Cambodia Sea Festival: New Year’s Eve

First of all, let me apologise for the atrocious photographs. I didn’t have time to read my manual and didn’t have my reading glasses with me last night, so I winged it.

Crowd gathers at Cambodia Sea Festival, Sihanoukville CambodiaI thought it was going to be nightmarishly crowded at Ochheuteal Beach last night, but although packed, it was possible to navigate through the crowds, thanks in part to the fact that Mithona Street was closed to all but pedestrian traffic and in part to the number of events that were taking place simultaneously, which spread the crowds out.

Candlelit sand castle at Cambodia Sea Festival, Sihanoukville, CambodiaWe headed first to the beach, when fireworks were going off all around us – some of them impromptu and some more elaborate. While I enjoyed the fireworks like everyone else, this candlelit sandcastle was my favourite “display.”

Close up of stage at Cambodia Sea Festival, Sihanoukville CambodiaFrom there, we moved to the main stage area. When we got there, a fashion show was taking place, followed by models in elaborate costumes depicting Cambodian wildlife. We were able to watch it thanks only to the big screen TV. I had Luna propped up on my shoulder so she could see everything, so wasn’t able to get any photos of that, but I was able to take a couple of shots of the next performance, which featured a bunch of young Cambodians with, oddly enough, surfboards. I say “oddly” because there are no waves in Cambodia, so it didn’t seem like a very appropriate image for the Cambodia Sea Festival.

Speaking of the Cambodia Sea Festival, I’ve been mistakenly calling it the Sihanoukville Sea Festival because that’s what everyone in Sihanoukville calls it. The whole of the Cambodian coast has been accepted into the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, not just Sihanoukville, so Cambodia Sea Festival is really a more appropriate title for what will no doubt continue to be a yearly event.

Luna was showing signs of wear by 9pm, so we walked back through the arch, down the street and back to our motorbike and headed home. The traffic, while horrendous, was not life-threatening, so we arrived home safe and sound and watched some more of the festivities being broadcast live on TV. Later, after both the children were sound asleep, we went out on the balcony and watched a couple of fireworks displays. Our balcony is the perfect viewing platform, but unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures.

I don’t know whether the guests appreciated it or not, but the main stage was right opposite one of the biggest hotels on Mithona Road, the White Beach Hotel. I love the look and name of this hotel and will be adding it to my list of Sihanoukville Accommodations soon.

Archway at Cambodia Sea Festival, Sihanoukville Cambodia

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About Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider is a writer based in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where he has lived since 2006.
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