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Letter: Koh Ker changes threaten its atmosphere

Editor,

As a regular visitor to Koh Ker; arranging and leading adventure and photo tours,

since Koh Ker opened up to tourism in 2004, I would like to make some observations

on the article in the Phnom Penh Post (Nov 30, 2007).

Koh Ker is being developed as a major tourist destination and as a result  there

have been big changes here.

The temples are being made fit for mass consumption and as a result the clearance

of vegetation and tidying up has reduced the jungle temple atmosphere somewhat. Certainly

there must be some consideration to the health and safety of visitors; the mine clearance,

food facilities  and well maintained toilet block are welcome. Some protection

against unsafe structures is already happening; which is necessary and to be applauded.

The  tourism development are going to have benefits for some  of the local

population. Certainly the improved road links will benefit everyone. 

I am not convinced that it will ever be a major tourism destination. There are so many

temples at Angkor to visit;  Koh Ker has to be kept special and different  to

attract people.

People visit Koh Ker  because of its remoteness,  jungle atmosphere and

lack of tourists.  

The destruction of vegetation surrounding the temples leaving a dust bowl instead

of  greenery is disappointing.

I do hope the authorities plant some grass around the temples to enhance the appearance.

Take away that special atmosphere and it will just become another set of brick and

stone ruins, which offer little that cannot be found in the Angkor Park.

 
Dave Perkes Proprietor, Peace Of Angkor Villa, Siem Reap

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