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Sunset-watching at the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia has been limited after overwhelming numbers of tourists threatened to ruin the tranquil scene so many had travelled to see.
The hill at Phnom Bakheng has become so popular with those wanting to watch the sun sink over ancient Khmer ruins that the management team at Angkor were concerned about damage to the temple there.
Now Phoeun Sophoan, the president of Apsara's Tourism Management Agency, has been quoted saying that a maximum of 300 visitors will be allowed at the top of Phnom Bakheng at any one time.
"The authority has also arranged places for tourists to see the sunset on the hill without going up to the temple," he was reported as saying by Agence Kampuchea Presse.
Tour operators welcomed the news.
"We have been directing travellers away from the sunset at Phnom Bakheng for years," said Ethan Crowley from About Asia, "as the views have been hampered by overcrowding for nearly a decade now. I recall my last visit to the summit in early 2013 when I found myself in the midst of a crowd well over a thousand strong, and without any view of Angkor Wat—there has to be a better way.
He suggested instead, seeing sunset at Angkor "on a hand-propelled gondola on the moat of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, with a cool drink at hand - generally just what one wants after a long day of temple exploration."
It is also possible to hire out boats on the 11th century West Baray reservoir, he added. "I suggest a sunset cruise on this ancient lake, taking in the island temple of West Mebon and finishing with a memorable dinner at the Villa Chandara restaurant on the far side."
Almost half of all visitors to Cambodia visit Angkor but tourist numbers to Angkor Archaeological Park have actually only increased by a few per cent over the last few years (by 4.2per cent last year). Ticket prices however almost doubled in price in February, from $US20 to $US37 ($A26 to $A48) for a single day, the first increase in 25 years. Three-day tickets rose from $US40 to $US62 and week-long tickets from $US60 to $US72.
Phnom Bakheng dates from the early 10th century and was built on six tiers on a 70m-high hill. "On a clear day, the climb rewards visitors with views to the natural outcrops of Phnom Krom in the south and Phnom Bok to the northeast, the forest surrounding Angkor Thom, the gigantic West Baray reservoir and the monumental towers of Angkor Wat," The Angkor Guidebook, describes.
The Telegraph, London
See also: Angkor Wat ban on scantily clad tourists
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