Travel to Cambodia over the Khmer New Year can offer visitors one of the most memorable cultural immersions, and to celebrate with the locals we have put together a special 3 day experience for your time in Siem Reap. Join in with the revelry and traditions of the festive period and as well as visiting the fabled temples of Angkor, you will enjoy a traditional blessing ceremony, play games with villagers in an underprivileged community and make a charitable donation – all of which are integral parts of this 3 day holiday.
The first day of the New Year, Moha Songkran, sees families gather to light candles and incense as they offer thanks for the Buddhas teachings. On this day you will also visit Wat Bo, one of Siem Reap’s oldest pagodas to witness the festival preparations and receive a New Year’s blessing from a resident monk – an extremely special experience to start the New Year.
On the second day, Wanabat, you will visit Krousar Thmey, an organisation assisting underprivileged children, as the day is dedicated to helping the less fortunate. Krousar Thmey provides shelter and education for orphans, street children and victims of trafficking, as well as education for the deaf and blind. The centre assist to reintegrate all those it helps back into society and today you will learn about the centre in more detail and if you wish to get involved you can enjoy a massage by one of the specialist blind masseurs to support the project. On the second day you will also explore Angkor Wat by tuk tuk, which will be buzzing with local families celebrating the New Year. Visit the temples and join in with local games and celebrations, or try out some Khmer martial arts (bokator) on the waterfront at Angkor Wat.
The third day sees Buddha statues and elders cleansed with perfumed water. On Tnagi Laeung Saka, the bad deeds are washed away and the soul is cleansed for the year ahead and traditional games are played such as hand-scraf-throwing, tug og war and trot dancing. Today you will have the opportunity to visit local villages and spend time taking part in the celebrations with different families, an extremely special experience and one we know you will treasure forever. Interspersed in the day we have also included a visit to a traditional silk farm and a visit to Wat Damnak, where you can witness the cleansing on the Buddha. Spend time with local monks to learn about other significant events happening and what the rituals truly mean. End your day with visits to some of the most stunning temples; Angkor Thom, Ta Prhom and Bayon. Take in the peaceful atmosphere as the celebrations draw to an end.
Khmer New Year will be celebrated on 13th April 2018, and we recommend arriving to Siem Reap on this date or beforehand to enjoy the full celebrations.