Cambodian officials have denied that holes were drilled into the walls of Angkor Wat for the installation of light fixtures, which will allow visitors into Angkor until 8.30 at night. The lights are also said to be solar powered, rather than tapping onto the existing electricity grid. Can any recent visitors to Angkor confirm this? It’d be interesting to see how the light setup looks like, and how the atmosphere of the ancient temples change at night. This recent push to extend Angkor’s opening hours comes at a time when visitor revenues have dropped 20% in the first quarter of the year. The Apsara Authority blames the political instability in Thailand for the drop in revenue, but I also suspect that it’s the global downturn that’s having a significant role in the depressed tourism numbers.
New lighting for night visits at Angkor Wat ‘will not damage’ site
Earth Times, 3 June 2009
Angkor Wat revenues down 20pc in Q1
Phnom Penh Post, 2 June 2009
A Cambodian government official on Wednesday rejected claims that the installation of new lights at the 12th-century Angkor Wat temple would cause damage to the building’s structure. Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Cambodian Council of Ministers spokesman, told reporters in the northern town of Siem Reap that reports of large sections of stone being removed for the lighting installation were false.
“This accusation that new holes were created simply is not true,” he said. “The installation will not involve any new holes being drilled.”
He said an official from UNESCO had visited Angkor Wat and approved the new lights, which are part of a drive to attract evening visitors to the temple.