A new, largest airport has emerged in Cambodia, aimed at attracting more tourists to the Angkor Wat temple complex. The airport is called Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI) and is located 40 kilometers to the east of Angkor Wat.
It is currently the largest airport in the country and was created to facilitate access for travelers to Cambodia’s most popular attraction.
SAI welcomed its first flights on Monday, October 16, as reported by The Associated Press. The first flight to land at the new airport was a Bangkok Airways flight from Thailand.
Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport is further away from the ancient temple complex than the old airport, which was located just 3 miles from the temples. Cambodian authorities were concerned that the vibrations from frequent flights could damage the foundations of the ancient temples.
This event is considered significant for Cambodia’s tourism development in this historic area. The airport was built as part of an agreement between Cambodia and China and is capable of serving 7 million passengers per year. There are plans for its further modernization to accommodate 12 million passengers annually by 2040.
All of this is happening as Cambodia attempts to recover its tourism figures from before the pandemic. In the first eight months of 2023, the country received around 3.5 million international tourists, which is significantly less than the approximately 6.6 million who arrived in 2019.
Flights to the new airport arrive from various regional destinations, including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore, as indicated by FlightAware tracker.
In addition to Angkor Wat, Cambodia is rich in other less popular temples, such as Mahendraparvata.
And if you want to see Angkor Wat without the crowds of tourists, there are options, such as the Amansara hotel, which takes its guests to the temple at sunrise through a hidden back entrance.
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