Since 2016, Angkor Wat tourists have been officially required to be careful about what they should wear during the respectful temple visits. To avoid the awkward or even legally-complicated situations, the temple visitors should follow the new dress code that their shoulders and knees should always be covered.
What to Wear in Angkor Wat and Other Temples in Angkor Archaeological Park
In order to stimulate people to visit the religious sanctuaries with respect, and also esteem the Cambodian culture, starting from 04 August 2016, all visitors are required to wear skirts or pants below the knees and the shirt or T-shirts that covers the shoulders, announced by Apsara Authority. In the other words, it means your knees and shoulders must not be exposed because this is considered as a sign of disrespect to the spiritual temples as well as the intangible deities.
In that sense, guests cannot buy an Angkor Pass if they wear the “revealing clothes,” and the authorities on the spot will inform them of what to wear to be eligible to visit the sanctuary. Then, they can change the clothes appropriately, come back, and buy the Pass to explore the archaeological sites if still interested. According to the local authority’s belief, if visitors wear the appropriate clothes when they visit Cambodian sacred temples, it might mean a sign of respect for Cambodian national heritage, Cambodian culture, and traditional values. For the dress code rule to be applied reasonably, those involved in the tourism industry would need to be informed so that they can advise guests in advance.
This code of conduct is implemented in response to the foreigners who take semi-nude photos in front of the antique and honored temples, which might desecrate the religious sites. Not only do the Cambodian people feel upset about those kinds of disrespectful activities, but the other tourists will feel uncomfortable to watch the “revealing figures” who do not understand or know the differences between the temples and the beaches. Those who dress like going to the beaches will be not allowed to buy the Angkor Pass, which means the ticket sellers will not sell the ticket to them. And even if they successfully sneak in with the valid Pass, they might be reminded to watch their clothes; otherwise, they will be invited to get out of the sacred places.
The “revealing clothes” might include the ones that reveal thighs, knees, back, shoulders, and even the ones without corset. Many photographs of the foreign tourists who were semi-nude and even nude was posted online, and in this vibrant online social media, Cambodian authority announced to prevent and stop those kinds of activities. There were even guests captured due to their acts of being nude in the Angkor Park. They were penalized as an example and expelled from Cambodia. Thus, to avoid putting yourself into trouble, keep this dress code in mind. There are many tops and bottoms that meet the requirements and make you look best.
How Tourists and Those Involved in Tourism Industry Respond to Angkor Wat Dress Code
Saying about this to the point, Angkor Wat dress code is welcomed by most of the tourists and people working in the tourism industry. They all agree that Angkor ancient ruins are not just the tourist attraction but a place of worship and a national icon appeared on Cambodian flag. The launch of this dress code rule is a positive move to mark the significance of respect toward a nation’s spiritual places and culture.
More Tips for You to Visit Angkor Wat and Other Temples
Around 10km from Siem Reap city, the drive to Angkor Archaeological Park is one of the musts to do in Cambodia itinerary. The highlights of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, The Bayon, Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm, Pre Khan, Banteay Kdei, etc., ensure you to have the greatest temple exploration ever. Before you step into this impressive temple world, read the following tips so that the visits go best.
- Be prepared to walk a lot. With an area of 400 square kilometers including more than 1.000 temples and pagodas of various sizes and the distance among the ruins is a bit far, the Park requires a lot of walking. It takes time to walk around the ancient ruins; therefore, make sure you wear the good walking shoes. Though you can take advantage of the tuk-tuk services or rent a bicycle to move around the temples, wearing the good shoes will benefit you a lot. In that sense, the high-heel shoes are not the suitable options at all.
- Bring a light backpack with water bottles. Especially from April to May, make sure you bring water bottles to keep yourself hydrated and avoid being thirsty.
- Consider the 3 Day Pass. While the 1 Day Pass (US$37 / person) might be too short to discover dozens of the marvelous temples, the 7 Day Pass (US$72) asks you to spend a week in the archaeological park which might only be suitable to the archaeologists. Therefore, the 3 Day Pass (US$62) is the best-seller that most visitors select. It offers enough time to reveal the outstanding temples in the Angkor complex.
- Keep Angkor Pass with you during the trip. Please note that if you lose the Pass, you will have to incur a penalty. Also, know that the 3 Day Pass is only valid in a week.
Angkor Wat, the 12th-century temple, is the world’s largest religious monument ever built that attracts hundreds of tourists every year. The significance of Angkor Wat and other temples in the archaeological park is unique and irreplaceable that demands tourists to respect or at least not to do anything to desecrate the sanctuary. Whatever styles of fashion that Angkor Wat tourists like, as long as you have knees and shoulders covered, enjoy the temple visit and let your imagination fly while you are walking among the ruins of Khmer Empire. Now, put the appropriate outfits into your luggage and expect a great tour to Angkor land!