Cambodian Pagodas: A Beacon of Cultural Tourism

Cambodia’s pagodas are set to be transformed into vibrant hubs of cultural exploration for both local and international tourists. Spearheaded by the Cambodia Hotel Association (CHA) and its collaborators, the initiative will celebrate Cambodia’s rich history, traditions, and religious heritage while offering visitors an immersive cultural experience.

Find out more of the best thing’s to do in Cambodia 

Hy Sothea, President of CHA, emphasized the mission to showcase pagodas as focal points for tourism, highlighting their cultural and historical significance to attract global visitors. The goal extends beyond mere tourism promotion; it encompasses sustainable tourism practices, emphasizing the beauty and importance of Cambodian culture.

In early March 2024, CHA partnered with the Cambodia Investor Contractor and Architect Association (CICAA), signaling a commitment to elevate tourism and hospitality standards nationwide. Together, they envision Cambodia as a premier destination for cultural tourism, where visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility and spirituality of pagodas while contributing to local economies and community development.

Seng Bunvirak, Co-founder of CICAA, stressed the collaborative efforts to promote tourism activities that incorporate tradition, culture, and religious practices. Tourists are encouraged to engage in various activities at pagodas, from offering rice to monks to participating in celebrations, enriching their cultural experience.

Chhay Sivin, President of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), echoed support for the project, emphasizing its importance in fostering tourism development. Pagodas serve as living reflections of Cambodia’s history, traditions, and social practices, offering visitors opportunities for cultural immersion and spiritual reflection.

Sustainable Travel Practices

The initiative aligns with Sustainable Travel International’s recognition of Cambodia’s cultural richness and emphasizes sustainable travel practices for an enriching experience. Nith Kosal, co-founder of Sethakech and an economic researcher, applauded the use of pagodas to promote tourism but urged for unique offerings distinct from neighboring countries.

The project’s objectives extend beyond tourism promotion; they encompass the preservation and conservation of Cambodia’s pagodas for future generations. Sothea emphasized the project’s role in economic development, job creation, and community empowerment, while also fostering education and awareness about pagodas’ cultural significance.

Initial efforts will focus on pagodas in Phnom Penh before expanding to other regions, including Siem Reap and Kampot. Community engagement and collaboration are central to the project’s success, with plans to involve local stakeholders, government authorities, and businesses in cultural tourism initiatives.

Looking ahead, the project aims to stimulate significant growth in cultural tourism, with improved infrastructure and increased community involvement. Recommendations for government support, media promotion, and partnership building underscore the project’s commitment to sustainable tourism and cultural preservation.

Find out more of the best places to eat & drink in Cambodia here

The transformation of Cambodia’s pagodas into cultural tourism hotspots signifies not only a boost for the tourism industry but also a celebration of Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage and traditions, inviting visitors to explore, learn, and immerse themselves in the essence of Cambodian life.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.

Share This Article