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Welcoming the Year of the Dragon, by Traveling

A Cambodian dancer wears mash during a merit making ceremony at Cambodia's Ministry of Information in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Around 1.8 million Cambodians took the occasion of the New Year to travel around the country this year, with some sites seeing much higher traffic than previous years.

Cambodian tourists traveled mainly to the coast and the northeast provinces, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

At the Kampi swim site, on the Mekong River in Kratie province, many came to dip, splash around and relax.

Some 400 floating kiosks were to be found on the river, where water flowed over rocks and crowds of swimmers played. The banks were so crowded that some revelers were forced to go elsewhere.

“We came with many family members,” said Kham Vanny, who traveled from Kratie town. “It’s a very happy time. We’ve been swimming.”

About 1 kilometer away, rare river dolphins surfaced.

Water is a traditional hallmark of the New Year in many rural communities, where it is a symbol of renewal.

“I came with 10 family members,” said Heng Vannak, who traveled from Kampong Cham province. “It’s our first time, and we enjoyed it very much.”