The Banteay Srei district is about 35 km northeast of Siem Reap, and has plenty of things to see and do, as well as to experience the authentic homestays for the traveller wishing to extend their stay and explore more of the local area.
A popular option on the Cambodia tour packages is to combine the trip to Banteay Srei with other local attractions, such as Beng Mealea and Kbal Spean (the River of a Thousand Lingas). Other planned excursions that can fit a half-day itinerary include Banteay Srei combined with the Cambodia Landmine Museum and Banteay Srei Butterfly Centre.
Banteay Srei temple
The most worthwhile reason to visit the Banteay Srei district is the option to explore the elaborately decorated 10th century Banteay Srei temple (also known as the 'Citadel of Women'). Even for the travelers that are starting to feel templed-out, this temple is still worth a visit with its intricately detailed carvings and decorative features that make it one of the prettiest in Cambodia. This temple was constructed in rose-pink and fine-grained sandstone that made it possible to create the richly embellished features that include Ramayana scenes and floral motifs.
On arrival at the temple you'll find a very well organized setup with the ability to visit an official gift shop, restaurants, souvenir stalls, and a large car park in the local area.
A complete tour of the Banteay Srei temple can take in the region of 45 minutes to complete - although it does benefit to allow at least twice that time to visit the information centre (to buy the temple pass) and start exploring.
How to get there
The trip to the Banteay Srei from Siem Reap can take in the region of 45 to 60 minutes by tuk-tuk which can cost about $20, and includes stops en route. Alternatively, a bicycle ride to the temple can take nearly 3.5 hours to complete. For the travellers that prefer to hire an English speaking driver and car with air conditioning, the cost to reach the temple and local sights can increase to about $40. The benefit of booking a driver is the ability to get some useful words of advice on the best things to see and do. A visit to Banteay Srei on the Indochina tour packages can take place at any time, although to avoid the crowds, early morning or midday is certain to be the most practical options.
Other Cambodia vacation spots in the area
Cambodia Landmine Museum
A visit to the Cambodia Landmine Museum gives the perfect opportunity to learn about the tragic impact of landmines throughout the country. Established in 1997, the museum is a basic setup with rudimentary displays that highlights the history of the landmine issues in Cambodia. Also, the museum charts the story of Aki Ra, who is the founder and a forced child soldier for the Khmer Rouge. It doesn't take long to explore this museum and is best combined with nearby attractions such as the Butterfly Centre and Banteay Srei temple to make a worthwhile day trip. There is also a small gift shop that trades in local souvenirs and art that has been created by the villagers.