Festivals and Events
Whether it's celebrating independence or important events in the life of Buddha, a number of popular and colourful festivals take place in Cambodia throughout the year and here are some of the busiest and best.
Chinese New Year
Cambodia's Chinese population dates back to the 19th-20th century and today the country celebrates Chinese New Year with firework displays, family feasts and street parties in the larger cities. Although not an official holiday, many shops close for the day.
Khmer New Year
Marking the end of the harvest season, the Khmer New Year is a massive holiday in Cambodia, which takes place over three days. Like neighbouring Thailand, the New Year is celebrated with water-throwing as well as large feasts held and attending local temples.
Observed by Buddhists across Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, this important religious festivals is celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month with many attending local temples to celebrate Buddha and his teachings. A candle procession is often held in temples in the evening.
Royal Ploughing Day
Each May Cambodians mark the beginning of the rainy season with Royal Ploughing Day. Cows and ox are feed a variety of different crops with predictions made for the year's forthcoming harvest depending on which crops are eaten by the cattle. People in Phnom Penh visit the Royal Palace in colourful traditional dress to watch the celebrations.
This vibrant religious festival is one of the most important festivals in the Khmer calendar with Cambodians visiting local temples and pagodas with offerings of food, candles and prayers for the monks. It's also a time for families to remember their ancestors.
Cambodian Independence Day
Held on the 9th November each year, Independence Day is a national holiday with many Cambodians travelling to the capital of Phnom Penh to watch colourful parades and firework displays though such celebrations occur all over the country in order to celebrate Cambodia's independence from France.
This festival marks the reversing flow of Tonle Sap River and welcomes the fishing season with boat races and concerts. The largest celebrations take place in Phnom Penh over three days with large fireworks displays in the evenings on the banks of Tonle Sap.
Cambodia has its very own tuk-tuk overland challenge with the Cambo Challenge
offering intrepid motorists the chance to travel across rugged and often off-road terrain with 1,000km travelled over 9 days. Teams of 2-3 must register for the event.