The National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV) has expanded its conservation and development plans for the Koh Ker temple complex, located in Preah Vihear province.

The plans include construction of a meditation area and a car parking area for tourists, as well as the replacement of wooden staircases with metal ones.

Kong Puthikar, NAPV director-general, said on January 23 that the authority is also undertaking conservation work on the temple’s towers. A day prior, together with the director and deputy-director of the authority, he conducted an inspection of the site and discussed the plans.

He added that the walls of the temple are also being repaired, with additional work being carried out at Banteay Pi Choan Temple. Archaeology specialists are removing the statues from the temple for cataloguing and further restoration work, before returning them to the temple.

He explained that the replacement of existing wooden stairs with steel ones will not only make them stronger, but will make them safer for tourists to climb.

A new parking lot is also being constructed, about 300m from the temple. The current one is right in front of the temple, raising concerns that it may affect its structure, as well as the overall appearance of the site.

“Both the conservation and development work at the Koh Ker Temple site will contribute to strengthening the temple and increase the safety of visitors. As the work in still in the early stages, no plans have yet been finalised. We will conduct regular progress inspections to determine the remaining steps,” said Puthikar.

He added that the authority also intends to build a meditation and yoga centre at the complex. The authority is considering a number of possible sites for the centre, including Trapeang Ang Khnar, a quiet place which is associated with the values of Buddhism, and the Prasat Thom compound.