PHNOM PENH, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of Cambodian migrant workers began to leave Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, on Wednesday for their home provinces to celebrate the lunar New Year, which falls on April 14, 15 and 16.
They take buses, taxis, boats, and motorcycles as they journey home to enjoy the occasion with their family members.
A 36-year-old construction worker Yan Leap said that the lunar New Year is one of the two occasions he visits his hometown a year.
"I visit my hometowns twice a year--Pchum Ben festival (honoring-the-dead festival) and Cambodian New Year," he told Xinhua while taking a bus to his home in Takeo province, about 80 km south of Phnom Penh.
He said that he had five days off on the occasion.
A native to Takeo province, Ouch Sreynou, 21, who has come to Phnom Penh for university study, said that the Cambodian New Year is the special occasion for family reunion.
"I visit my hometowns only on the occasions of major national festivals such as New Year and Pchum Ben," she said.
Approximately 80 percent of the country's 15 million people live in rural areas; however, most young adults have flocked to Phnom Penh for jobs, mostly in garment and construction sectors.
Phnom Penh is home to about 1.5 million people, most of them are migrants from various provinces. As they leave the city on the occasion, the whole city will be quiet and most of shops will be closed.
Last week, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen called for authorities and armed forces to beef up security during the New Year celebrations.
He also urged people to refrain from splashing water on each other, throwing bags of water on travelers, and painting charcoal or powder on other faces.