The alluring temple of Banteay Srei is nearly everyone’s favorite site because of its superb decoration, excellent preservation and small size. It was built in 967AD.
We visited this tenth century temple of Bantey Srei twice in 2014. The name Banteay Srei means “The Citadel of Women” probably because of the details and intricate decoration carved in red sandstone that covers the walls like tapestry. The workmanship for this temple is quite different when compared to the other Angkor temples. The sandstone used is very unique because it gives off a pinkish colour. It is tiny in size: the tallest tower is perhaps 10 meters and you can walk around the entire area in 5 minutes yet it continues to surprise visitors because it clearly exhibits the magnificence of Khmer Art. It displays an overwhelming amount of elaborate decorative carvings covering the surfaces of the building walls such as floral designs, scaled-down Buddhas, and demon heads everywhere – all these are so well preserved. Even though the buildings in the central section are now roped off, but you can still get close enough to admire the architecture and carvings from a few meters away. To me, it is like a fairy place built in the heart of an immense and mysterious Cambodian forest.
This exquisite miniature is located about 30 kilometers north-east of Angkor. It is a bit out of the way, but certainly worth a visit. When we went there, it was tranquil, surreal, there was no throngs of tourists, just enough to create an atmosphere. Even though it is not convenient to get there, but the ride through the countryside offers a good glimpse of life in rural Cambodia when passing through rice paddies and tiny villages.
The site is in a complex which is very tourist friendly. It has a restaurant, rest rooms, souvenir shops and also a bird watching facility. The temple has a nice lotus pond on each side of the path to the temple, which has beautiful pink water lilies.