Thai Military builds Preah Vihear replica; quickly demolished soon after

Replica Preah Vihear in Si Sa Ket Province. Source: Bangkok Post 20160425

A local Thai military commander builds a small replica of Preah Vihear near the original temple in the Thai side of the border in the hopes of boosting domestic tourism. But just as the attraction is set to open, the replica is shut down for fear of conflict with Cambodia. It’s been five years since hostilities ceased between the two countries over the World Heritage Site, and this episode shows how sensitive the issue remains in the region.

Replica Preah Vihear in Si Sa Ket Province. Source: Bangkok Post 20160425
Replica Preah Vihear in Si Sa Ket Province. Source: Bangkok Post 20160425

Military builds Preah Vihear temple replica
Bangkok Post, 25 April 2016

Khao Phra Viharn’s replica at Pha More E-daeng will open to public in May
Thai PBS, 27 April 2016

Phrea Vihear temple replica opening put on hold
Thai PBS, 09 May 2016

Commander moved, temple replica to be demolished
Thai PBS, 10 May 2016

Construction of the temple replica built at the cost of five million baht finished just a few weeks ago and open to public for visits briefly before it was ordered shut down by the Army chief.

The temple replica was said to promote tourism to Mor E-Daeng cliff after the original Preah Vihear temple is not yet open to visitors by Cambodia.

The cliff is about 700 metres from the Hindhu temple in Cambodia.

Matichon said Gen Teerachai also ordered the demolition of the temple replica as it might affect the current good relations of the two countries.

He also said the Foreign Ministry had earlier voiced disagreement to the construction of the temple replica.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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