Cambodia is asking visitors of its famed Angkor Wat complex to stop bringing in outside food in an effort to limit littering at the home of the Unesco World Heritage-listed site.
A new rule prohibits tourists from bringing in packaged food during sunrise or sunset visits to the temples, where food remains and rubbish are often left behind by many of the complex’s few million annual visitors.
No penalties will be enforced, however, says Long Kosal, spokesman for Apsara Authority, which manages the 400sq km Angkor Archaeological Park.
“Of course, you can bring in the food but you have to find a suitable place to consume your food,” Kosal says, explaining that people should not eat inside or near temples, which are sacred religious sites.
Apsara Authority was counting on tourists and tour providers to be aware of park rules and respect religious and cultural customs, Kosal added.
The Angkor park includes the remains of various capitals of the Khmer Empire dating from the 9th to 15th centuries, according to UNESCO.
The park is the home of the renowned Angkor Wat as well as the multi-faced Bayon Temple and hundreds of other religious monuments.
Nuon Mony, Siem Reap provincial environment department director, told the Khmer Times that the new ban would help keep the park pristine.
“Leftover food and discarded packages litter the temple complex,” Mony said. “The authority is taking action as part of efforts to protect the environment at the Angkor complex.”
Last year, the park generated US$116.6mil (RM490mil) in ticket sales with some 2.5 million foreign tourists visiting, the Khmer Times reported. – dpa