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Water Festival (Bun Om Tuk) 2008



Tour name: Water Festival (Bun Om Tuk) 2008

Tour Code: CBT 35

Duration: 8 days

Tour starts from: Phnom Penh

Tour ends in: Seam Reap

Booking: Book now


Cambodia Travel Tips | Cambodia Travel Guide | Cambodia Hotels | Water Festival


Day 1 (November): Arrive Phnom Penh 

You will arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport where you will be met by our qualified local guide and transferred to the Imperial Garden Villa & Hotel, which is located close to Phnom Penh's main attractions and is approximately a 30 min drive from the airport. After checking in and freshening up you will be driven to the classic Foreign Correspondence Club (FCC) where you will enjoy a welcome dinner.


Day 2 (November): Phnom Penh Water Festival


The boat races do not truly get under away until early afternoon, so after breakfast at the hotel you will be taken on a city tour to get an initial taste of charming Phnom Penh. You will firstly be taken to the Royal Palace, located on the shores of the Mekong. Inside its walls are the Throne Hall, the Chan Chaya Pavilion, used for performances of classical dance, the Napoleon III Pavilion, and the King and Queen's residential quarters. Next stop will be the Silver Pagoda, so named as its floor is made up 5,000 silver tiles! The Silver Pagoda is also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha as it houses a glittering array of Buddhist statues, the centre piece being a magnificent 17th century emerald Buddha statue made of baccarat crystal. The walls of the pagoda are lavishly decorated with colourful frescos depicting episodes from the Khmer version of the Ramayana. Next on the schedule is a visit to the 1917, terracotta red, National Museum - home to the world’s leading collection of Khmer sculpture. The museum offers a charming setting for the comprehensive collection of Khmer art. Predominantly worked in stone, the sculptures date from both the Angkorian and pre-Angkorian eras, complimented by more recent examples of Cambodian art. You will then be taken for lunch at a local restaurant.  

In the afternoon your guide will lead you to the riverside where you will mingle with the thousands of locals who have traveled from all over Cambodia to enjoy the 3 days of merriment – here you will get your first glimpses of the wonderful boats, and see then in action as human power speeds them down the river. After an exciting afternoons race watching you will certainly have built up an appetite. Dinner is your choice, you may decide to remain on the riverside as night falls, joining the locals eating from the many food stalls, and enjoying the firework spectacle and the shows of boats sailing up and down the river decked out with brilliant light displays, or you may choose to head away from the hustle and bustle and find a quieter restaurant.  


Day 3 (November): Phnom Penh Water Festival


This morning you will learn about Cambodia’s more recent turbulent and harrowing history. After breakfast you will be driven to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as S21), in a quiet Phnom Penh suburb, this is the infamous Khmer Rouge prison / torture centre. Once you have gained an initial understanding of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime you will be driven 15km from Phnom Penh to visit the ‘Killing Fields’ or Cheoung Ek. This is where Toul Sleng prisoners were forcibly marched and then executed; it is now a memorial site. Lunch will be in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon it is back to the busy riverside and the party atmosphere for more boat race action! Again dinner is your choice, tonight you may decide to take a local ferry across to the Chrouy Changvar peninsula, where you will find many local food stalls as well as concerts where you can sit and be entertained by contemporary Khmer song and dance, whilst drinking a Cambodian beer. Again there will be fireworks and the lit up boats will be cruising the river.


Day 4 (November): Phnom Penh - Free day


Today is free allowing you to spend more time experiencing the fun of the boat races or you may prefer to further explore this charming city. Perhaps you would like to take a cyclo ride and visit the Russian Market (Phsar Toul Tom Poung) where you can pick up some quality silk; take in the hustle and bustle of the art-deco Central Market (Phsar Thmei); appreciate some of the art/photo exhibitions that are on display at various locations around the city; wander around the colonial French Quarter where you can climb Wat Phnom – the small temple topped hill that Phnom Penh was named after; or you may wish to venture further afield, heading 50km north out of Phnom Penh and climbing Oudong Mountain to marvel at the expansive views of the Cambodian countryside, or heading 35km south to explore the temple ruins of Tonle Bati and Ta Prohm.

(N.B. Additional tours for this free day can be booked in advance or when you arrive, however if you leave it until you arrive, due to the festival it may be difficult to secure a guide and vehicle).


 Day 5 (November): Phnom Penh to Siem Reap


After breakfast you will transfer you to the airport for the 50-minute flight to Phnom Penh (flight FT 992, 9:50am). Upon arrival in Siem Reap you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, the Day Inn Angkor Resort, this 3* hotel has full amenities allowing you to pamper yourself after a hard day exploring the magnificent Angkor Wat temples.

After lunch you begin your visit with some of the most beautiful temples on the Small Circuit, including the huge pyramid of Takeo, built in the 10th century. You continue to the jungle-clad Ta Prohm (another Ta Prohm!), made famous by the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Tomb Raider’. This temple was a monastery built by Jayavarman VII as a residence for his mother, and it has been controversially left to the destructive power of the jungle to demonstrate the awesome power of nature. It has been largely consumed by the jungle and as you climb through the dilapidated stone structures you see many giant trees growing out of the top of the temple itself. You continue to visit Sras Srang, the royal pool situated opposite the East Gate of Banteay Kdei. It is known as the King's bathing pond. Finally you take in Prasat Kravan, an elegant brick temple from the 10th century with some fine brick carvings in the interior. Before returning to town for dinner at a local restaurant, you will be taken to the slopes of Phnom Bakheng where you will see the beautiful sight of the sun setting behind the West Baray, an ancient reservoir.


Day 6 (November): Siem Reap - Temple Exploring


You rise early today to catch the sunrise over the mother of all temples, the world’s largest religious building, Angkor Wat. After being mesmerized you return to the hotel for breakfast, but then return to further explore Angkor Wat in more detail, getting up close and personal to fully appreciate its architecture and intricately detailed bas-reliefs. Believed to have been undertaken as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the best-preserved of the Angkorian temples, truly one of the wonders of the world. You will return to your hotel for lunch.

After lunch you head back to the temples again, this time focusing on Angkor Thom - this Royal city was first built under the reign of Udayadityavarman II in the 11th Century. It was destroyed when the Chams from Vietnam rose up against the Khmers and invaded, sacking the city, fortunately it was subsequently renovated by King Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th Century. Its vast wall, some 6m wide and 8m high, is 13km in length and contains many beautiful monuments. You approach this ancient city via the South Gate, which is flanked by demons and gods engaged in a tug-of-war over the elixir of immortality. Once through the gate you will visit the Bayon, a temple mountain built by Jayavarman VII. It is situated in the centre of the city of Angkor Thom. It is a three-tiered pyramid and is famed for its many gigantic carved faces, representing Avalokiteshvara but with the features of Jayavarman VII, smiling beguilingly down at you. We will also visit other important sites in this immense walled city, including the pyramid of Baphuon, Phimean Akas, and the royal viewing stands known as the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. You will return to Siem Reap and after freshening up will be taken to a local restaurant for dinner.


Day 7 (November): Siem Reap - Temple Exploring & Cruise


This morning you head 30km north to visit the captivating and beautiful temple of Banteay Srei. Built in the 10th Century this elaborately decorated temple, embellished with floral motifs and scenes from the Ramayana, was dedicated to Shiva. The famous pink sandstone structure bears a series of beautiful sculptures, lintels, pediments and friezes. It is said they must have been carved by women as the detail is too fine for the hands of a man. On the way back to Siem Reap you will stop off at Banteay Samre, a temple which has undergone extensive restoration, and in certain aspects resembles a mini Angkor Wat, with many of its carvings in excellent condition. In Siem Reap you will have lunch in a local restaurant.

After lunch we head 15km south to Phnom Krom, the large hill that looms closer, and enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. The Tonle Sap lake flows into the Tonle Sap river on which the boat races were held in Phnom Penh, (or the Tonel Sap river flows into the Tonle Sap lake, depending on the time of year!). The lake is of critical importance to the livelihood of many Khmers who rely upon it increasing in size almost 10-fold during the rainy season for their livelihoods. A trip on the lake compliments a visit to the temples wonderfully as many of the temple bas-reliefs depict how life around and on the lake affected all walks of Khmer life, much as it still does today. You will see traditional floating villages and witness the residents going about their daily life - it is quite a sight seeing a whole bamboo village complete with homes, gas stations, schools, hair dressers, and even karaoke bars floating on a lake. If you are a wildlife enthusiast there is also the opportunity to spot many birds which feed on and around this huge lake.

After returning to your hotel and freshening up you will be taken to the Angkor Village Restaurant where you will enjoy a farewell dinner accompanied by traditional music and enigmatic Apsara dancers.


Day 8 ( November): Depart Siem Reap

After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to Siem Reap International Airport for your onward flight.


  • All sightseeing tour and transfer services as detailed in our itinerary,
  • Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast as specified
  • English speaking local guide
  • All entrance fees,
  • Meals: Daily breakfast at hotel, lunch and dinner at local restaurants
  • Private air conditioned car
  • Drinking water during sightseeing
  • Arrival and departure gift
  • Public liability insurance
  • One way domestic flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap  


  • Services not mentioned in our itinerary,
  • Visa fees, currently USD 20-- per person
  • Domestic airport tax, currently USD 6 per person
  • International airport tax, currently USD 25-- per person
  • International flight tickets to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap
  • Expenditure of a personal nature.
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident of illness)

List of Accommodation:



Standard Superior Deluxe
Phnom Penh Bougainvillier Hotel Imperial Garden Raffles Hotel Le Royal

Seam Reap

Lotus Angkor Hotel Royal Angkor Resort Hotel de la Paix




Tour Class

2 3-5 6-11 Single Supplement
Standard 986 903 859 352
Superior 1351 1289 1183 595
Deluxe 1538 1495 1405 198

Note: Price per Person in U.S. Dollars
Price subject to change acordingly to high season or holidays

Book this tour


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