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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - TEMPLE WATCH: Sunset spot becoming a hazard

TEMPLE WATCH: Sunset spot becoming a hazard

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Changes are happening at Phnom Bakheng. This 10th-century hill temple is a favoured sunset spot for thousands of tourists every year, but its popularity is now becoming a problem.

About 3,000 visitors walk up the steep paths daily to watch the sunset. This is causing erosion and wear on the stones of the temple. The steep steps to the upper level are also a hazard, especially when visitors are trying to descend. The main eastern staircase was closed in 2003-04 after it became dangerous at nightfall, and a panoramic path was constructed to give better and safer access.

Something really needs to be done to improve safety and reduce damage to the oldest monument at the Angkor Park. A new sign at the base of the hill outlines new visitor access rules while work is being carried out.

The public has access to the top level is banned after 4pm to reduce pressure at the site, but the best alternative attractions - Phnom Krom and Pre Rup - now need careful management to avoid similar overcrowding.

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