Authorities expect four million people, a million more than last year, to crowd into
Phnom Penh for the upcoming three-day Water Festival from November 23-25.
Nhem Valy, deputy secretary general at the Permanent Committee for Organizing National
and International Ceremonies (PCONIC) estimated that the government will spend about
$375,000 on the festival. That is slightly more than last year's budget of $325,000.
"The scale of expense is higher than last year," Valy said. "We have
already asked for additional budget from Prime Minister Hun Sen. I hope he will approve
Sok Kong, administrative officer at PCONIC, said 425 boats had confirmed their participation
during the water festival ceremony and more boats may still register.
He said last year 409 boats joined the races. He said nearby Kandal province has
the most boats coming.
Kong said the government had allocated about $225,000 to support the boats.
Kong said a small city like Phnom Penh does not have enough space for all the people
and everywhere in the city will be jammed. Last year more than 3 million people visited
Phnom Penh during the festival.
During the evening people will crowd to the area in front of the Royal Palace to
see the fireworks and lighted boat parade which will pass along the river in front
of the Royal Palace.
Traditional performances put on by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and pop concerts
will take place at Preah Meru field, Wat Phnom, Hun Sen, Psah Chas and Botum parks.
Other concerts also will take place at Chroy Changva peninsula.
The first and final day of races will be presided over by His Majesty King Norodom
Sihamoni, Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly president Heng Samrin and
Prime Minister Hun Sen.