Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Angkor Wat attracts ‘over 6K’ visitors for equinox sunrise

Angkor Wat attracts ‘over 6K’ visitors for equinox sunrise

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Siem Reap province received 27,543 national and international tourists in the second weekend of March, up by 48 per cent week-on-week. SUPPLIED

Angkor Wat attracts ‘over 6K’ visitors for equinox sunrise

Over 6,000 tourists descended on Angkor Wat on March 21 to catch the Spring equinox, where visitors and photography enthusiasts were treated to rare sights of the sun rising directly over the top of the temple.

APSARA National Authority (ANA) spokesman Long Kosal told The Post that the twice-yearly event is an important one for Angkor Wat, as it demonstrates the interest of tourists in the “amazing” capabilities of ancient Khmer architects who “gathered their creative ideas” to build a temple that interacted precisely with natural phenomena.

“It shows the amazing way of thinking of previous generations of Cambodians. Our ancestors were incredibly innovative, and that is why so many tourists yearn to come and visit the temple,” he said, adding that the event also reliably brings large numbers of national and international tourists to Siem Reap.

This year, the sun emerged at 6:30am under slightly cloudy conditions, but the searing red sphere could still be observed rising behind the centre of the temple, garnering shrieks of joy from the thousands of visitors gathered at the complex.

The equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat is a significant draw for tourists annually, who visit to take pictures. A twice yearly event, the next equinox will take place on September 22.

The Ministry of Tourism said it considered this year’s visitor figures a sign of “significant recovery” after the Covid-19 crisis caused tourist numbers to plummet for two years.

It noted that the size of the crowd “clearly demonstrates the success of the government’s control of Covid-19 and that Siem Reap is a safe destination for tourists”, it said.

Im Sokrithy, archaeologist and director of the Department of Preservation of Temples in Angkor Archaeological Park, explained that the spectacular image of the sun rising at Angkor Wat was not a coincidence, but a feature of the temple’s design by 12th-century Khmer architects and mathematicians “who prepared the architecture of the temple layout with the intention of adjusting for the natural phenomena”.

Angkor Wat ranks as the number-one best place to watch the sunrise and sunset, with the Haleakala Crater in the US state of Hawaii coming in at number two, according to a recent study by the British sleep website mornings.co.uk.

A Ministry of Tourism report revealed that Siem Reap province received 27,543 national and international tourists in the second weekend of March, an increase from the 18,609 visitors recorded in the week prior.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro