Thursday, August 7, 2008

Temple high-spots in demise

Flashback... This is yours truly on Phnom Bakheng a decade ago with the towers of Angkor Wat bathed in the late afternoon glow of the setting sun over my right shoulder. On a recent visit to Angkor, I noticed a sign at the foot of the steep steps to Phnom Bakheng and friends tell me that the very summit of the temple - which is overcrowded every day with hordes of tourists enjoying the setting sun over the western baray - is now off-limits to everyone after 4pm. I'm getting it checked out but if the news is correct, that's a major blow to those sunset worshippers, though conversely, good news for the future wear and tear of the temple. Pre Rup and even Phnom Krom could become the new hotspots for those gorgeous Angkor sunsets if Phnom Bakheng is now off the itinerary. This follows on from the closure of the upper level of Angkor Wat - another major punch in the kidneys for tourists visiting the jewel in the Angkor crown - and access to the pyramid tower of Prasat Thom at Koh Ker has also been restricted in recent months, after part of the temple collapsed. Unrestricted access to the Angkor temples, for so long a real bonus for visitors, is fast becoming a thing of the past.


Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Well, the news is that at the moment, sunset seekers are still being allowed at the very top of Phnom Bakheng after 4pm. So the notices that have been posted are not being enforced as yet. Friends were on the top a few days ago though the clouds didn't allow for any great sunset pictures and the trees have been allowed to grow giving a less-than-clear view of the towers of Angkor Wat. If I hear any more, I'll let you know.

August 15, 2008 2:31 PM  

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