King Norodom Sihamoni at the event (Source: VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Nearly 300 boats are participating in Cambodia’s traditional boat race which started along a stretch of the Tonle Sap river that runs in front of the royal palace in Phnom Penh on November 2. 

The opening ceremony was attended by King Norodom Sihamoni, National Assembly Presient Heng Samrin, President of the Cambodia Senate Samdech Say Chhum, and Prime Minister Hun Sen among others. 

More than 12,000 security personnel have been mobilised to keep order in the city during the three-day event. 

The traditional boat race is the focus of Cambodia’s water festival, the biggest annual festival in the country. The race, dating back to the Yayvarrman reign in the 12th century, marks the Tonle Sap River’s annual change of direction. 

On the last day of the water festival in 2010, more than 350 people were killed in a stampede on an overcrowded bridge.-VNA