After Cambodian netizens were angered by their use of Cambodian cultural symbols, including the iconic Angkor Wat, as building decorations, which they found unacceptable, a hotel in Koh Phangan issued an apology.
The Koh Phangan Le Palais Hotel was inspired by the grandeur of Angkor Wat, located in Cambodia. Cambodia is our founder’s motherland and always holds a special place in his heart. Thailand is the second place where, in the land of smiles, he find peace of mind.
However, Cambodian social media has been filled with criticism of the Thai hotel, with netizens slamming the Koh Phangan hotel for commercial purposes for the appropriation of Khmer culture and landmarks, including the famous Angkor Wat temple complex.
In response to the uproar, the Culture Office of Surat Thani yesterday declared that it had launched an investigation into the allegations of cultural misappropriation of the hotel, which is located on Haad Rin beach, renowned for its full moon parties. Angkor Wat, which has been listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco since 1992, is the most renowned of the temples in Cambodia and is featured on its national flag.
Located in the province of Siem Reap, the vast temple is part of the Archaeological Park of Angkor, an even greater complex of ruins constructed between the ninth and fifteenth centuries at different stages. For more comment, Le Palais Hotel could not be reached, but the Bangkok Post noticed that it was closed in the aftermath of a coronavirus pandemic and was looked after by its neighbors. The hotel is owned by a Cambodian couple, who have gained French nationality from their husband, and a Thai shareholder.
Vichai Khongmun, president of the Koh Phangan Tourism Association, said the hotel, built in 2014, is in accordance with building regulations. The owners might draw their inspiration from Angkor Wat. I believe visitors would be inspired to visit the real place.