Bantay Srei Temple,  Angkor, CambodiaWe explored, Banteay Srei, the smallest major temple in Cambodia’s Angkor region.  We found that what it lacked in size, it made up in its outstanding artisanship. Its statues, bas relief, pediments and lintels are considered the finest in all Angkor temples. Built in 10th century (two centuries earlier than Angkor Wat), Banteay Srei’s beauty and remarkable state of preservation make it one of the highlights of anyone visiting the Angkor temples.


Bantay Srei, Outer Angkor, Cambodia

Banteay Srei, which means “Citadel of Women,” is a relatively new name for the temple. It is speculated that women built the temple as its intricate designs and adornments are too fine to be carved by hands of men.


Bantay Srei Temple, Angkor, CambodiaBanteay Srei is the only Khmer temple not built by a king. It was built by a Brahmin, who was the spiritual advisor of a Khmer king, in honor of Hindu god Shiva.


Banteay Srei Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Banteay Srei is also the only Angkor temple built out of rose-colored sandstone, which aside from being more beautiful is also more lasting than the gray stones used in most temples.

Banteay Srei Temple, Angkor, CambodiaBanteay Srei was rediscovered by French in 1914 but was not restored until the 1930’s.  It is the first Angkor temple restored using the method of anastylosis – the process of removing and repositioning each block one by one.


Banteay Srei Temple, Angkor, CambodiaFinely carved on the pediments of temple are scenes from famous Hindu mythologies such as Ramayana and Mahabharata.


Bantay Srei Temple, Outer Angkor, Cambodia


Banteay Srei Temple, Angkor, Cambodia


Banteay Srei Temple,  Angkor, CambodiaThe Inner sanctuary is guarded by statues of human like animals. Most of the statues are reproductions as some originals were stolen and some were placed in museums.


Banteay Srei Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

One thousand year old Inscriptions are still clearly etched on a door jam.


11_Bantay Srei Temple, Outer Angkor, CambodiaExquisitely carved feligrees and sculptures of devatas filled the columns of the temples.


A boy in Banteay Srei Temple, Angkor, Cambodia A young boy hanging out in the temple.


Banteay Srei Temple, Angokor, Cambodia The scale of the temple is miniature by Angkor standard.

Check out our other Angkor Highlights:
1.  Angkor Wat.            2.  Bayon Temple         3.  Ta Prohm
    4.  Kbal Spea               5. Koh Ker                 6.  Beng Mealea


Travel Notes:

  • The best time to visit the Banteay Srei is early in the morning to avoid the heat (there’s no shade int he temple), to dodge the tour bus crowds and for better lighting for photography. The temple closes at 5:00 pm.
  • Banteay Srei is about 37 kms from Siem Reap and can be reached in about 45 minutes by tuk-tuk. Since it is a bit further than other Angkor temples, drivers charge extra over their regular day rate.
  • An Angkor Pass is required for entry to Banteay Srei. For more info about Angkor Pass, please go here.
  • Suggested reading: Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques.
  • Suggested accommodation: We stayed at Shinta Mani, a beautiful and contemporary boutique hotel and we highly recommend. We call it a hotel with a heart as it donates part of your nightly rate to help local communities. It has a non-profit component that trains locals in hospitality business as well as contributes in health programs.


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44 responses to “Banteay Srei: The Crown Jewel of Angkor Craftmanship

  1. Agness

    Ach, that post brought back great memories, thanks guys! I remember exploring it last year. You’re so right – the best time to visit the Banteay Srei is early in the morning to avoid the heat and the crowd :)
    Agness recently posted..Postcards from Guilin – Guangxi Province, ChinaMy Profile

    • Hey Agness, our pleasure. I bet you miss Siem Reap! We do, too. We miss not only the place but the wonderful people as well.

  2. The color of the temple is beautiful and the carvings looks very elaborate and intricate. It is amazing that it is 1,000 years old and every carve and etching is still very distinct. Lovely photos.

    • Hi Kara, thanks. It truly is fascinating how well preserved the details of the temple are. I guess it’s mostly due to the rose colored stone used in construction. It is supposed to be harder than most stones used in construction of other temples.

  3. Kira S.

    What a charming temple. I love the beautiful bas relief. Truly a very fine craftmanship. Interesting to note that it is speculated that it can only be carved women. I can see that there’s a feminine touch to it. I like the different Angkor temples you have featured so far, they are vey distinct from one another.

    • Hey Kirs, you’re right there’s a feminine touch to it. Nice of you to notice the distinctions among the temples we have posted so far. Its basically the reason why we chose those as our highlights because they’re unique from the rest and they don’t feel repetitive.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jo, its definitely small but beautiful. Isn’t it amazing how old it is? Most places in Australia must be a baby compared to this site.:)

  4. It is very beautiful indeed! Though small but finest!

  5. Wow, beautiful post, and stunning photography….:)

  6. Those are beautiful photos. Amazing pieces of architecture.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Our pleasure, Eileen.

  7. I love all the intricate detail, so beautiful! Also good tip to visit early in the morning…I remember this region of the world can get EXCEPTIONALLY hot during the day in the summer;-)
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted..UYC’s Walks: SoHoMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jess, glad you like the temple; it really is beautiful. Yes, it can be exceptionally hot even in December, imagine being there in the summer?

  8. Arija

    Love the little boy resting in the temple. Very intricate carvings and such beautiful temples.

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Arija, isn’t he adorable? Glad you enjooyed the temple.

  9. Dana

    So much detail! These are lovely shots. Thanks for sharing.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Our pleasure. Gald you enjoyed it.

  10. Thank you so much for taking us on this tour. Your photos are wonderful. I find the age and resilience of these temples amazing. It must be awe-inspring to stand there.
    Have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by my blog today.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jill, it truly is amazing to witness this site.
      You’re welcome. I always enjoy visiting your blog.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Lea.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Debra.

    • Traveling Solemates

      It is indeed! Thanks for dropping by Gary and Boom.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Ariawen, they are cordoned off so you’re safe from them! :)

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Salika, it is really amazing thinking how old they are and they’re in such great shape. I hope I’ll age like that! Ha! Ha!

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