Banteay Srei Temple is among the most elegant beauties of Siem Reap’s heritage structure that attracts numbers of tourists every day. Banteay Srei is a temple that stands out for the marvelous features of its size and stone color. “Citadel of women” in which the name of Banteay Srei stemming from. Among the major temples like Angkor Wat, Bayon or Ta Prom, Banteay Srei has its unique expression that all eyes must come across. On top of that, this one particular temple was not even built by a King, but rather a King’s Counselor.
And yet, the artistic motifs and carvings are exceptionally intricate allow Banteay Srei to stands out among other significant temples. Year 967 A.D was when this red sandstone temple started to build, which eventually completed in the later years. Which then, rediscovered by the French archeologists in the early 20th century. However, today you will get to know more than just once the library. But also, you will get to know further surprising facts featuring places that can extend your traveling interests. Most of which locate conveniently close to Banteay Srei that can make your visits even more immersive and exciting.
More than just a Banteay Srei Temple to visit!
Comparing to the rest of the remarkable temple within Siem Reap, Banteay Srei is the only most recommended one that exists the farthest. Locating 35 km away from the main town, the trip will likely take roughly an hour to get there. Thus, to savor our moments as suggested, it is best to travel early and with fast transport. Because there will be plenty to savor from this one 35 km trip and back. Even though Banteay Srei distant itself out far, however, that’s also the same reason it can attract people every day.
During the course of the ride, there will be a countless variety of scenery to captivate one at a time. Starts with the scenic of the corridors of trees ‘til the Angkor Wat moat, circle around to further sided trees. The opportunity to see the rural area, local’s housing and cottages along the way, the scene that captivates their livelihood. The geography that exposes you to the breath of freshness of nature and trees throughout your destination. If this lonely is making you contempt to travel, then hold yourself, there are more places to go nearby. Just as mentioned, we will be sure to savor it.
Experience the culture of the Local – The village Environment
The theme of our trip, more importantly, is to be ass engaging as possible to the environment of the countryside. Away from the everyday noise, go with the wind of the countryside and the simple life of the people. After passing Angkor Wat, Sras Srang and Pre Rup, you will begin to notice the residents just around the corner. People putting up stalls in front of their house selling DIY basket, bin, containers and cooking tools. Stalls that sell palm sugar in a variety of containers as a small sweet treat. After this, you will get to see the countryside of Siem reap. Villagers are slightly distant from each other, house by house, separated by the beautiful rice field.
Preah Dak District – The Num Banh Chok of Siem Reap
Preah Dak is the first quick minor detour that you shall not miss no matter what. This district is famous for its tasty Num Banh Chok for its sweet and creamy texture of Cambodian traditional broth. Top with various bittersweet vegetables that lift the aroma of the fish broth and the overall flavor. Cucumbers, banana blossom, fresh basil, mint, and water lily stems that go dashingly well with Samlor Khmer (broth).
Num Banh Chok is a very well balanced and flavorful signature meal of Cambodia. The balance of the fish broth and the savory vegetables. If you plan to visit early or come across the district during any mealtime, you must stop for it. Because Num Banh Chok is a meal for all occasion, does not matter if it is breakfast or an evening-bite. Cost no more than $2 for a bowl, you can feast at any time and as much as you like.
Check for more Khmer Traditional Restaurant in Siem Reap!!
Land Mines Museum
Because Banteay Srei situates in an area with little shades it would be smart to wait out the sun. Only then, you can truly enjoy the majestic library within the garden enclosure. One of our further suggestions is, visitors could stop by at the land mine museum which is very nearby. It is an NGO established by a Japanese veteran who devoted his life for many years in his project. The goal of the project was to free the people from danger by disarming the explosives in the area.
Mr. Aki Ra’s contribution has saved many lives and brought safety to the people of Siem Reap. Rounding up all the disarmed explosives and research of their origin of the mines, thus exist the organization. It will be a heavy-bonded visit to Cambodia’s insightful but tragic history, that too is the sole reason you shall visit. Indeed, it may not a delightful thing, but the Land Mine Museum will portray what people of Cambodia have to go through to pick ourselves up from the ravage of war.
- Cost $5 for one adult to enter
- Opening time: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- It locates roughly 8km away from Banteay Srei temple
It is true that you may have to spend $5 for only a brief visit, however, it will be for a good cause. The money will contribute to the rural schools and educations lead by an NGO, Rural School Village Program (RSVP). Secondly, it will also go to the on-going demining organization of Aki Ra’s Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD).
What to see at Banteay Srei Temple?
There is a high chance that you may have seen many temples before this already. Many of which must have already impressed you quite well with their unique structure and art of the carvings. However, you will still be surprised by what Banteay Srey can portray your naked eyes. Regardless of when it was built, this red sandstone temple remains almost in its best shape. So much of the arts and little detailing were able to survive and able to expose itself vividly. Many of the fascinations are the pediments, the triangular of the many beautiful motifs and perfection. The miniature structures and the center libraries guarded by mythical guardians that marble with arts and Hindu myths carvings. All places inside one gate, a garden of rooted grassland and its surrounding moat.
You might also want to know about: The Mysterious of Angkor Thom Gates
Butterfly Center – Local NGO
If you are a traveler who shares a deep connection with nature and insects in general, this place is paradise. Banteay Srei Butterfly Center (BBC) is an NGO that is making an impact by conserving butterfly habitats of the area. Due to the growing loss of forest, so do the various habitats of the butterfly within it. BBC also supports the rural local community by offering and jobs and apply training. The place featuring a reasonable size of garden and the enclosures of trees for visitors to interact with butterfly. It gives the environment the best place to raise the butterfly in a sufficient breeding condition. Benches are provided for visitors to relax and hang around with some quiet chat along with the sight of the butterfly.
Since butterfly flee around when the sun is shiniest, thus the best time to visit.
- Best time to visit:
- Mid-morning around 9AM until 10:30AM
- Late afternoon around 4PM
- Open time: 7:30AM – 5:30PM
- Cost: $6 per adult
- Cost: $3 per child
Think ahead! What to prepare to perfect the plan?
First thing first, it is great to check the weather for any potential rains. Once that is out of the way, the best thing to do is book a ride. The best available vehicle with comfort and reasonable price range is tuk-tuk, mid-size car and 11 seats SUV. While there are many going on in our Banteay Srei trip, you should book your ride for a full day. We have asked around, and ways that you can get personal contacts of the driver from your very hotel.
Here is the information we have obtained so far regarding each price point.
- Tuk-tuk: cost roughly between $35 – $45 (full-day), depending on negotiation and details of the destinations
- Mid-size car (rare availability): cost approx. between $50 – $60 (full-day)
- 11 seats SUV (common availability): cost around $80 – $100 (full-day)
Rare availability means not many drivers offer a mid-size driving service for your visits.
Whereas, common availability means there are many available drivers provide the 11 seats.
When you got that covered, be sure to bring yourself enough water for your trip, the more the merrier. But if you don’t mind spending your money on water as you go, that would also work too. As for food, if you are a morning person, you should grab a light meal beforehand. Later that morning you can enjoy the Num Banh Chok of Banteay Srei as recommended in our content. Additional snacks, cookies, protein bars chocolate bars or anything with plenty of calories that can help your balance along the way is also most recommended.
Banteay Srei temple can be quite distant from the rest of the major ones in the area. However, Banteay Srei area is very much a unique destination on its own. With insightful community and richness of rural cultures. The scenery of the countryside, rice field, NGO of the community and rural residents and housing. And Most importantly of all, the depth of arts of Banteay Srei temple.
On the contrary, if there happen to be any hiccup in your trip and disrupt you from all our suggestions. It’s absolutely okay to miss out on a few, I’d like to say that 3 of which mustn’t be missed. And those are Banteay Srei temple, Num Banh Chok of Siem Reap and Aki Ra’s Self-help and Landmines organization.