Cambodia’s Tourism Authority (Apsara) is trying to improve the environment in Angkor by banning food to reduce littering.

Siem Reap Shuttle

Food Ban in Angkor Complex

The Cambodian Apsara Authority has banned Angkor visitors from eating food inside of the World Heritage complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

From January to December of 2018, the number of foreign visitors to the park rose to 2.5 million, according to a statement released by the state-run Angkor Enterprise Institute in January 2019. This year, in 2019, there has been a decline in the number of tourists and revenue.

The world-famous Angkor Archaeological Park generated $116.6 million in income from entry tickets last year. That’s an 8% increase compared to the previous year.

It has been difficult to maintain the high standard of cleanliness with the large amounts of visitors that bring in packed meals every day.

To reduce the growing problem of littering, the authorities have banned eating food in the complex.

In a letter, Hang Pov, Apsara Authority director, wished to remind all relevant parties that the Angkor area is a World Heritage Site with many famous temples, especially Angkor Wat, and that eating food in the complex is now banned.

“In order to preserve the precious Khmer legacy and to maintain public order and good sanitation, we ban all food, especially packed meals brought in during sunrise or sunset visits, in the temple complex,” as quoted by the Khmer Times on Monday.

He added that relevant parties like tour operators, tourist associations, and tour guides must inform their guests of the new ban and tell them to not eat meals inside the Angkor temple complex.

tour guide showing guest around in Angkor

On Sunday, Siem Reap provincial environment department director Nuon Mony said that the new ban will help keep Angkor’s environment clean.

“Leftover food and discarded packages litter the temple complex and it affects the environment at Angkor,” he said. “The authority is taking action as part of efforts to protect the environment at the Angkor complex and keep its surroundings clean.”

He further stated that tourists should find appropriate places to eat instead of inside the complex.

Local Siem Reap residents do support the ban. On Sunday, Sou Malin said,

“Some people do not clean up after they eat and they litter the area, which affects the environment”.

This isn’t the first initiative to reduce the littering problem. Back in October 2017, the Apsara Authority banned food vendors from setting up stalls in front of the Angkor Wat temple. Maybe more eco-friendly documentaries and movies shot in Angkor Wat will boost environmental education.

What do you think? How can we improve overall cleanliness in Cambodia?