More than 400 first aid kits were distributed to tour guides in Angkor Archaeological Park last week in an effort to provide emergency medical care to visitors stricken by minor ailments such as cuts or heatstroke.
Prepared by Apsara Authority, the 413 first aid kits contain items such as iodine, gauze, bandages and Tiger Balm. They came with a two-week training course conducted by a team of more than 20 volunteer U.S. doctors, said Long Kosal, a spokesman for the authority.
“As for the weather in Cambodia, sometimes it is steamy, sometimes it is windy and sometimes it is rainy,” Mr. Kosal said. “In our temples, there are uneven areas, so it can cause twisted legs and arms.”
The kits are meant to provide guides and officials with tools to assist customers while waiting for an ambulance from Siem Reap about 7 km away. More than 1 million visitors visit the park annually.
While serious accidents are rare in the park, a Chinese national was evacuated to Bangkok early last year after falling down a flight of stone stairs at Angkor Wat and suffering a brain hemorrhage.
Some in the park hailed the kits as a welcome means of serving their clients.
“I think that it’s a good idea, because all sectors who serve tourists should have understanding of what this so-called ‘first aid’ is,” said Ly Heang, head of the Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association.
Others were less certain about the kits’ potential.
“Guides, we’ve always taken along our own medicine to help the tourists a little bit,” said Tok Nhoeun, a tour guide who has worked in the park for 16 years. “I personally take along hand sanitizer and Tiger Balm.”
Europeans climbing on the temples without a guide occasionally fall, “but it’s not a big deal—maybe they’re hurt a bit, but it’s a small thing,” he said.
Mr. Nhoeun said he had never had a customer go to the hospital, and injuries requiring medical care were rare, although heat stroke affected many customers as temperatures often exceded 30 degrees Celsius.
(Additional reporting by Aisha Down)