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November 2009
Water Festival in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand (November 2009)

Cambodia, Thailand and Laos celebrate Water Festival, dragon boat racings. The celebration combines sport even and historical culture interests. It is a good time to take cycling tours in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia around that period so to enjoy pre and post cycling tour Water Festival event.

Cambodia plans to celebrate Water Festival from November 01st to 03rd, 2009. The festival combines sport event of the boat racing, and the historical culture events of Ork Ambok (rice celebration), and moon celebration. So there will be interesting activities to see along Siem Reap river:

The Water Festival event includes:
1-Dragon boat racing starts at 12h00 and finishes at 05h00pm from November 01st to 03rd, 2009
-Rowing boat 60 capacity (men)
-Rowing boat 50 capacity (women)
-Paddling boat 30 capacity (men)
-Paddling boat 30 capacity (women)

The event is to celebrate the remarkable victoria of Khmer navy over the enemy. Based on the sculptures at the Angkor temples and inscription, Khmer navy was one of the main forces existed thousand years ago and used to be successful over the enermy including Champa Kingdom and Anam and Dai Viet kingdoms who traveled to attack Angkor empire by boat from the South Vietnam sea then follow Tonle Sap lake.

2-Moon CelebrationCambodian calendar follows the moon and we have respected the moon since thousand years ago. The moon has been important to us; China and some other countries in Asia have also respected the moon. On the 3rd night of the celebration, people pay respect to the moon and make a wish for good luck, good health and prosperity and light the candle with flowers and offer on floating banana leaves along Siem Reap river.

3-Water CelebrationWater has been important to us. It is the main source of lives. We respect the water and making us of the water for sustainable. Cambodia is lucky to have Tonle Sap lake, the biggest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia. It is the main reserve for water for Cambodia. During the dry season Tonle Sap lake has got 5,000 square Km and it reaches double time to 10,000 square Km during the rainy season. Without Tonle Sap lake, Cambodia will be badly effected by the flood, especially the recent Typhoon that caused serious damange by flood in Cambodia. Siem Reap were flooded also, it was the biggest flood in 10 years. It is the result of the global warming.

Dragon, is the symbol of the water. We believe that dragon created the water, protect the water and make sure we use the water in the right way. Dragon has bee with us for thousand of years. That's why all the boats joining the racing event, have been designed to look like a dragon.

4- Ork Ambok (rice celebration): Cambodia choose to celebrate the water festival in November because all the people around the country finish their rice planting season. So they are free and it marks the end of the rice harvesting in which 85% of the people are doing. This tradition have been with us for thousand of years. The rice planting starts in May when the rain starts and finish in November when the rainy season ends. Rice has been Cambodian main food, there are many way to cook the rice; steaming, boiling, and frying. Rice in the bamboo, white rice and black rice for sweet are all delicious. Fry rice is more sepcial for Water Festival, people fry the rice with skin on it in open clay pot, then using traditional wooden mill to take out the skin by hand. The rice then has good smell and taste because they are fresh just harvesting a few days from the rice field. They are served with banana and cononut juice.

At night time, there will be firework and some lighting floating boats with some of the decoration going along Siem Reap river until midnight.


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