Last updated on September 7th, 2017
Alert : giant ants, grasshoppers and geckos descending on Siem Reap! No, this is not another crazy myth Cambodia is very good at inventing. This is real.
What should you do?
Head to the Psar Chas, the Old Market area, it is the Giant Puppet Parade!
And sure enough, at least half the town is ready for the parade as well, gathering around the Old Market and Pub Street. People have also started to line the banks of the Siem Reap River and corn on the cob sellers have set up stalls around the Independence Gardens, between the Royal Palace and the Grand Hotel. The steam for the corn is going strong and the traffic into town is building up. No place to park… pedestrians are kings tonight!
We aren’t early enough to secure a first floor view from one of the cafés close to the Psar Chas, nor organized enough to bring our own ladder as an elevated platform (some people are!). But we are happy to settle for street level action, and enjoy the easy going crowds gathered on the sidewalks and streets.
As the sounds of drumming approach, the puppets exit Wat Preah Prom Rat and glide above the crowd propped up on long poles.
They slowly make their way around the market, through the infamous Siem Reap Pub Street, and head up the river road all the way to the Independence Gardens. They wave and grin and sway, bobbing like lanterns with their colourful bodies lit up from the inside.
The parade ended up in the Independence Gardens, but the fun was not over yet : the Giant Puppet Parade just turned into the Giant Street Picnic!
The Giant Puppet Parade has been taking place in Siem Reap since 2007. It is a community project that involves children from orphanages, schools and NGOs in the creation of the giant puppets. For more information on the project and how you can help click the Giants Puppets Project!
Not in town for the parade? You can still catch the Giant Puppets –without the puppeteers and the crowds!- in the Independence Gardens, on the green space close to the river. They are a lot less impressive than during the Parade (when they dance around!), but when they are lit up at night, a bit of magic still remains.