The Siem Reap Provincial Government said the annual Water Festival will return to town this year, after an announcement in August by the Cambodian government that it will hold the festival again this year after a three-year absence in the capital.
Siem Reap Provincial Deputy Governor Bun Tharith this week said the festival will be on again in town.
“We will follow the [national] government’s announcement, so this year we are going to celebrate our Water Festival on our usual venue along the river,” he said. “This is exciting news for Siem Reap residents and local and international visitors.”
The festival will be held over three days from November in 5- 7, with boat races, music, exhibitions, shopping and cuisine. During the night illuminated boats will float on the river and firework displays will light up the sky-scape.
The deputy governor expects more than 40,000 local and international visitors will attend.
“We hope to get a lot of visitors to Siem Reap,” he said. “People from other provinces will come to see the festival, but we are worried that some roads into our province were damaged by last year’s floods.”
The government will cooperate with provincial police to ensure the festival is safe and Bun Tharith added that he will order police to guard the festival and help visitors.
Last year, the Water Festival in Siem Reap was cancelled due to floods that affected thousands of families in several districts including Pouk, Angkor Chum, Krolanh, Varin and Srey Snom. And in 2012, the festival was cancelled during the mourning period for former King Norodom Sihanouk. The water festival was first cancelled in Phnom Penh in 2011 following the terrible tragedy that occurred during the 2010 festival when 347 people were killed and hundreds injured in a human stampede on November 22.
Stall holders who suffered financial setbacks due to the festival’s cancellation two year running have welcomed the return of celebrations..