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Authorities warn holidaymakers against indecent exposure at Angkor Wat

Holidaymakers visiting the Angkor Wat in Cambodia may notice flyers reminding them of the religious significance of the temple complex. The flyers, issued by the Apsara Authority, comes after a handful of incidents where visitors have been exposing parts of their body for their photographs. The most recent incident involved three holidaymakers who were subsequently arrested by temple guards.

Authorities warn holidaymakers against indecent exposure at Angkor Wat

Cambodia is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia and much of its popularity is owed to Angkor Wat, with more the 800,000 holidaymakers visiting Cambodia each year for the opportunity to experience the ancient temple complex. Despite its popularity, it would seem that the religious significance of the site is lost on some travellers.

It has been reported that three holidaymakers were recently arrested by temple guards for exposing their bare bottoms for their photographs at the Angkor Wat temple complex. The recent arrests marks the third of these “mooning” incidents to take place at the site this year alone, much to aggravation of local authorities.

The Apsara Authority- the local body responsible for managing the UNESCO World Heritage site have issued a warning to holidaymakers in the form of flyers reminding them that the site is a sacred one to many in Cambodia.

“This is the first time we’ve had to deal with several situations like this in such a short time. I don’t understand what would drive people to do this.”

Stated Apsara spokesperson Kerya Chau Sun. Whatever the motivation, future travellers should be made aware these incidents have not been taken lightly with offenders facing fines, deportation and possibly even a ban on returning to Cambodia- as was the case for one individual who was placed on a four year ban.

Some have chalked the disturbing trend up to the influence of social media sites like NakedAMonuments and blogs like My Naked Trip. Archeologist Alison Carter, however, is of the opinion that holidaymakers are simply ignorant of the significance of Angkor Wat. Ms. Carter, commented:

“I think tourists frequently forget that the Angkor Archeological Park is not an amusement park, but a place with living communities and many sacred places that are still actively maintained and worshiped.”

Hopefully the latest incident and the subsequent international media attention given to unfortunate trend will serve as a warning to future exhibitionists and may even prompt some to learn more about the ancient temple complex, its significance and the respect that such a site demands.

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