Cambodian holidays are inextricably intertwined with Theravada Buddhist ritual. The holidays that really count are Buddhist in origin - not even the Khmer Rouge could eradicate the practice of holidays like Pchum Ben. Even the increasing presence of modern Western culture has done little to change the way the Cambodians celebrate the ebb and flow of life. Cambodian holiday celebrations are, and will always be, all about religion, tradition, and occasionally the Khmer's irrepressible sense of fun.

Cambodia Events and Holiday Calendar in 2022

First of all, let's check out the Festivals, Holidays, and Events Calendar in 2022:

Date Day Holiday
1 Jan Sat New Year's Day
7 Jan Fri Victory Day
16 Feb Wed Meak Bochea Festival
8 Mar Tue International Women's Day
14 Apr to 16 Apr Thu to Sat Khmer New Year (Cambodia's new year)
1 May to 2 May Sun to Mon Labour Day
14 May Sat King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday
16 May Mon Visak Bochea Day
 
19 May Thu Royal Ploughing Ceremony
18 Jun Sat Queen Mother's Birthday
24 Sep Sat Constitution Day
24 Sep to 27 Sep Sat to Tue Pchum Ben
15 Oct Sat Commemoration of Late King Father
29 Oct Sat King Norodom Sihamoni's Coronation Day
7 Nov to 9 Nov Mon to Wed Bon Om Touk
9 Nov Wed Independence Day
The dates in this table are an estimate. We will update this page once the official public holiday dates for 2022 are released.


Top 10 Festival, Events, and Holiday in Cambodia

Below are the 10 biggest festivals in Cambodia throughout the year.

February - Meak Bochea

Meak Bochea celebrates the spontaneous visit of 1,250 monks to do homage to the Lord Buddha. The Buddha had retreated to Valuwan Vihara in the city of Rajagaha, whereupon 1,250 enlightened monks, the Buddha's own disciples, converged without prior appointment or agreement.

The monks heard the Buddha lay down the Buddha's three main principles: Do good, abstain from bad actions, and purify the mind.

Meak Bochea happens on the full moon day of the third lunar month (Magha, corresponding to March on the Gregorian calendar). On this day, Buddhists celebrate Meak Bochea by joining candlelit processions within temples in their vicinity.
The corresponding Gregorian calendar dates for Meak Bochea fall on the following:

  • 2021 – February 26
  • 2022 – February 16
  • 2023 – March 6

Here is everything about Meak Bochea Festival

April - Khmer New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey)

Cambodia grinds to a halt during New Year, drawing families together from all across the country into a celebration that turns wet and wild on the third day.

On the first few days, Cambodians will clean house, prepare food for blessing by the local monks, make merit at the local temple, and (for younger Cambodians) play traditional games with members of the opposite sex.

On the last day, as with similar new year celebrations in Thailand and Laos, young and old alike splash water upon one another to mark the occasion.

Unlike most Cambodian holidays which follow the lunar calendar, Chaul Chnam Thmey follows the Gregorian calendar - celebrated for three days from April 13 to 15.

Here is everything about Khmer New year

April/May - Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Pithi Chrat Preah Neanng Korl)

The Royal Plowing Ceremony is a religious ceremony marking the beginning of the rice-planting season in Cambodia. On this day, the King's representatives plow a field in Phnom Penh with sacred cows, then divine the coming season based on what foodstuffs the cows eat afterward.

The ceremony dates back to the mid-1200s, derived from an ancient Hindu ritual designed to ensure a good harvest. Cambodians believe the ceremony can account for events like floods, bumper crops, famine, and illness.

The plowing ceremony is traditionally held on the fourth day of the sixth lunar month. This corresponds to the following dates in the Gregorian Calendar:

  • 2021 – May 11
  • 2022 – May 13
  • 2023 – May 11
  • 2024 – May 16

Here is everything about Royal Ploughing Ceremony

May 13-15 - King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday

The King celebrates his birthday simply, making offerings to the monks and to the country's poor, but the government celebrates his birthday with a three-day holiday, over which the streets will practically dance with banners and billboards congratulating the King on this auspicious day.

The day of his birthday and the two days following it are national holidays throughout Cambodia.

September - Ancestors' Day (Pchum Ben)

Pchum Ben, the Khmer Festival of the Dead, is actually the culmination of a fifteen-day observance called Dak Ben, throughout which Khmers are encouraged to visit at least seven pagodas to make offerings to dead ancestors and light candles to guide the spirits of the dead to these offerings.

Observant Khmers will also throw a rice-sesame seed mixture onto temple grounds. This observance helps feed the spirits of the ancestors who roam the world on Pchum Ben and are consequently hungry from not having eaten all year.

This holiday is especially poignant for the descendants of those killed by the Khmer Rouge, who pray at pagodas that house unidentified remains from those dark days.

Pchum Ben is celebrated on the 15th day of the 10th month of the Khmer lunar calendar, with celebrations spilling over to the day before and after. These correspond to the following dates in the Gregorian Calendar:

  • 2021 – October 5-7
  • 2022 – September 24-27
  • 2023 – October 13-16
  • 2024 – October 1-3

Here is everything about Pchum Ben Festival

November 9 - National Independence Day

This day marks the anniversary of Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. The celebrations are centered around the Independence Monument at the center of Phnom Penh, where the King lights a victory fire in the presence of the country's politicians, generals, and diplomats.

The celebrations also include cultural activities, parades down Norodom Boulevard, and fireworks in the evening.

November - Water Festival (Bon Om Touk)

The Cambodian Water Festival (Bon Om Touk) takes place once a year, on the full moon of the Buddhist month of Kadeuk (usually in November). It celebrates a major natural occurrence: The reversing flow between the Tonle Sap and the Mekong River. This natural occurrence is celebrated in Cambodia with three days of festivals, fluvial parades, boat races, fireworks, and general merriment.

People come from far and wide to join the celebrations. Upwards of a million Cambodians attend the celebrations at Phnom Penh to take in the wholesome carnival atmosphere. Food and drink overflow in the streets, Khmer pop bands entertain the crowds, and the riversides are packed to capacity with punters cheering their favorite boats on.

Bon Om Touk is celebrated on the full moon of the 12th month of the Khmer lunar calendar. The authorities have canceled celebrations in the past without warning. If the celebrations push through, they will take place on the following dates in the Gregorian Calendar:

  • 2021 – November 18th-20th 
  • 2022 – November 7th-9th
  • 2023 – November 26th-29th
  • 2024 – November 14th-16th 

Here is everything about Bon Om Touk - Water Festival

May - Vesaka Bochea (Buddha's Birthday)

Vesaka Bochea is a single day that commemorates three events in the Buddha's life: his birth, enlightenment, and passing into Nirvana. On Vesaka Bochea, Buddhists offer prayers to the Buddha and donate clothes and food to their local monks.

This holiday is one of Southeast Asia's most beloved, celebrated in areas where Buddhism has a strong following. 

In Cambodia, Vesaka Bochea is celebrated on the full moon of the sixth month of the Khmer lunar calendar. The corresponding Gregorian calendar dates for Vesaka Bochea fall on the following:

  • 2021 – May 24th 
  • 2022 – May 16th
  • 2023 – May 4th 
  • 2024 – May 22nd 

Angkor Festival – Celebrating Artists

A popular festival in Cambodia, the events of this festival are a delight to watch. Many dignitaries and sometimes the King himself attends this event. Performers from every part of Asia put together a performance showcasing their talents.

The performances are based on the great epic stories derived from ancient myths.

The performers look wonderful wearing their own national costumes recreating historic stories with musical and rhythmic backgrounds.

This creative storytelling event takes place in one of the most exquisite locations, Angkor Wat.

Sea Festival – Sports Event

Sea festival or water festival Cambodia is celebrated every year in the month of December on any of the four Cambodian coastlines.

This event which first took place in the year 2011, organizes many sports event for the visiting tourists including, motorboat racing, swimming, Cambodian martial arts, half marathon, and beach volleyball.

The event celebration begins before the new year, starting at dawn and continuing till dusk.

Sea Festival, which is the popular festival in Cambodia is a joint venture of the Ministry of Tourism, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Ministry of Fine Arts & Culture.

The 6th Sea Festival is scheduled to take place in the Kep Province in Cambodia.

Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals in Cambodia

Q. What is the most important festival in Cambodia?

A. All traditional festivals like Khmer New Year and the Sea Festival in Cambodia are the important festivals there.

Q. What is water festival in Cambodia?

A. Bon Om Touk is a water festival in Cambodia which marks the reversal of the flow of the river Tonle Sap .

Q. What is the language of Cambodia?

A. The official language of Cambodia is Khmer.

Q. How wealthy is Cambodia?

A. Cambodia is currently one of the poorest countries in the world.

Q. What do they eat in Cambodia?

A. Seafood is popular in Cambodia.

Q. What is the best time to visit Cambodia?

A. The best time to visit Cambodia is during the winter season of the spring season. Months from November to February are considered as the best months to visit Cambodia.

Here is the guide for exactly when and where to go in Cambodia throughout the year

Q. When is King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday celebrated?

A. Every year, King Norodom Sihamoni’s birthday is celebrated from 13th May to 15th May.

Q. What is the rainy season in Cambodia?

A. The months from May to October are considered the rainy months in Cambodia. September is the wettest month of all.

Here is the guide for exactly when and where to go in Cambodia throughout the year

image
24-hour response
guaranteed!
REQUEST A FREE QUOTE

My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!

Comments
SIMILAR BLOG ARTICLES

Preah Vihear Temple (Prasat Preah Vihear) is an ancient Hindu temple built during the period of the Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple is in Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles.

Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north–south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province, though it is no longer accessible from Thailand.

On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

...more

Deep in the forests of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, the elegant spires of an ancient stone city soar skyward above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Khmer Empire’s various capitals thrived here from the 9th to 15th centuries, while their rulers presided over an empire that stretched from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam. Including forested areas and newly discovered “suburbs” Angkor covers more than 400 square kilometers.

Though just one of hundreds of surviving temples and structures, the massive Angkor Wat is the most famed of all Cambodia’s temples - it appears on the nation’s flag - and it is revered for good reason. The 12th century “temple-mountain” was built as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is an architectural triumph laden with artistic treasures like the bas-relief galleries that line many walls and tell enduring tales of Cambodian history and legend.

In other parts of Angkor such art depicts scenes of daily life - offering scholars a precious window into the past.

Reading the below epic guide for Angkor Archaeological Park, you will have all the information you need from its history, maps, best time to visit and so on to have the best out of your Angkor tours

...more

Banteay Kdei Temple (Prasat Banteay Kdei), meaning "A Citadel of Chambers", also known as "Citadel of Monks' cells", is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. 

Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII (who was posthumously given the title "Maha paramasangata pada"), it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister.

This Buddhist monastic complex is currently dilapidated due to faulty construction and poor quality of sandstone used in its buildings and is now undergoing renovation. Banteay Kdei had been occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries till 1960s.

...more

Just east of Angkor Thom’s Victory Gate is Chau Say Tevoda. It was probably built during the second quarter of the 12th century, under the reign of Suryavarman II, and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It has been renovated by the Chinese to bring it up to the condition of its twin temple, Thommanon.

...more

Thommanon Temple is a Hindu temple site that's covered in intricate carvings and surrounded by forests in Angkor. The temple is in relatively excellent condition, thanks to extensive restoration work in the 1960s.

It was constructed about the same time as Angkor Wat. The style of architecture is quite evident in the towers and carvings, which are in very good condition. During the rainy season, the dampened sandstone offers great photo opportunities.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex dates back between the 11th and 12th centuries. It is about 600 metres east of the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, just opposite Chau Say Tevoda. Even before restoration, Thommanon was in much a better condition than Chau Say Tevoda. Unlike the latter, which was built using wooden beams enclosed in stone, Thommanon Temple's entire structure was made out of stone. 

...more

Koh Ker is a remote archaeological site in northern Cambodia about 120 kilometres (75 mi) away from Siem Reap and the ancient site of Angkor. It is a jungle filled region that is sparsely populated. More than 180 sanctuaries were found in a protected area of 81 square kilometres (31 sq mi). Only about two dozen monuments can be visited by tourists because most of the sanctuaries are hidden in the forest and the whole area is not fully demined.

Koh Ker is the modern name for an important city of the Khmer empire. In inscriptions the town is mentioned as Lingapura (city of lingams) or Chok Gargyar (translated as city of glance, or as iron tree forest).

Within this article, you will learn everything about Koh Ker before visiting this ancient temple ruin.

...more
NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below the detailed information for our different destinations, our plans by travel theme or time frame to learn more before moving forward...

places to visit in Cambodia
Siem Reap
bee-white Siem Reap

Tonle Sap Lake
bee-white Tonle Sap Lake

One of the most fish abundant lakes in the world and supports 360 floating villages and thousands of waterbirds.

Phnom Penh
bee-white Phnom Penh

Battambang
bee-white Battambang

Sihanoukville
bee-white Sihanoukville

Koh Rong Island
bee-white Koh Rong Island

Cambodia PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
bee-white Must-see

Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury
bee-white Luxury

Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
bee-white Wellness & Leisure

Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
bee-white Cruise

The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Cycling
bee-white Cycling

Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon
bee-white Honeymoon

Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Unseen
bee-white Unseen

Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
bee-white Trek & Hike

Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Family
bee-white Family

The combination of fun and educational activities

Cambodia PLANS BY TIME FRAME
white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
image
Already got a plan? REQUEST A FREE QUOTE
Cambodia TRAVEL TIPS & GUIDE

Either are you wondering about best time to visit, visa policy, or how to get the cheapest flight, we have your back!
WHAT MORE? Choose the country you plan to visit, then search for your nationality below to see our special travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

Best Time to Visit
bee-white Best Time to Visit
Tourist Visa Policy
bee-white Tourist Visa Policy
Budget & Currency
bee-white Budget & Currency
Getting Flight There
bee-white Getting Flight There
Getting Around
bee-white Getting Around
Vaccinations
bee-white Vaccinations
Local Etiquette
bee-white Local Etiquette
Safety & Precautions
bee-white Safety & Precautions
Tipping Customs
bee-white Tipping Customs
Useful addresses
bee-white Useful addresses
Internet & Phone
bee-white Internet & Phone
Buying & Bargaining
bee-white Buying & Bargaining
Packing List
bee-white Packing List
Travel Insurance
bee-white Travel Insurance
CHECK OUT OTHER DESTINATIONS
Vietnam
bee-white Vietnam
A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
Thailand
bee-white Thailand
Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Myanmar
bee-white Myanmar
It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
Laos
bee-white Laos
Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
loading
back top