Tourists heading for Angkor Wat will have to watch what they wear from next month onwards, the Apsara Authority announced yesterday.
In a bid to encourage visitors to respect the sanctity of the temples and Cambodian culture, beginning August 4, visitors will be required to wear pants or skirts below the knees and a T-shirt that covers the shoulders, Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal said.
“We will not allow them to buy a temple pass if they wear revealing clothes,” he said. “However, our officials will inform them what they should wear to be able to visit our ancient temples, so they can come back to buy a ticket later after they change their clothes.
“When visitors dress appropriately during their visit to the park, it means they are showing respect to Cambodian sacred temples, culture and Cambodian women’s values.”
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, approved of the move but cautioned that visitors and those involved in the tourism industry would need to be given ample notice.
“I don’t think it’s a problem for tourists . . . I don’t think they are upset if they are informed,” she said. The measures are part of a broader code of conduct implemented in response to foreigners snapping semi-nude photos at the ancient site and desecrating the temples.
“Those kinds of activities, we are very upset about those, so this rule will help to minimise the impact,” Eang said. “In this country, you cannot do something crazy; you have to respect the rules.”
Sea Sophal, who gives Angkor Wat tours in English, said he welcomed the new rule, saying the temples are not just an attraction but a place of worship. Sin Chaivann, who guides Thai and Korean tourists, agreed the step was a positive one.
“They should respect the culture of the country where they are walking in,” he said.
Additional reporting by Erin Handley