I recently returned to Siem Reap for the first time since about six years ago. I had worked, lived and traveled all over Cambodia for several years starting in the late 80’s up to the early 2000 years and for extended periods of time and have seen the entire country improve in safety and grow economically, especially from the upsurge of tourism. I now reside in Thailand and have been here for over 20 years. My latest trip to Siem Reap however, was a total disappointment as it became quickly noticeable that tourism was and is growing at an unchecked level, especially the increased numbers of hotels and the absolute over saturated number of tourists. The road from the airport to the center of town was completely lined with huge hotels and there were now traffic jams. The absurd amount of tourists and tour buses was unbelievable. The various temples were so crowded with tourists that it was very difficult to obtain so “original” photos. Thankfully, we began our tour at the “back end” and reversed our travels and thus ran into less disturbing crowds. Angkor Wat had several areas closed off for restoration and it was no longer possible to climb the steep stairs to the top. Where once it had taken quite a long, tedious drive to get to Banteay Srei over narrow and rough roads there now is a 4 lane super highway right to the front gate! When we visited it there were over 20 tour buses already there and more full ones coming. Thank goodness there were less people opting for the climb up Kbal Spean but they have just about completed another 4 lane highway directly to it and I would imagine that soon there will be some sort of electrical cable car installed to supplement the rather rigorous hike up the mountain. I am all for improving tourist facilities however, to let tourism grow and spiral out of control without any checks is not the way to go about it, at least in my mind. All I can say is that I am happy that I had seen these marvelous temple ruins earlier and closer and when there were much fewer people around. Although tourist facilities were still rather basic back then(although 5 star hotels had already begun operating) at least things were clean and managed in a controlled and acceptable manner. I, for one, will not choose to go back under the current circumstances.