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A record 4m visitors set to arrive in capital for Om Tuk

A record 4m visitors set to arrive in capital for Om Tuk

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3-story-107.jpg

Officials say they are bracing themselves for a deluge of people, aiming for visitors to watch races from Chruoy Changvar

Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON

A man cycles along the riverside with his guitar on Thursday. 

ARECORD four million people from provinces are expected to come to Phnom Penh for the Water Festival this year, officials say, making it the largest celebration ever.

"Even though we do not have much space on the riverbank at the Phnom Penh side, there will be about four million participants in the Water Festival this year," said Tin Prasoeur, Phnom Penh's traffic police chief.

Due to ongoing repairs of the riverbank at the Phnom Penh side of the river, spectators are invited to watch the boat racing from the Chruoy Changvar side, and the Phnom Penh Municipality has prepared ferries to transport spectators who would like to watch the races from Chruoy Changvar.

Chea Kean, deputy director of National and International Festival Committee, also expects more people to participate in the Water Festival in Phnom Penh this year compared with last year.

He said in 2007, about two million people came to the city for the festival from different provinces throughout Cambodia.   

"I expect there to be more people this year because we have many festivals simultaneously - Independence Day and the Water Festival," he said.

Four hundred and twenty four boats will be taking part in the races during the Water Festival, but this year there will be no foreign boats competing, Chea Kean said.

Kim Sophal, 73, arrived in Phnom Penh on Wednesday from Ampil village, in Kampong Cham's Krouch Chmar district. She said she had come to the capital to watch the Water Festival and to visit her children who are living in the city.

"This year, I will watch boat racing from my children's house because now I am too old to go to watch at the riverside," she said.

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