Reapers bored of the usual temple experiences can now chase a ball around Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and through Preah Vihear, not to mention try for a hole in one at Banteay Srei or Terrace of the Elephants.
This is courtesy of Tee Tom’s Angkor Wat Putt, which opened last year providing locals with Siem Reap’s very first miniature golf course.
The aptly-named Mr Tee got the idea after observing the habits of tourists passing through Temple Town.
“Most people come to Siem Reap basically to visit the temples,” he says, “But I found that many of the travellers normally have a one day break from the temples and they want to do something different. Mini golf is just one option for them.”
Mr Tee, who worked as a tour guide and driver for over ten years, had always wanted to run his own business. A chance meeting with an English customer led him to the concept of mini golf.
“We were talking about business ideas in Siem Reap,” he says. “He suggested mini golf. I didn’t understand what he was talking about, so he showed me pictures on his laptop of a mini golf course.”
Recognising that non temple-related activities in Siem Reap were limited, Mr Tee saw a market for Angkor Wat Putt. He spent a year carrying out market research and coming up with ideas before building the 14-hole course featuring putting greens with replicas of nine different temples. The replicas, he says, took longer than the course to make – six months in all.
The idea for replicas of the temples came from his online research – he saw that some courses in other countries featured mini buildings.
“So because Siem Reap is famous for its temples, I thought if I have Angkor Wat and other temples combined with the golf course it will make it unique,” he says.
The course, in a large, attractive garden at the far end of High School Road, is open daily from 8.30am to 11pm.
A game costs $5 for adults and $4 for children and students. There is also a kids’ bouncy castle, and a small bar which Mr Tee plans to expand in due course into a bar and restaurant.