The aroma from the spicy Indian food wafted into our nostrils as we listened attentively to An Seyha talking about the city of Phnom Penh. An Seyha is the Tourism Officer in-charge of Phnom Penh’s tourism. He talks passionately about his city, how it is well connected by air, road, and through waterways and is the gateway to a rich offering of culture, nature, art, and architecture across Cambodia.
Khmer New Year’s Celebrations
“Our New Year celebrations are held in April to coincide with the second harvest, it is a celebration to welcome the New Year and seek blessings from God.” It is called Khmer New Year. “It is a festival that lasts 3 days, and is a good time to visit the city to participate in the joyful celebrations,” says An Seyha with a smile. “During the festival, people prepare a lot of food, which is then offered to the monks at various Pagodas hoping that through them, the food will reach their ancestors,” continues An Seyha as we listen all years to his description of how the Cambodian New Year is celebrated.
Cambodia is a country that has a very rich history and heritage. The world is well aware of the famous temples of Siem Reap, including Angkor Wat, but there is much more to the country.
Phnom Penh – The capital of Cambodia
Phnom Penh itself is an enigmatic blend of the traditional and the modern. Temples rub shoulders effortlessly with modern malls and upmarket restaurants. One moment you are lost in the enchanting charm of the traditional Apsara dance at the National Museum and the very next moment you are nursing your Cappuccino at Starbucks in the glitzy Aeon Mall.
The Royal Palace stands in all its grandeur in the centre of the city as a glorious ode to its tradition and culture. The vast lawns near the Independence Monument is bustling with people, some kids kick a football around while some engage in the traditional game of Duerto Sai, which is a version of Badminton that is played using just the feet. As we stroll around the lawns side, by side with An Seyha, his smile seems to say, “Phnom Penh is the best emerging urban tourist destination in the world”.