Cambodians Reclaim Angkor Wat as Global Lockdowns Continue to Bite

At Cambodia’s crown jewel, there’s “not a single selfie stick in sight” as tourists evaporate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 48 ticket gates at Angkor Wat, and the lady in charge says each one is capable of photographing and processing about 500 foreign visitors a day at one of the world’s top tourist attractions. Khmers don’t need passes.

But these days foreign visitors are rare as global lockdowns and quarantines – prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic – limit visits to the hardy few who opted to remain in Cambodia as the pandemic took hold.

In a way, it’s a blessing for the Cambodians who cherish the 8th to 12th century temples and ruins at Angkor Wat and the site’s history, the foundation of Khmer society and a key reference point for survival during a bleak and bloody 30-year civil war.

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