The newest and largest airport in Cambodia started commercial operations on Monday. The airport is intended to operate as an enhanced entryway to the nation’s top tourist destination—the centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex in the northwest province of Siem Reap. The first aircraft to land at Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI) was a Bangkok Airways flight from Thailand. The distance between the airport and the tourist place is just 13 minutes.
Fly To Cambodia’s New Airport SAI To Visit Angkor Wat
— lixiuhua（互fo） (@lixiuhua1813571) October 16, 2023
On the first day of operations, 16 more flights were planned to land. The airport features a 3,600-meter (11,810-foot) runway and was constructed at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion on 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of land approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Angkor Wat.
The old airport, which is being closed in part due to concerns that vibrations from frequent flights were destroying the temples’ foundations, is located approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the temple complex. Construction on a replacement airport began in 2020.
With ambitions to expand to accommodate 12 million passengers annually starting in 2040, the new airport can now handle 7 million people annually. It was built as part of a 55-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement between China and Cambodia.
One of the key foundations of Cambodia’s economy is thought to be tourism. The Ministry of Tourism reports that during the first eight months of 2023, Cambodia welcomed approximately 3.5 million foreign tourists, compared to approximately 6.6 million foreign visitors for the entire year of 2019—the final year prior to the coronavirus epidemic. (As per Hindustan Times)
Another Airport To Serve Phnom Penh
The new airport will be formally inaugurated on November 16 by Prime Minister Hun Manet and senior Chinese officials, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vongsey Vissoth, who presided over the event marking the start of operations.
At a cost of $1.5 billion, another airport financed by China is being built to serve the capital, Phnom Penh. Located over 2,600 hectares (6,425 acres) it is expected to be completed in 2024. The new international airport in Phnom Penh was formerly known as the Techo International Airport. (As per Hindustan Times)
Vast Buddhist Temple Complex
The vast Buddhist temple complex known as Angkor Wat is situated in northern Cambodia. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple in the first part of the 12th century, it is spread across over 400 acres. Angkor Wat is thought to be the world’s biggest religious monument.
The name of the place, which means “temple city” in the local Khmer language, alludes to the fact that Emperor Suryavarman II, who controlled the area from 1113 to 1150, erected it as the imperial capital and state temple.
At the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat, was transformed into a Buddhist temple. It was initially devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu.
Even though it is no longer a functioning temple, it is nevertheless a popular tourist destination in Cambodia. It was severely damaged in both previous regional conflicts and the dictatorial government of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. (As per History)
Have you ever visited Angkor Wat?
Cover Image Courtesy: @lixiuhua1813571
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