There are 2 tours you can take to the beautiful temple complex at Banteay Srei.
Tour #1 – $25 – inlcudes Banteay Srei, the Landmine Museum and Banteay Samre.
Tour #2 – $30 – includes all of above PLUS you get to go to Kbal Spean to see the waterfall and the ancient lingas carved in the rocks in and around the sacred riverbed.
Banteay Srei, about 30K North of Siem Reap, was built around 960AD and it is unusual as it is made mainly from a light red sandstone which makes it ideal for carving. The temple complex contains many carvings in very good condition, especially the doorways with their fancy panels and lintels. It is commonly referred to as either the Citadel of the Women or the Citadel of Beauty.
Because it lies distant to the other major temples it was not discovered until 1969 and by 1989 was made available to the public after some small rectifications. Not as many tourist here compared to Angkor Wat. A very enchanting place to visit.
The Landmine Museum was set up and is still run by Aki Ra a local man who has dedicated his life to clearing bombs and land mines from his country so that people will be safe from all the unexploded ordinances left over from the American-Vietnam war and the Khmer Rouge days.
The landmine museum is used to raise awareness of the bomb/mine problem facing Cambodians and as a source of funds to assist Aki Ra with his other projects including a school, relief center and orphanage for children injured by exploding ordinances. You can find more information on Aki Ra and his efforts to help the locals by visiting his main website at – www.cambodialandminemuseum.org
Entry ticket is only $5 which is used to help pay employee wages, provide food and care for the children living there, clear more landmines, build more schools and build wells and provide hygeine to local villages.
If you would like to bring along your own donations to help the children then check out the wish list in the photo below. All donations gratefully accepted.
Banteay Samre, built around 1120AD is an ancient temple complex on the road from Siem Reap to Banteay Srei. Located closest to Siem Reap of the temples on this tour It is the Eastern most temple in the Angkor Archelogical Park.
If you have a short list of temples to see in only a short time in Siem Reap then give consideration to seeing this one, it is worth it.
Banteay Samre is a lot quieter than the main temples, has a very idealic setting amongst trees and check out the carvings, very nice indeed. A great place to just wander up and down passageways and in and around the buildings and marvel at what it must have looked like when it was built.
Kbal Spean is a famoun landmark located in the foothills of the Kulen Hills about 15k North of Banteay Srei. The whole area around Kbal Spean is a national reserve called Phnom Kulen National Park.
Once you reach Kbal Spean you take a short walk 1.5 – 2k up the slopes of the hill to reach the Stung Kbal Spean River. There is a bridge there. The rock carvings are located on both sides of the bridge.
The river itself cuts its path through the limestone landscape. Limestone is great for carving. The riverbed has many carved figures that date back over 1000 years. It is said that the lingas (images) were carved into the riverbed and surrounding rocks along the banks and in grottos to purify and bless the water as it travelled from Phom Kulen all the way down to Angkor Wat.
From the bridge look for the carvings going downstream towards the waterfall, where you can usually stop for a quick dip if it is hot. Best time to visit is after the rainy season has finished and the level of the water is dropping, then you can see the carvings better.
For details of more temples like those on the Banteay Srei tour, see my Tours Page.