October 18, 2023
PHNOM PENH – The Spean Harl – the central bridge to Angkor Wat Temple – is scheduled to be reopened in early November. A repair team is working hard to prepare appropriate barriers to ensure the safety of the many tourists who will use it to access the ancient temple.
Tourism industry insiders have expressed the view that the bridge will attract even more visitors to the famed temple.
Long Kosal, spokesman for the APSARA National Authority (ANA), explained on October 16 that the bridge had been closed to the public as it was very old, the paving stones were no longer all level and the foundations were extensively damaged.
The ANA instructed a repair team to strengthen the foundations. They made several structural improvements and ensured that the surface of the bridge was even flatter to enable the ease of walking of visitors.
“We have also build guardrails to guarantee their safety. We were afraid that they may become too enthralled by the beauty of Angkor Wat and forget to watch their step. We need to make sure everything is ready before we officially open it to the public,” said Kosal.
After construction of the bridge is completed, tourists will be able to walk directly to the front of Angkor Wat.
Koal explained the extraordinary fact that the reopening would mean that people living in the 21st century would be able to walk on the same bridge used by the people of the 11th century.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin believed the re-opening of the bridge will enable more visitors – both domestic and international – to appreciate the unique beauty and scenery of Angkor Wat from a completely new perspective.
“When this bridge is open, it will attract more domestic and international tourists. Thanks to the extensive work, there are no safety concerns about the age of the bridge,” she said.
The first phase of the bridge repair project began in 1996, through cooperation between Japan’s Sofia University and the ANA, and was completed in 2007.
The temporary floating bridge was completed in 2017, and can hold more than 6,000 people.