Water Festival


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Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh
November 15th 2005
Published: December 8th 2005EDIT THIS ENTRY

An Inland OceanAn Inland OceanAn Inland Ocean

Out in the middle of the Tonle Sap you can't see the shore in any direction for over two hours. It was really abeautiful trip.
Here are some pictures of Phnom Penh during the water festival and some of the scenes from the boat trip down the river from Siem Reap.

We woke up the next morning early to catch the boat down the Mekong RIver to Phnom Penh. It was a marvelous 5 hour trip beginning just outside of Siem Reap in the largest fresh water lake in all of SOuth East Asia. Out in the middle of it we could not see any shor for almost two hours of the trip! THe river itself is almost tidal and is the only river in the world that actually changes the direction of its flow during different seasons of the year. We saw floating villages and fishing boats, and water buffalo galore. IT was a perfect day for it and we both got a good bit of sun sitting up on the deck watching the scenery!

Phnom Penh is a crowded and exciting city - especially as we happend to arrive at the start of the annual Water Festival. They celebrate with races similar to skulling - except each boat is comprised of teams numbering 50-60 and sometimes 75 men! The racing is called
Boat on the Tonle SapBoat on the Tonle SapBoat on the Tonle Sap

In the middle of the Lake with no shore to be seen, we pulled up to ths boat and one of our passengers (an old wman) got onto this boat and we headed away.
Oon Tuk and competitors come from all around South East Asia - this year there were nearly 400 boat competing! That night they had fireworks and a parade of boat floats strung with lights down the river - all underneath the full moon! Thousands of people were massed in the streets and there was music, games, and dancing everywhere! It was a blast to be a part of! Our favorite part was playing wiht the little children street vendors - Jhanke took out his hand hackysack game called Miyachi and the kids just flocked to him to watch and get a turn trying it out. I took out my water color paints and started face painting - we were practically of our own!





Additional photos below
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The last spit of landThe last spit of land
The last spit of land

As we passed by tons of floating villages, we finally came to the very last piece of dry land before headin gout into the ocean of the Tonle Sap lake.
Family of Five on a MotorbikeFamily of Five on a Motorbike
Family of Five on a Motorbike

Yes, a Mom , a Dad, and three kids all on a motorcycle - in CRAZY traffic!
Oon Tuk RacingOon Tuk Racing
Oon Tuk Racing

Similar to skulling except the boats are MUCH bigger. Each one has between 50-75 rowers! Over 400 boats entered the competition this year, from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Miyachi MasterMiyachi Master
Miyachi Master

Jhanek playing miyachi wiht some of the local kids! I don't know who was having more fun - them or him!
Full Moon Full Moon
Full Moon

The full moon above the crowds of the water festival added an ethereal element to the masses of joyous people.
Fireworks over the river floatsFireworks over the river floats
Fireworks over the river floats

The parade of boats strung with lights floated down the river while a fireworks display went on above.
Water Festival CrowdsWater Festival Crowds
Water Festival Crowds

The city grows from 1.3 million to over 3 million for the duriation of the Water Festival - the crowds are unbelievable!
A Much Quieter Phnom PenhA Much Quieter Phnom Penh
A Much Quieter Phnom Penh

Another view of the street from my return trip to Phnom Penh - post the Water Festival. I could hardly believe it was the same city.


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