TOURISTS visiting the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia will have to follow a new dress code from August 4, as authorities try to encourage respect for the sanctity of the UNESCO world heritage site and Cambodian culture.
According to Phnom Penh Post, the Apsara Authority announced on Wednesday that visitors must wear trousers or skirts that fall below the knees, and tops that cover the shoulders from next month onwards, or they will be denied entry to the temple premises.
Apsara Authority spokesman, Lond Kosai, said: “We will not allow them to buy a temple pass if they wear revealing clothes. However, our officials will inform them what they should wear to be able to visit our ancient temples, so they can come back to buy a ticket later after they change their clothes.”
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) July 7, 2016
The new rules appear to be more specifically aimed towards female tourists, as Long added that visitors who dressed appropriately showed respect for the sacred temple, as well as Cambodian culture and “Cambodian women’s values”.
In February 2015, two American women and three Frenchmen were deported from the country for taking nude pictures of each other at the temple in two separate incidents.
Members of both parties received a six-month suspended sentence, and were fined about US$250 each. The incidents pushed the authorities to discuss implementing a broader code of conduct to stop people from desecrating the temple’s image.
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said she approved of the move but cautioned that the tourism industry would need to be given ample notice before the rules are set into place.
She said: “I don’t think it’s a problem for tourists… I don’t think they [would be] upset if they are informed.”
Addressing the spate of nude photos, she added: “Those kinds of activities, we are very upset about those, so this rule will help to minimize the impact. In this country, you cannot do something crazy. You have to respect the rules.”