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Siem Reap New International Airport

By Unseentra Oct 09, 2023 2386

In the heart of Cambodia, There are the jungles and ancient temples of Angkor Wat, there stands a gateway to the world known as Siem Reap International Airport. This airport had witnessed a century of history, transforming from a humble airfield during the French colonial era to a modern international hub that had seen millions of travelers pass through its gates.

The airport's story began in 1932 when it first opened its runways during the French colonial rule. Back then, it was a modest airstrip used primarily for military purposes and transporting precious cargo. As the years went by, the airport's significance grew as it became a crucial link to Cambodia's cultural treasure, Angkor Wat, and the charming city of Siem Reap.

But the airport's true transformation occurred in 2006 when it was reopened after a significant renovation and expansion. It emerged as a state-of-the-art international airport, equipped with modern facilities, duty-free shops, and efficient immigration services. It quickly became the gateway to Angkor Wat and the thriving tourism industry that had grown around it.

However, as the years passed, the airport faced challenges. Its location, just 5.5 kilometers from the majestic Angkor Wat and about 8 kilometers from Siem Reap, meant that it had limited space for further expansion. The increasing number of tourists and the demand for larger aircraft made it clear that the airport needed an upgrade to accommodate the growing traffic.

The turning point came when Chinese investors stepped in with a grand vision. They proposed the construction of a new international airport, located 40 kilometers from Angkor Wat, on a sprawling 700-hectare site. This ambitious project came with a staggering price tag of approximately $1 billion and was to be executed as a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) investment over 55 years.

The old airport, with its rich history, was scheduled to close its doors on October 15, 2023, at 12:00 pm. The people of Siem Reap bid farewell to their beloved airport with mixed emotions, acknowledging its role in the city's growth while eagerly anticipating the dawn of a new era.

On October 16, 2023, the new international airport officially opened its doors. The modern terminals, advanced facilities, and expanded capacity promised to bring more tourists and opportunities to Siem Reap and the surrounding region. The Chinese investment had transformed the once-modest airport into a world-class aviation hub.

As the planes took off and touched down on the runways of the new Siem Reap International Airport, travelers marveled at the state-of-the-art infrastructure and the seamless travel experience it offered. The city of Siem Reap, with its historic temples and vibrant culture, was more accessible than ever before.

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