Last night I visited the water festival in Siem Reap. The Water Festival (at least the main event) takes place in Phnom Penh. The Cambodian Water Festival is a festival celebrated in November praising the reversal of the Tonle Sap River. Visitors from all over the country travel to Phnom Penh to watch boat races along Sisowath Quay and attend free concerts in the evenings. For three days, people from all provinces celebrate day and night with the residents of the city. The festival commemorates the end of the country's rainy season and the reverse direction of the Tonle Sap River. It includes boat races, fireworks, concerts and attracts millions of people to Phnom Penh every year.
Since Siem Reap also has a river, the festival is also celebrated here, fortunately.
In the afternoon, the boat races are traditional, while in the evening the burning lotus blossoms are lowered down the river, fireworks are lit, music is played everywhere, and innumerable food stalls try to sell their food.
Visiting the festival was a unique experience to gain insight into the culture of the Khmers. Even if only for a short time. The impressions, sounds, smells, all the senses were quite challenged. All of Siem Reap seemed to have gathered by the river to cheer the boats.
However, since I started very early today, I did not stay too long.
As mentioned, I’ve had an early start today. At 06: 00hrs I was picked up by the TukTuk in the hostel. I had a flight at 07: 55hrs, which should fly me to Sihanoukville in the south of Cambodia.
Checked in punctually, I stood in line for a security check, when it suddenly occurred to me that I still had my beloved Victorinox Swiss army knife in my backpack. Nnnnoooooo 😫 Since I already have to survive without cheese, then I need at least my Victorinox 🤷🏼♀️ 😅
Quickly as possible I hid it in my document bag, deep down in my backpack. Having sweat pearls on my forehead, I made my way through the security check. Fortunately, for me, the young lad on the screen seemed to be a bit overwhelmed with the bustle. Thus, he did not notice my Swiss all-purpose- weapon. Woopwoop. Lucky me 😅
I flew with JC Airlines from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville (35min flight time instead of 11h sit on the bus .....). JC Airlines is a Cambodian airline that owns 5 planes. The flight was super cheap, the plane seemed relatively new, the crew nice and the flight was on time. What more could you ask for?!
Arriving at the airport in Sihanoukville is a bit strange. The airport is about 25km outside the city. Shuttle buses or other buses to the city do not exist. Hence, the only way getting to the city is, by hiring one of the rip-off taxis. The trip was, at $ 18, very expensive for Cambodia.
Once arrived in Sihanoukville city, it immediately made sense why everyone advised against a visit to this city. The city is awful. Some may call it .....crap hole. The name fits. I don’t want to be disrespectful at all, but even locals call it that. So, I guess it’s ok. The Chinese have sadly taken over the city and are now building one casino after another. The city consists of 2 things. Construction sites and garbage. Awful.
Well. I just left the hostel in the evening to have something to eat. Luckily my bus will be leaving early to Kampot tomorrow morning.
Pictures of this epic event in my pictues section here. 📸