Cambodia cracks down on scantily clad visitors to Angkor Wat

Visitors climb the stairs to get to the 12th century Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Visitors climb the stairs to get to the 12th century Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia.PHOTO: JAMSARI AHMAD

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Tourists showing cleavage or wearing skimpy clothes will be banned from Cambodia's famed Angkor temple complex, authorities said Thursday (July 7), after a slew of photos emerged of scantily clad visitors at the sacred site.

From Aug 4 tourists wearing "revealing" clothes will be asked to change or face a ban from the vast site, according to the state agency charged with managing the Angkor complex.

Long Kosal, of the Apsara Authority, explained that clothes considered to be revealing would be "too short - so they reveal buttocks - or not wearing bras, or T-shirts that show the back and upper body".

"The clothes show disrespect to our beautiful culture and tradition," he added.

The decree by the Apsara Authority carried photos showing tourists who appeared to be Western in various states of undress at the site - including a woman walking around in a T-shirt and her underwear.

Angkor is "a sacred place of the national and cultural soul", the statement added.

Last year several tourists were arrested for taking cheeky nude photographs at the Angkor complex.

They received suspended sentences and were expelled from Cambodia.

Their arrests followed a series of photos of Asian women posing nude at ancient Cambodian temples which went viral online, outraging officials who vowed to step up efforts to prevent similar stunts.

The Angkor Archaeological Park, a world heritage site, contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries, and is Cambodia's most popular tourist destination.

It is one of Asia's most visited sites and more than two million tourists travelled to Angkor last year.