Siem Reap is simultaneously winding down businesses, schools and working mindsets
whilst winding up into holiday and party mode.
Khmer New Year is here! Starting on Thursday 14th April and continuing until Saturday
the 16th April, this is the biggest event in the Cambodian Calendar.
So what can you expect? A big influx of people from the countryside, a marked increase
of revelers out and about in restaurants and bars, and many private parties keeping
you up all night with loud music and laughter. Water and talcum powder fights will
erupt at any time and in any place, and families and friends will be seen participating
in traditional Khmer New Year games. Look out for some tasty treats made especially
for the celebrations; bananas and rice wrapped with green pancakes is a personal
Many Cambodians visit the temples during this time, so it might be an idea to steer
clear of Angkor Wat if you don't like crowds. Most tourist restaurants and bars will
stay open for the celebrations, with a few exceptions including Linga Bar and the
"Crocs, Cocks and Rocks," an exhibition by Englishwoman Sasha Constable,
is on show until May 23rd at the FCC. Sculptures, prints, photography and paintings
are on display and for sale in the upstairs, up-market restaurant.
Sasha has been living in Cambodia since 2000 and has been involved in many art projects,
including the Peace Art Project Cambodia.
Inspirations from her life in Cambodia can be clearly seen in the pieces on show.
Sangkheum Centre for children is a joint project between local NGO KADO (Khmer Angkor
Development Organization) and Progetto Continenti, an Italian NGO.
It opened its doors three years ago to 40 orphaned children. The center provides
them three meals a day, a roof over their heads, an education and, most importantly,
a loving and caring family.
They also monitor and support 40 children in surrounding villages and have an Agricultural
Training Centre attached, which gives 20 disadvantaged young adults the opportunity
to learn farming skills.
Visiting the centre is uplifting and inspiring and gives an excellent example of
what good work many of the NGOs in Siem Reap are accomplishing. Volunteer work is
available, and, of course, any donation would be very much appreciated. Contact Sunsoley
on 012 858 015 to organize a visit.