Cambodia's popular Water Festival attracts 4.9 million visitors to capital

Spectators immerse themselves in boat races on the second day of Phnom Penh's Water Festival on Nov 27. - STPM

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's three-day Water Festival attracted some 4.9 million locals and tourists to the capital Phnom Penh, according to a Cambodian National Police's report on Wednesday (Nov 29).

Celebrated from Sunday to Tuesday, the water festival is one of the largest festivals in the South-east Asian country. On the occasion, people from across the country flocked to the capital's riverside to enjoy a regatta, which is the festival's centerpiece.

The festival drew an estimated 1.2 million revellers on Sunday, 1.7 million on Monday, and 2 million on Tuesday, the report said.

"In general, the festival had gone well, with good security and public order," the report added.

Prime Minister Hun Manet said crowds of locals, as well as foreign tourists, had enjoyed the festival, which featured boat races in daytime and the parade of illuminated floats as well as fireworks at nighttime.

"I would like to commend all relevant institutions and authorities for jointly organizing this festival smoothly, with excellent security and public order, creating a joyful atmosphere for the festival-goers," he said in a text released on his official Telegram channel.

A total of 337 boats with 20,417 oarsmen took part in the regatta, which saw participants racing their boats along a 1.7-kilometre stretch of the Tonle Sap river that runs in front of the royal palace, said Bou Chumserey, vice chairman of the boat-racing technical control committee.

The annual festival marks the end of rainy season and the unique reversal flow of the Tonle Sap river that connects the Tonle Sap lake with the Mekong river, the official said. - Xinhua

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