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Photography - Peddlers - Angkor Wat Temple 032

Too many peddlers in Angkor Wat temple causes a problem of its own.

More Tourists Troubles (Peddlers) :

When they’re not sharing tips on where to watch the perfect Angkor sunrise, travel forum contributors are seeking advice on how to avoid crowds. The much-discussed sunrise has become something of a circus and this is part of the tourists troubles Angkor Wat is facing today besides a lists of others.

Expect a raucous scrum as tour guides bellow at their groups, young children scream themselves awake and ringtones pierce the muggy morning air. Not quite the spiritual experience you signed up for. In fairness, world-class sightseeing attractions are always likely to be busy and tourists complaining about tourists troubles is a bit like car owners moaning about traffic jams.

A bigger issue than visitor numbers is disrespectful behavior. Cambodians were enraged last year when a Chinese model was photographed topless beside the ruins. It was one of a number of similar incidents that prompted authorities to announce strict new codes of conduct for tourists. These were accompanied by posters warning that inappropriate behavior such as “exposing sexual organs and nudity in public areas is a crime punishable by law”.

Culturally ignorant tourists are only one side of the story, however. Revenue from ticket sales for the first six months of 2016 exceeded US$31 million, prompting a stream of online posts questioning how much of the money is being reinvested in tourist facilities, restoration work and clearly marked trails.

As one TripAdvisor reviewer put it: “After paying your entry fee, you are left to wander with no information but sellers in your face.”

Ah yes, the sellers. Park management turn a blind eye to Angkor’s army of entrepreneurs. Artisans Angkor may be doing an excellent job of providing livelihoods for Siem Reap’s young people but there are still plenty of persistent child vendors who won’t leave you alone until you buy something. And closely related to the trinket peddler is the scammer. Con artists are so numerous the country is jokingly referred to as Scambodia. Crafty tuk tuk drivers (is there another kind?), fake monks and corrupt traffic police are merely the start of your problems. Authorities recommend informing the park guards if you’re ripped off. Good luck with that one.

More photos of Angkor Wat Temple here.

Our group trip photos in Instagram.

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