Feb 10 2013
Puppet construction is well under way and the marching bands are booked. Whether you have planned it deliberately or just happen to be in Siem Reap for the 2013 Giant Puppet Parade on February 23, getting a good vantage point on the night is crucial if you want to see and hear the parade in all its glory — for the first time ever, all the puppets will be wired for sound as well as rigged for lighting. Here’s a rundown on how to catch the best of the action.
It all starts at 19:00 outside The Warehouse Bar in the old town, with its prime upstairs balcony seating, then heads along the Old Market or Psar Chas until it reaches Cafe Central. Here it makes a right turn towards The Red Piano, which has more upstairs seating in its commanding corner site, although the proliferation of electricity cables may obscure your view a little and can make taking photographs a bit of a challenge.
At The Red Piano, the parade turns right again into Pub Street where proceedings take a breather for around 20 minutes so everyone can get a good look at the puppets. There are myriad upstairs seating options for the best views on Pub Street, but it pays to arrive early or even consider booking a table with a view well in advance.
At the end of Pub Street the parade makes another right turn and heads toward Old Market Bridge, crossing the always festively lit Siem Reap River and turning left to head north under the trees lining River Road East. Good viewing spots along the river abound and include the upstairs terrace at Fresh at Chilli-Sidang and, rather appropriately, the streetside terrace at the Angkor Photo Cafe. If you really want a comfortable and more private ringside seat, then book yourself into one of the river-facing apartments at The Karavansara Retreat and Residences, many of which come complete with wide balconies overlooking the route.
At the junction with National Route 6 the parade makes a final left turn towards The Royal Residence and finishes on the fragrant manicured lawns between Avenue Charles de Gaulle and the river where all the children taking part are treated to specially laid-on live entertainment.
The parade takes about an hour to complete its full circuit, and if you follow it all the way you can take a leisurely stroll along the river back to the old town for a bite to eat in less than 20 minutes.
If your trip to Siem Reap doesn’t coincide with the parade itself but you want to lend your support, you can buy raffle tickets for the parade’s fund-raising draw and walk away with a great prize as well as a good dollop of feelgood. Tickets have just gone on sale at a number of venues around town including Miss Wong’s, Abacus and The Warehouse Bar, and organisers are expecting around 30 prizes to be up for grabs.
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