In 2002, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap organised a charity gala dinner at one of the world’s most celebrated heritage sites, Angkor Wat, with mega star José Carreras as the performer. It was an unprecedented event that is still fondly remembered by the international audience.
It takes connections to get permission to host events at Angkor Wat – and it is often costly. The five-star hotel helped a multinational company to arrange a gala dinner for over 350 guests at the famous temple in April last year, and the permission and catering costs came to around US$150,000. But access can never be guaranteed and the cost varies case by case.
Permission can be obtained more easily and cheaply for events at smaller Khmer temples in the Angkor Thom complex. “These kinds of events and functions have been arranged for years in the Angkor Complex, but they have only become well known and attracted people’s interest in the last five years,” says Sam Ban Theng, managing director of Merry Travel Cambodia. He has been organising Khmer temple functions for three years.
An application fee has to be paid to the Apsara Authority for organising an activity at a temple. To use the Bayon, a richly decorated Khmer temple built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the fee is US$4,000 to US$9,500, depending on the group size. The figure can also be much lower for smaller temples. Unlike Angkor Wat, which is more classical in architectural style, the Bayon is appreciated for its baroque character.
A gala dinner with a cultural show can be arranged here by Theng’s company for up to 200 guests. The catering cost is US$85 to US$105 per head and includes a Khmer set menu or five-course western equivalent, and a 30-minute cocktail reception with canapés, soft drinks, juices and draught beer. These beverages continue to free-flow for two hours at dinner, but if guests want wine they will have to pay extra.
For the setup and entertainment, the price is between US$3,600 and US$5,600, which includes all the trimmings such as lighting, sound system, torches, toilet facilities, ice carvings, welcome dance at the entrance as well as security guards.
The main show, often with performers gracefully emerging from the temple, is divided into six parts that total 45 minutes. During the rainy season from May to October, extra charges may apply for rainproof gear.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
TEL +855 63 963 888
CONTACT Merry Travel Cambodia
TEL +855 63 966 077