A digital guide for the temple of Angkor Wat

At Angkor Wat, many tourists opt for a self-guided tour.
At Angkor Wat, many tourists opt for a self-guided tour. Hong Menea

A digital guide for the temple of Angkor Wat

A mobile app released this week aims to fill in the gaps for visitors who opt out of a traditional tour guide at the temple of Angkor Wat. Angkor App features a map and audiovisual guides to lead visitors through Siem Reap’s most iconic landmark.

The idea for the app was conceived by two volunteers for children’s NGO Anjali House, Don Hodges and Kate Murphy. All proceeds from sales of the app, which costs about $4, go directly to the local organisation.

Angkor App took about a year to put together. In late 2015, Hodges and Murphy conducted a survey of tourists and found that it wasn’t the cost of a tour guide that deterred people from hiring one, but the desire to experience the temple at their own pace.

They presented their research including a real tour guide’s route through the temple – to an English company with experience designing apps for heritage sites in other countries.

The finished product features 16 points around the temple with accompanying photos and audio. The photos are interactive, with each layer revealing more about the history of the site.

“It’s like having your own guide when you don’t want a guide,” Hodges says.

For now, Angkor App only covers the temple of Angkor Wat, but if it is successful, Hodges and Murphy may add other sites. As for downloads, they’re aiming high: last year, over 2 million people passed through the site.

Angkor App is available to download for iPhone and Android. For more information, check out angkorapp.net.

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