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
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