On my last visit to the temple of Preah Vihear in March 2009
Remember Preah Vihear
? The amazing Khmer temple on the mountaintop that has been a virtual war-zone since July 2008 as the Thai and Cambodian forces squabbled over it after its listing as UNESCO World Heritage site. Access to the temple from Thailand has been impossible since then, with the entrance-way covered in thick barbed wire and patrolled by troops with heavy weaponry. Well, surprise surprise, it looks like the barbed wire will be removed and the border will re-open next week, or pretty soon anyways. That's the word on the street. The number of visitors from the Cambodian side has increased dramatically in recent months even though the troop presence at the site remains heavy. Now the temple looks as though it will be overrun with Thai day-trippers again in the forseeable future. We shall see. It was very tense when I last visited in March 2009, just an hour or so after 100 heavily-armed Thai troops tried to enter the temple and were repelled. It's one of my favourite Cambodian temple sites, primarily because of its location, though there is still much to see despite it being a battle-zone for the last thirty years between government, Khmer Rouge and more recently, Thai forces. Update:
The opening has been put back a month as the two sides squabble over ticket revenue.
Labels: Preah Vihear