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Vendors near Angkor refuse to move stalls

Vendors from Bakheng Mountain
Provincial representatives (right) talk to vendors from Bakheng Mountain in Siem Reap earlier this week. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Vendors near Angkor refuse to move stalls

Vendors at the foot of Bakheng Mountain, near Angkor Wat, have refused to relocate, saying that new stalls promised by the Apsara Authority are too small and the site is too far away.

Thirty-nine of 60 vendors protested yesterday against the authority’s plans to move their businesses – which mostly sell souvenirs, food and drinks – to about 50 metres behind their current location.

The authority, which manages Angkor Wat, says it’s relocating the “disorganised” traders because they affected the area’s beauty and caused traffic congestion for tourists heading towards Bakheng Temple.

Sov Sokha, a vendor at the site since 2007, said 21 traders had accepted the relocation plan, the deadline for which expired yesterday. The rest were demanding bigger stalls, she said.

“We discussed with each other, and we have demanded the Apsara Authority gives us 2-metre-by-4-metre stalls,” she said.

Yeun Veun, 39, who has been selling souvenirs from the site for two decades, said her 1.5-metre-by-1.5-metre replacement was inadequate, and the new stall is “far from the road”.

The protest was the second since the authority announced its plans in September.

Apsara Authority spokeswoman Choa Sun Kiriya said the relocation provided the traders with a “suitable” place to sell while ensuring sanitation and improving the temple site.

“If tourists dislike our temple site environment they will not come here again,” she said.

She said Apsara would help vendors construct their new stalls and had bought a water pump to spray and manage dust at the new location.

The authority also planned to create a parking area in front of the mountain, she added.

Located about 1.5 kilometres northwest of Angkor Wat, Bakheng Mountain is topped by Bakheng Temple, which was built in the ninth century and today serves as a popular vantage point to watch sunsets.

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