Pchum Ben is close and many Cambodians as well as expats will head out from Phnom Penh. Why are they leaving and where will they go? Julius Thiemann asked four people how they will spend their holidays. Photography by Alexander Crook
Krisna, 30, hotel worker
I am from Phnom Penh but I spent Pchum Ben in Battambang Province in the last few years because I had invitations from friends and looked forward to spend a few free days there.
This year I will stay in Phnom Penh though and go to the pagodas here. I think I will go to Moha Montrei Pagoda or Prah Put Pagoda because they are in my neighbourhood.
I am looking forward to playing football with my team. In the hotel business you don’t usually have much free time so I am really looking forward to get some exercise.
Samuel, 21, student
I will go to Sihanoukville with my parents, aunt and uncle and my eight brothers and sisters. From there we will do day trips to Takeo Island. Because my family is Christian we see Pchum Ben mainly as holidays.
On the island we will just have a picnic and enjoy the sun and the sea. When we are all together like this we always use the opportunity to take a family picture. In the evenings we go back to Sihanoukville and stay with other relatives.
They are Buddhists, unlike my family, but we still go to the pagodas with them and visit the monks. I always like giving to the monks because they are the original source of education in Cambodia.
Julianne, 22, law intern for the defence team of Ieng Sary
I will go to Otres Beach in Sihanoukville with a friend for four days. We will go there by taxi and spend four nights. I am really looking forward to escaping Phnom Penh and I guess also the expat community.
You cannot really relax when you don’t go away. Then it’s not really holidays. If I stayed I would definitely work so I won’t bring my laptop either. Until today I haven’t heard of Otres but that doesn’t matter.
All I want is beach, sea, sun, and nature. No buildings, tuk-tuks and noise.
Kesey, 26, employee of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs
I have gone to Battambang with my family over Pchum Ben for the last 20 years. When I was six years old my family moved to Phnom Penh but we still go every year because the rest of my relatives live there. So this year I am going again with my parents and my brother and sister.
Hopefully I will be married to my fiancé so I can bring him next year. Usually we all go to the pagodas together and then have a big family party because we only see each other once a year. We will eat drink, dance and talk a lot.
I am especially looking forward to seeing my grandparents. They tell me everything about what’s going on in Battambang. Of course they also want to know about my life in detail in Phnom Penh.