The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Photos from Khmer New Year 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Below are photos from this weekend's long Khmer New Year holiday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. New Year's eve is April 13. The festival is actively celebrated the 13-16. The days are fixed (unlike Vietnamese Tet or the Cham New Year), though originally based on a lunar calendar.

You can really almost never go wrong with a photo of Wat Ounalom on the riverside in Phnom Penh. Attractive, iconic and it always seems to be backed by blue sky. Too bad I missed the festivities at the Wat, whether by arriving late, or cancelation due to heavy rain the night before.

No banana boats here. We're inland. Just banana bikes.

Bananas are a spirit altar favorite in Southeast Asia, whether because they are dirt cheap, the bunches look nice when intact, or some symbolic meaning I know not.

The Royal Palace lit up at night.

The tourist gate to the palace (closed at night).

Games at Wat Phnom.

The pots are full of money (small riel bills donated by the audience) and talcum powder, which makes a great little explosion when broken.

Wat Phnom's new holiday Naga guardian. 

Family spirit altar for the new year.

Most people head for the countryside to their own villages to celebrate Khmer New Year. This means a lot of shops and services close down for several day or even a week or more. Unfortunately this means trash pick-up too, and trash accumulates fast during family holidays. There ends up being a pile like this every few meters in some neighborhoods. The rats & roaches are doing conga lines...

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