Siem Reap, Cambodia

Festivals

 
 
Giant Puppet Festival
February
A community arts project (
www.giantpuppetproject.com) involving more than 500 Cambodian children. The project has an educational perspective to create awareness (such as culture, environment and sports) through art among Cambodian children. The children are organised into teams (e.g. schools and orphanages) and over a two weeks attend a workshop before creating a giant puppet varying in size from 10 to 30 metres. The highlight of the festival is the pageantry or parade through the streets of Siem Reap.
 
 
 
 
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Water Festival 
October
Called Bonn Om Touk in Khmer, this vast festival is probably the most extravagant in Cambodia, celebrated in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Over three days starting with the last full moon day in October or the beginning of November, up to a million people from all walks of life from all over the country flock to the banks of Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. Here, hundreds of brightly coloured boats with over 50 paddlers battle it out in a boat race.

The boat race dates back to ancient times marking the strengths of the powerful Khmer marine forces during the rule of the Khmer Empire. In the evening, brightly decorated floats cruise along the Mekong River in Phnom Peng prior to the fireworks displays. There is often a parallel festival near Siem Reap's Angkor Wat and although it is smaller in scale it is just as impressive due to the backdrop of Angkor temples. 

Boat race in Siem Reap by Nick Hewson

Angkor Photo Festival
November
An annual festival by regional and international photographers. The festival is held during the last week of November, consisting of seven evenings of outdoor projections and more than 10 gallery exhibitions across various venues in Siem Reap. The photography festival aims to highlight the work of Asian photographers and provides free workshops for 30 young photographers with their work showcased during the event.

There is a full time office cum gallery for the festival located near the Bopha Angkor Hotel. As well as the festival, the organisers support a local NGO working with street children, that promotes the arts and runs a photography course for students. Photography from these students is also showcased as part of the festival programme.
 
Guide to
Siem Reap

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