TO DO Award 2020 Banteay Chhmar Community Based Tourism, Cambodia
The temple complex of Banteay Chhmar, after which it was named, is at the heart of the Banteay Chhmar Community Based Tourism Initiative in the North West of Cambodia. The temple complex built in the 12th century is regarded as one of the country’s most important cultural treasures. Unlike in Angkor Wat one can enjoy the mystical charm of the temple more or less on one’s own. In this unique setting the villagers of the four adjacent communities offer authentic insights into village life – from the Khmer era to the present day. They welcome tourists in their home stays, take them on their traditional ox carts to harvest paddy, or show them how to prepare local specialities.
In 2006, the villagers launched the initiative with the help of the French NGO Agir pour le Cambodge. Since then a democratically elected committee has been managing all the touristic activities. The objective is to create additional income opportunities apart from manioc and paddy cultivation. More than 90 families directly benefit from jobs in tourism. A village development fund is used to finance measures that benefit all villagers, e.g. English classes, or a waste disposal and recycling programme for plastics. In this way the initiative contributes significantly to opening up economic perspectives, improving the living conditions and preventing labour migration to the larger cities or to Thailand. What is particularly impressive is the poise and pride of the initially rather reserved villagers, guiding their guests through the temples and their villages.
Mr. Tath Sophal (General Manager)
National Road No. 56A
Banteay Chhmar Commune
Thmor Puok District,
Phone: +855 (0)97 516 5533