Phnom Penh Water Festival 2016

20161113_135358As with the traditional Phnom Penh Water Festival celebrations, the city swells to record numbers with citizens around the country and tourist heading into the city to view the attraction. This year was no different with the banks of the Tonle Sap river a sea of people enjoying the afternoon boat races, nightly firework celebrations and lively atmosphere. It was a joyous watching many families enjoying the spectacle along with the abundant temporary food and shopping options. This year, the Phnom Penh Water Festival was held on the 13th to 15th of November 15, 2016. It is an important traditional cultural event for Cambodians for several reasons

• Marks the time of the year when the Tonle Sap river has a unique natural phenomenon where the water reverses the flow of the current. • Water Festival is typically set around the Full Moon which brings good luck • This celebration also introduces the start of the fishing season


Phnom Penh Water Festival Activities

Boat Racing

The main draw card for the festival is the boat racing. With over 250 teams competing in various divisions, the boat races were run daily in the afternoon with the final races on Tuesday.

 20161115_180009Nightly fireworks

Nightly fireworks program starts 6:00 and would run for 15-20 minutes providing a spectacular night display in front of the Royal Palace.


Nearby parks held an open air festival with shopping booths and concerts. The Night Market and Wat Bottom park were prime areas where many attendees would continue their celebrations through the evening.


Needless to say with the population heading into Phnom Penh, traffic, especially from the Royal Palace to Independence monument park were the heaviest with most roads blocked off to provide safe walking areas.   From reports, this years’ turnout has not been as impressive as previous years, likely due to cancellation of previous years’ celebrations for various reasons. Hopefully this year will start the continuation and rebuilding of the important Water Festival tradition to be a bigger and more spectacular event in the coming years.

Desmond Yap 16/11/2016 Yong Yap Properties


Phnom Penh Water Festival 2016 Video

Phnom Penh Water Festival 2016 Photos

20161113_135358 20161113_135437 20161113_155044 20161114_214343 20161115_180009 20161114_213751 20161114_213928 20161115_182640 20161115_182914 20161115_184136 20161115_184616