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Travel Guide > Asia > Cambodia > Climate & When to go

C'mere for the Khmer New Year

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The Cambodian New Year takes place on 13th April and the festivities lasts for three days.  Also know as Chaul Chnam Thmey, the streets of Cambodia are decorated and people get busy cleaning up and making offerings. Then, family, friends, neighbours and pets gather round for some traditional games.

Here is the lowdown on the activities checklist you should tick off when in Cambodia for Chaul Chnam Thmey!

Day One - Moha Sangkran

Day one of the Khmer New Year sees Cambodians making their houses spick and span while making offerings through flowers, scented water, incense sticks and more.

Choose to visit some residential streets and take in the atmosphere as families busy themselves with this ritual. While the incense and scents can get a little heavy, unless you have a sensitive nose, let it fill you with positivity and sacredness instead.

If you are lucky enough to be invited to join a family meal, be aware you are participating in a special meal and should be very appreciative of this chance.

Day Two - Vana Bat

Day two would certainly help the local economy, as it is the day to give presents to the elders; parents, grandparents and even teachers receive a little something as an appreciation for what they do for the society and family.

People also give to the poor and offer bigger-than-normal portions of food to monks who beg in the mornings. Like the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne, all grudges are also to be forgiven and forgotten.

Take part by giving some food away to the monks and also local treats to the poor; young children will especially enjoy this.

Day Three - Loeung Sack

On the third day, traditional games are resuscitated and played among the streets. If you are sporting enough to participate, the memory will turn into one of those travel stories you just have to share.

Most games involve teams so this will be a great chance to make new friends and pick up some Cambodian words too! The games aren’t too difficult to learn and you should understand within some minutes of watching and trying it out yourself.

If you wish to close the three days of the Khmer New Year like a local, with permission, help to wash the Buddha statues. The process is said to ensure rain throughout the year for a good rice harvest and health and luck for the locals.


Were you lucky enough to have a local's experience? Tell us!

Type of place: Event
Location: Cambodia

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