Happy Bonn Om Touk

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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The EYE on the boats
As the day went by, thousands, hundreds of thousands of villagers from the countryside began to make their way to the city, in anticipation of the 3 day Water Festival (Bonn Om Touk) held on the 4th through to the 6th of November. The many villagers would flock to the riverside to cheer on their districts boats.

Within the 3rd-5th I cannot remember what I did each day, as I don't have my notebook with me, however I have just included them all randomly in this entry...

3rd November

Within the 3 days of festivities I managed to attend the first two days, whilst including a visit to a traditional Khmer Kickboxing tournament. The main bout was between Cambodia's #1 Kickboxer Eh Phothong and a Canandian fela. At first it seemed like Eh wasn't very active, and was just defending himself, but it wasn't till the last round when he managed to throw a very nice blow and the Canadian KO'ed! The crowd gave a huge upheave with an agressive standing ovation; with great excitement, cheering, clapping and shouting words of defeat.
Monks out on a afternoon stroll through the festivities


After the match, Bohng Phatry, Tim and I headed off to Banana Bar where we shot a bit of pool and had a few drinks, before calling it a night.

4th November

During the day I popped by the riverfront to watch the many repetitive boat races held on the Mekhong. There were several different sized boats, and still till this day, I'm not 100% sure how many people were on each boat, the small ones were 20 people, and the big ones came close to 100 people!

I decided to drop into one of the Happy Pizza joints along the river front (something I was meaning to do on my second trip to Cambodia in 2002, but never had a chance to) and tried out their happy pizza's. The pizza didn't look all that appealing, and it tasted pretty bland. The effects kicked in about 45minutes later, while I was at FCC Restaurant and Bar, having a few beers whilst watching the Boat Races.
The Royal Palace
.. HehehehEHehHEhEHehhe

The main highlight of my first night at the water festival was seeing the King of Cambodia, HRM King Norodom Sihamoni. Along with hundreds of thousands of other onlookers, wishing to take a glympse at the royal monarchy.

The fireworks display for the first two nights were nothing fancy, it was worst than the fireworks display in Melbourne on Khmer New Years in April!!!! But apparently the final night was the night that showed a decent display (I didn't get a chance to pop by).

5th November

During the day, just like the first day of Water Festivities, I popped by to the riverside, just to see the million+ people watching the 400+ boats try their best in fulfilling their dream of winning.

I met up with Bohng Phatry to have lunch at the Kiwi Bar on the riverfront, which had some spectacular views of the races, and of course the millions of people on the ground walking endlessly non-stop.
Afternoon Swim at Boeung Kak Lake


Before heading home, I kicked back at Boeung Kak Lake, and had a chat with a fellow Melbournioun, and to my amazement he had some breathtaking photos, equal to that of photojournalistic photo's you see in famouse travel and photography magazines!!!!! I'm so envious! hehehe

Anyways that pretty much sums up the few days of water festivities...

I must say though that the crowd was ridiculously BIG, as soon as the fireworks display was over, you could not by all means could not walk anywhere, as people were all chained up walking in one direction and there was no breathing space whatsoever!

Word of Warning: If you ever attend the event DONT CARRY ANY VALUABLES with you!!! and be VERY CAUTIOUS!!!!
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The EYE on the boats
The EYE on the boats
Monks out on a afternoon stroll th…
Monks out on a afternoon stroll t…
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace
Afternoon Swim at Boeung Kak Lake
Afternoon Swim at Boeung Kak Lake
The Night rush during the festivit…
The Night rush during the festivi…
The Full Moon
The Full Moon
A Cute Restaurant Waitress
A Cute Restaurant Waitress
Water Lillies
Water Lillies
Anticipating to Race
Anticipating to Race
Cambodian Specialties ... the frog…
Cambodian Specialties ... the fro…
Fellow Photographer
Fellow Photographer
Brightly lit boat floats
Brightly lit boat floats
Phnom Penh Sights & Attractions review
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 … read entire review
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk