- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
I used my 3 day pass to visit Banteay Srei. I had already spent two days in Angkor doing the big and little tours with my guide. It was easy to choose this temple for my last day as it was supposed to be one of the most beautiful and elegant of them all. And it was true.
Banteay Srei is really well preserved and its beauty distinguishes it from the rest. The pink stone is very photogenic. At the entrance there are boards describing its history where I discovered that a famous French novelist, André Malraux, tried to steal from this treasure! Once I got over this story, I entered the temple and discovered the thousands of sculptures that you can still see.
After this wonderful visit I had another one to the site of Kbal Spean, a beautiful archaeological site in the heart of the forest, where part of the river bed has been carved.
This is definitely worth the trip to see. As this is a little off the usual tourist circuit, you'll encounter less tourists here ('less' doesn't mean 'none at all' however; but hey, what can you do?) and will therefore be able to fully enjoy the site and its considerable cultural and historical aspects. Banteay Srei is breathtaking in its delicate intricacy. Built in honour of women, every section of wall has been engraved; you'll especially be able to see and examine engravings in honour of Vishnu here. Additionally, the whole structure is very well preserved. And there's a reason for this: the temple was not discovered until 1924!
Though Banteay Srei's height is not likely to impress you especially, it is ideally located; remote, and surrounded by dense forest, it suddenly appears out of nowhere and its charm quickly begins to work its magic. This is definitely somewhere to see when visiting Cambodia!
If you are going to go on holiday to Cambodia, you have to visit the temples at Angkor. Once you are at Siem Reap you can't not go to Banteay Srei.
Banteay Srei temple (which means "woman" in Cambodian) is dedicated to Shiva. It's built from red sandstone and the carvings are exceptionally fine. The temple is small but very well preserved. It's also called "citadel of women". It's said that because the carvings are so fine they must have been done by women.
You can get there in an hour by tuk-tuk. The visit is easily combined with the River of a Thousand Lingas at Kbal Spean. You can do it in a day if you take your time. Always bargain over the price of the tuk-tuk before you leave Siem Reap. If you are brave you can do it by bike too, although you won't get to the river as well. Along the road there are lots of wicker workers. They look at you like an you are an extra terrestrial but personally, I like this sort of slow culture.