that went on long after nightfall. If you didn’t head to see the Bon Om Touk festivities yesterday, it’s well worth a visit today.

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