Bonn Om Touk - Full Moon Boat Festival
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Bonn Om Touk - Full Moon Boat Festival Phnom Penh Reviews
Nov 04, 2006
Bonn Om Touk, is the largest festival in the Cambodian calendar. Each year the festival falls on a different date according to the full moon. However it usually hovers around the early to mid November period. During the 3 day public holiday, villagers from all over the country flock to the capital city to support their local boats and cheer them on, hoping for a minute of fame for their tiny villages.
At the moment the festival is pretty disorganised and doesn't really cater for tourists or even the locals, as they do not inform whose competing or what not. However to lure tourists in the Government has already planned to improve the festival for the coming years, so that both locals and tourists alike can enjoy this magnificent festival.
Each boat can carry up to 100 or more rowers plus the dancer at the front of the boat. Each boat is painted with beautiful floral motifs and carries offerings of fruits and other delicacies.
At night time, large brightly lit up floats sail up and down the river in front of the Royal Palace with a mini fireworks display in the background. Opposite the riverbanks, a section of the Royal Palace is brightly lit up and provides an interesting view of the Palace.
The festival is also attended by the King of Cambodia, so if your lucky enough you might be able to have a quick peak at Royalty amongst the hundreds and thousands of other locals wanting to witness the Royal figure.
During the festival, many foodstalls pop up along the riverbanks offering many delicacies. Of course prices may be slightly a little bit more expensive as many of the foodstalls would mark up the prices just for the occasion and the opportunity to make an extra Riel or so.
One can easily view the races from one of the top levels of the buildings along the riverfront. The Kiwi bakery/cafe is a good place to sit down, have a few beers and to avoid the crowds.
***Word of Warning***
Even though Cambodians have been labelled as some of the friendliest people in the world, during such a huge festival with hundreds of thousands of people, pick pockets are fairly common. So avoid bringing any uneccessary baggage!!!!
Part of the Southeast Asia 2006-07 travel blog
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