Cambodian Water Festival

11-13 November 2008


Streets near the Waterfront

People moving toward the waterfront More than a million Cambodians from other parts of the country descend upon Phnom Penh for the Water Festival. Many stay with relatives or friends in the city and walk daily to the riverfront, the center of the festival.

A side street The streets near the waterfront take on a different air for these three days, with more people and lots of vendors.

Police blocking (some) vehicle traffic Finally, at the last big street parallel to the river, the police start blocking most vehicle trafficking, allowing in only the motorcycles and cars of residents--and often the cars of those willing to offer the police some money.

Stalls along the way Close to the main street and still far from the river, these hopeful vendors set up stalls to catch those on their way to and from the river.

Banners for Independence Day November 9th was Cambodia's 55th Independence Day and colorful banners are still on the buildings near the royal palace.

Young girls getting weighed These young girls pay a few cents to learn their weight from a regular bathroom scale set up by the mother and daughter to make a little money.

Making a bread on an open fire These women know the walkers will be hungry and are making a type of bread that is cooked on two tongs held and flipped over an open charcoal fire.

A family selling in front of their house This family sets up for business on a larger scale, offering drinks and packaged snacks.

Getting close to the river These people are in sight of the river!

Arriving at the river These flags and pennants mark a large park area between the royal palace and the riverfront.

Independence Monument Many people walking along Sihanouk Boulevard pass the Independence Monument, still adorned with wreaths of flowers and an honor guard from the Independence Day celebration two days ago.

More mobile-style vendors These vendors on the main street near the monument are more mobile and can move their carts to follow the crowds.

Festival traffic This is a holiday and the traffic is much reduced from normal, but everyone tries to drive as close to the river as possible before being turned away, and the inevitable traffic jams ensue.

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