Thai Army Rangers on patrol around the perimeter of Prasat Ta Muen Thom
The ill-advised visit by Cambodian PM Hun Sen to Prasat Ta Muen Thom
didn't take place yesterday afterall. The suggestion was that after giving a rousing speech at Preah Vihear, he was going to head further west and visit the 11th century Ta Muen Thom, another temple which Cambodia and Thailand are disputing ownership over. When I visited the temple last October there was no dispute. The Thai Army Rangers were firmly in control conducting armed patrols throughout the temple site and only allowing Cambodian troops to enter if they were unarmed. Whilst it was good to see troops from both sides enjoying some friendly banter and exchanging cigarettes, the Thais hold the upper hand and if Hun Sen or anyone thinks they are going to move out anytime soon, then think again. Don't they say possession is 9/10ths of the law? Whilst a new road has been paved up to the temple area on the Cambodian side, you will have to cross the border-line and walk through a small wooden gate before entering the temple compound itself, all under the beady watch of Thai Rangers. Whether access is available on the day you visit from the Cambodian side will depend on the generosity of the Thai troops in control. Here are some of my photos from my visit to Prasat Ta Muen Thom, with more to follow. You can see some of the destruction wrought on the temple in a previous post here
. It's heartbreaking.
The Thai Ranger on top of the steps is keeping a watchful eye on the border with Cambodia The view of the temple itself from the top step Just beyond the base of the steps is the small wooden gate that signals the entrance into Cambodia territory These are the steps that lead up to the temple from the unofficial Cambodian border crossing A monk contemplates the location of Ta Muen Thom, completely surrounded by forest, and military A reminder of the ever-present threat of landmines in the forest surrounding the temple
Labels: Prasat Ta Muen Thom