Jared Cahners, an expatriate living in Cambodia for 10 years, woke up early. At 6am, he was at Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument, to see the day dawn.
He recalls, “I [was] the only foreigner to go to sunrise at Angkor that day. There was empty space in all directions.”
With COVID-19 keeping tourists at home, one of the world’s most famous wonders, the 12th-century Angkor Wat and surrounding temples, has been left largely empty for months.
But for those who live in Cambodia, the pandemic has offered visitors to the Angkor Archaeological Park a rare opportunity to explore the temples in peace, quiet and solitude.
The park had over 1.1 million international visitors in the first five months of 2019, but by the end of May 2020, less than 400,000 had visited.
With only 654 foreigners visiting the temples in April 2020, each day saw an average of only 22 international visitors in a 400 square kilometer complex.