Tourists eye Cambodia’s new heritage site as country hopes for economic lift
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Tourists flocked to Cambodia’s newest World Heritage site at the weekend after it was added to the United Nations cultural list last week.
The 16th and 17 th century forest temple of Sambor Prei Kuk is the latest attraction in the country that attracts tourists from all over the world, who often make a beeline for the Angkor Wat temple complex, another World Heritage site.
On July 8, UNESCO added Sambor Prei Kuk or “temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language to its heritage list.
Located 206 kilometers north of the capital Phnom Penh, it is home to numerous temples, 10 of which are octagonal.
UNESCO said Sambor Prei Kuk had been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the ancient Chenla Empire, a Khmer civilization that flourished in the late 6th and 7 th centuries and preceded the Khmer Empire.
It joins the Angkor Archaeological Park and the Preah Vihear temple, located on the Thai-Cambodia border, world heritage sites.
Cambodian tourists visited Sambo Prei Kuk on Saturday. One couple took wedding photos at the site.
“Now that it is listed as the world heritage site, I hope that our people will benefit a lot from this and I say many thanks to our ancestors who built this and kept it for us until this generation,” said Sem Norm, a temple guard, who said he has been taking care of the temples since 1994.
Others hope tourism will help boost the local economy. as
“When we have more tourists then the people here can get more income by selling the souvenirs and our kids can even learn English language easily,” said tourist Uch Srey Leakhena.
Thousands are expected to celebrate the listing of Sambo Prei Kuk as a world heritage site on Monday.
Tourist arrivals in Cambodia rose 5 percent to 5 million last year. About 5.5 million tourists are expected to visit the country this year.
Tourists visit the Sambor Prei Kuk temple, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site last week, in Kampong Thom province, Cambodia, on Saturday. Thousands are expected to visit the temple on Monday to celebrate its inclusion on the list.