Angkor Wat is one of the most famous temples in the world. Before the coronavirus stopped tourists from travelling around Asia, the 12th century Hindu complex in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province attracted 2.2 million visitors in 2019.
In contrast, Sihanakhon, a temple complex under construction in Thailand’s Buriram province, is not a name many will be familiar with. Unless, perhaps, you are Cambodian and spend time on the internet.
Pictures of the scaffolded structure were recently posted on social media and commentators in Cambodia were quick to condemn its likeness to Angkor Wat. On July 6, Phnom Penh-based English-language newspaper the Khmer Times even went so far as to call it a “replica”, something that the abbot behind the building of Sihanakhon has denied.