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Staircase planned for Preah Vihear

091021_05
Soldiers stand beside a staircase built earlier this year to aid demining efforts at Preah Vihear. Construction of an additional staircase has begun this month in an effort to increase tourist access.

OFFICIALS in Preah Vihear province have hired workers to construct a 3,000-metre staircase to make Preah Vihear temple more accessible to tourists.

Om Phirom, chief of the Preah Vihear Heritage Police, said work on the staircase – which runs adjacent to a stone staircase he described as “ancient” but unusable – had begun two weeks ago, adding that he expected it to be finished before the end of the year.

“We will have this wooden staircase along the old one for tourists to walk up to Preah Vihear temple,” he said. “It is for tourists to enjoy the temple.”

He added: “Tourists, especially foreign tourists, like to do adventure travel, so they will be excited to walk by the ancient staircase.”

Chuch Phoeung, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said the idea for the staircase had come from UNESCO, which in July 2008 approved Cambodia’s application to make Preah Vihear temple a World Heritage site.

Presently, tourists looking to visit the temple must travel along a concrete road that runs northwest of it. The stairs are located on the east side.

Sor Thavy, deputy governor of Preah Vihear province, said Tuesday that he believed tourists would appreciate the different views afforded by the new approach.

“When this stair construction is finished, it will give tourists a chance to see new views, and it will help attract more tourists to the site,” he said.

Om Phirom said he could not disclose how much the project was expected to cost.

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