Since December 2015, there has been an official code of conduct in place for the temples of Angkor. The comprehensive seven-point code of conduct prompts visitors to behave appropriately for a temple complex in Cambodia. The trigger for this code of conduct was that, among other things, tourists repeatedly exposed themselves in the Angkor areas for the purposes of photographs. When the number of individual cases to number of visitors was compared, an almost worldwide public interest was created in these incidents and it was even reported in the German media. In dealing with such offences, the Cambodian government is not exactly squeamish. Usually there is a prison term, the victim has to immediately leave the country and will receive a ban on entering the country again.
The 7 points in the Official Code of Conduct for Angkor Park
1. Appropriate clothing
Short shorts and sleeveless shirts are forbidden in holy places. This applies of course to the entire archaeological park of Angkor. Incidentally, and whilst I am on this subject, I mentioned this a while ago in an article and it is now one of the most read blog posts. Many travelers are well informed in advance how best to dress for Angkor Park :-) Since August 2016, visitors are unable to buy an Angkor pass, if they are not appropriately dressed at the time of purchase. This can be quite annoying as you will need to come back when dressed correctly.
2. Touch the Monuments
It is in the nature of man to want to touch everything we see. And actually nature has it covered very well. This way in which we can “grasp” things literally. Only there is a significant problem. If in places like Angkor Park there are many hands touching the old stones, they will become greasy and no longer look beautiful. Even though you may want to you should simply look with your eyes and not touch so that they remain intact.
3. Talking loudly
Talking loudly is frowned upon in Cambodia and even more so in Angkor Park. You should refrain from loud shouting, screaming and shrill laughter.
4. Prohibited areas
There are many signs to indicate which areas should not be entered. There is a good reason for this. Most of these safety signs, serve to indicate which areas one cannot assess as a visitor, or which rocks visitors should not climb on. It makes little sense to expose yourself to such hazards.
5. Smoking is prohibited
Since 2012 a total smoking ban throughout Angkor Park has been in place, including outside the temple.
6. Children selling souvenirs
It can be difficult but basically you should not buy anything from children. Often they are kept away from school in order to sell items. Although this may not be true in all families, but there is not usually time to check if this child also attends school. If you want to do something good, then find out about the best local charitable organizations.
7. Photographing Monks
Monks in their orange robes are always a popular sight. Ask them first, do not simply just take a photo. It is very important that women should not touch the monks. Touching of monks clothing is also considered taboo.
Penalties for criminal acts
A special note in the Code of Conduct provides information related to offences such as looting and destruction of any kind, the revealing of an individual’s genitals (including breasts) and complete nudity – all of these offences are considered crimes and are severely punished.
The Code of Conduct is published as a graphic in multiple languages and is in almost every hotel and many restaurants. We do have the English version for your perusal.
More info for your stay in Siem Reap
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