Khmer New Year Tourism Up in Siem Reap
By | April 14, 2014

A giant traditional sticky rice cake weighing two tons, the largest num ansorm ever made, was unveiled at the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap province yesterday as visitors flocked to the area to mark Khmer New Year. 

A giant traditional rice cake weighing two tons, the largest num ansorm ever made, is displayed yesterday at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap province. (Chhay Sophal)

A giant traditional rice cake weighing two tons, the largest num ansorm ever made, is displayed yesterday at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap province. (Chhay Sophal)

Ngov Sengkak, director of the provincial tourism department, said that the enormous cake, which is often made for special occasions, was the perfect way to celebrate the increase in visitors—and entice many more.

“We organized a big parade to transport the two-ton num ansorm to showcase it in front of the main Angkor Wat temple as part of the events to attract tourists, but it is also hugely symbolic for tourism in the province,” Mr. Sengkak said.

Visitor numbers for the three-day holiday period starting today, calculated based on hotel bookings, are up significantly this year, from 170,000 in 2013 to between 250,000 and 300,000 in 2014. Mr. Sengkak said that 14,000 hotel rooms and 5,600 guesthouse rooms are booked for the next three nights.

“We have decorated and made the province better this year,” he said.

The record-breaking sticky rice cake, which is filled with mung beans and pork, took chefs at the Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa one week to create at a cost of $7,500, which was raised by local hoteliers and business people, said the hotel’s assistant manager, Chan Sophea.

“We got the idea from a giant pizza made and displayed in Singapore, so we thought of an idea to attract both local and international tourists—and after checking Google and Facebook, we think this is the first time such a big cake has been created,” he said.

Other tourist destinations are also reporting a rise in visitors over the New Year holiday. In Ratanakkiri, the number of tourists arriving was up 11 percent from 2013, with 7,245 people arriving for the holiday this year, according to Thy Chhaydarlin, deputy director of the provincial tourism department.

“The road was not easy to travel in the old days, it took almost a day and night until about 2005. But now, if you leave Phnom Penh at 7 a.m., you will get here at 3 p.m.,” he said.

Nuon Bunthol, director of the Preah Sihanouk intersectoral division, said that new year tourism to Sihanoukville was about the same as last year, with more than 10,000 people visiting, and 3,000 hotel and guesthouse rooms were fully booked.

reaksmey@cambodiadaily.com

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