A bid to add three emerging tourist destinations – Battambang, Kratie and Kampot – in Cambodia to the UNESCO World Heritage list was approved by the government in September.
Dubbed Cambodia’s rice basin, Battambang has been gaining a reputation as the country’s cultural hub as well as home to ancient temples, the country’s only surviving bamboo train, a vibrant art scene and stunning architecture. Kratie boasts a hive of endangered wildlife with Irrawaddy dolphins and Cantor’s giant soft-shell turtles calling the 190km stretch of the Mekong River home. Furthermore, the quaint riverside town of Kampot is renowned for its world famous Kampot pepper and boasts a collection of well preserved colonial buildings.
The process for these sites to get on the short-list will take at least five years with restoration work in the three towns completed before then. Industry experts predict that being awarded the titles will be a huge boom to visitor numbers.