The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has announced an immediate ban on riding motorcycles on the ramparts of Angkor Thom in the Angkor Archaeological Park for the protection of the ruins.

In a statement on February 17, the ANA said that in addition to preventing damage to the ancient structure, the decision will facilitate repair work on Angkor Thom’s Ta Kav (West) Gate being carried out by Cambodian experts.

“It is forbidden to ride motorbikes on Angkor Thom’s rampart, except with explicit permission from the ANA. Permission to travel on Angkor Thom’s rampart is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists,” it said.

ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on February 17 that Angkor Thom rampart was not suitable for use by motorbikes. Because the path was used for transporting materials to repair the temple, he speculated that some visitors had thought it was also open to motor vehicles for leisure use.

“Currently, renovations at Angkor Thom are almost complete, so we will not allow motorcyclists to ride on it anymore. We’ll allow cyclists and walkers. The ban on motorcycles will be permanent,” he said.

According to Kosal, Angkor Thom’s exterior wall encloses 3sq km.

Angkor Tour Guide Association president Khieu Thy welcomed the ANA’s announcement for the conservation of the temple.

He said that over time, vibrations created by motorcycles would cause degradation of the temple, noting that is nearly 1,000 years old.

Thy added that activities which damaged the ruins also disrespected the Khmer people’s ancient ancestors who worked hard to build the structures.

“The ban on riding motorbikes is good for the preservation of our ancient temples, but it is still permissible to ride bicycles. Riding a bicycle is a better way to visit the area, and it’s good exercise,” he said.