As November goes forward, many people living in Phnom Penh are getting excited for the Water Festival 2016. Known as “Bon Om Touk,” the festival usually occurs yearly, and majority of the festivities happen in Phnom Penh. This, however, does not mean that other towns and provinces does not celebrate it.

Throughout the years, there were instances when the festival was cancelled. However, there are plans that it will surely go on as planned this year.

What is Bon Om Touk about?

For those who do not know what it is about, the Water Festival 2016 lasts for three days. It commemorates the end of the rainy season of Cambodia. It also marks the unique reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River.

photo: Tharum Bun

During the festival, there are several events that are held to celebrate. In Phnom Penh, there are several concerts and special events that are held, as the city is teeming with locals and tourists alike. The most attended ones are the boat races and concerts which draw in millions every year.

Water Festival 2016: Traditional Ceremonies

Throughout the course of 3 days, there are also 3 main traditional ceremonies that happen. These are the following:

  • Ak Ambok – This ceremony is named after the rice dish “ambok.” The dish is made out of rice that is fried in the husk and then pounded. It is then mixed with banana and coconut, after the husks are removed.
  • Sampeah Preah Khae – Sampeah Preah Khae is a ceremony that brings tribute to the moon. The ceremony involves praying tribute to the moon and ushering in the next ceremony. Incidentally, this year is known to have the biggest supermoon on Nov 14, 2016.
  • Bandaet Pratip – This ceremony starts at around 7 p.m. with illuminated boats going into the water. Each of the boats signifies a ministry. And this is known to gather crowds to see the different boats.

With the many festivities happening within a week. It is really important to start planning ahead. Whether you are headed for Phnom Penh or going out to the provinces during the Water Festival 2016, it is best to think ahead. For sure, there will be a lot of travelers going around at this time.

Check out our website for bus tickets that are headed from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Kampot to Phnom Penh, and many more.