Siem Reap prepares for Khmer New Year party

Taking place each year in mid-April for three days, the festivities attract hundreds of thousands each year, who come to witness the vibrant activities. From traditional dances and games to street food and record-breaking giant cakes, there’s plenty to see when joining in with the celebrations.

The event is still very traditional, with locals taking part in different rituals over the course of the three days, which often occur from 8.30 in the morning to 9.30 at night. Thousands of Cambodians descend on Angkor Wat to visit the temples, with activities taking place on the grassy areas surrounding the complex, as well as near the Royal Palace.


The biggest New Year party in Siem Reap yet

This year is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors, including those visiting Cambodia on Mekong river cruises, with early morning suggested as the best time to witness the spectacles. One of the most anticipated events is the creation of a giant Khmer sticky rice cake that is expected to weigh 3.2 tonnes, which judges from the Guinness World Records have been invited to attend.

People can also expect to see traditional ball games and tug of war, as well as ox cart and buffalo racing. Medieval martial arts also play a large part in the festival, with hundreds of practitioners encouraging the public to get involved in demonstrations.

The previous year’s festival generated $30 million for the local economy when attracting 380,000 visitors, so the scale of the 2015 celebrations is considered to be even more good news for the city. Many of the street food businesses use this to their advantage too, using the event to serve food around the park to attract new customers.

Image Credit: Narin BI (