The 2018 Water Festival is upon us! While many people are making their escape from the city, for those that stay there’s plenty to keep you entertained in town this year.
Whether you want to enjoy the spectacle of the boat races from the bleachers or atop a swanky bar, check out some bands, take part in Thanksgiving or even a pottery festival, here’s our list of what’s happening in town.
Head to Riverside to check out some of the traditional boat races that are happening throughout the week, with the majority being held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The races are also set to display the dragonboat that has just recently broken a new world record of being the longest in the world, a whopping 87. 3 meters long.
Most of the races will kick off with an opening ceremony around 4pm, with fireworks displays coming out later in the evening of the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Much of the area around riverside will be blocked off to traffic, so plan accordingly. Also the crowds during the boat races can get hectic and scary as around 3 million people flood the city from across the country to watch, so if you’re not into crowds this might not be the place for you.
Expats and tourists take note: foreigners are generally allocated to a “foreigner’s tent” to watch the races, but it’s still best to keep your wits about you, as crime rates and pickpocketing generally skyrocket during the holiday.
Enjoying the Boat Races from On High
If crowds aren’t your forte, find a rooftop bar along riverside. These offer premium views of the races without having to deal with the throngs of people.
Juniper gin bar hosts evening drinking and pizza sessions where people can soak in the views of the races, starting from 4pm onwards. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be done so by contacting them via Facebook.
Juniper Gin Bar, 12th floor of The Point Hotel, St 130
Meanwhile, further back on Street 19, Mimosa Bar and Grill is offering half price cocktails, $1 Carlsberg drafts and $2 Jim Beam mixers throughout the holiday.
Mimosa Bar & Grill, St 19 corner, St 148
That time-honoured American tradition is replicated here in Phnom Penh on Thursday evening at multiple events across the city. A time to give thanks and eat lots of turkey, Mad Monkey is offering free flow drinks as well as chicken, sweet potato mash and devilled eggs for $6.
Mad Monkey Hostel Phnom Penh St 302
Meanwhile, Sofitel and Raffles Hotel Le Royal¸ are each offering Thanksgiving buffet and geuridon dinner respectively on Thursday evening from around 6pm with roast turkey, maple glazed pork, roast prime rib beef and all the trimmings. Raffle’s dinner tickets are $55 per person, while Sofitel’s buffet tickets start at $38 per person with a free welcome drink.
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, 26 Old August site, Sothearos Bld
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Rukhak Vithei
If you want to take a short trip out of town to escape the crowds of the city, Kampong Chnang Town, roughly two hours’ drive on National Road 5, is holding a pottery festival, celebrating the town’s ancient pottery making traditions. With a range of pottery markets for you to peruse, the town will also hold performances, and pottery making classes. You can check out the details on their Facebook event.
If music is more of your jam, this Friday has got you covered with Mary and Takeshi bringing their gentle, jazzy tunes to Cloud, while Morgane and Jeff are heading to Duplex for a night of folk and Americana.
Cloud, St 9
Duplex Belgian Taverne, St 278
For a full list of events in Phnom Penh, check out our daily listings here.