Foreign companies and journalists wishing to take photographs in and around Cambodia’s Angkor temples complex must have prior authorisation, temple managers have announced. Worryingly for casual visitors, this new rule can reportedly also apply to tourists who look like they are “planning to profit from their photos or videos”.
A statement from the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (Apsara) said companies and journalists who want to shoot photographs in the Angkor Archaeological Park (which contains the Angkor Wat complex and Bayon Temple) must in future apply for permission at Apsara headquarters. They must also be accompanied by a security guard.
A spokesman for Apsara was quoted as saying that “some people have taken pictures and used them for films and books and leaflets that very badly affect the Angkor site”. Asked for examples of these over the phone by newspaper The Cambodia Daily, he said he couldn’t offer any, as his mobile was low on power.
Perhaps coincidentally, a new code of conduct has just been posted around the temple complex, which, following a recent upsurge in foreigners stripping off for photos, includes a stern warning of criminal punishment for anyone found “exposing sex organs”.
There is some good news for Angkor visitors too. Angkor Wat will begin opening two hours earlier, at 5.30am, from January 1, to allow visitors a better view of the spectacular sunrise. If you’re heading that way in the new year, note that the latest edition of the best guidebook to the region, the DK Cambodia and Laos Eyewitness Travel Guide, will be published on January 16.