Constructed: Late 10th century C.E., completed in 967
Time need for visit: one hour (for the temple itself)
Best time for visit: The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM, but there are fewer tourists in the afternoon.
Location: 30 km northeast of Angkor Wat, which is a 40 minutes drive on good roads.
Banteay Srei loosely translates to 'citadel of the women', but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings. The temple has the nickname "gem of Angkor", due to its artistic features and its construction as a "temple en miniature". Banteay Srei is not commissioned by a king, but by two Brahmans and counselors, Yajnavahara and his younger brother Vishnukumara, who owned land and possessions in this area. This explains the temple's relatively small size.
Banteay Srei displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. Sometimes, it's hard to believe for visitors, that these precious carvings are made in sandstone and not in wood.
The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance. The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM, but there are fewer tourists in the afternoon.
The temple was discovered by French archaeologists relatively late, in 1914. Don't miss to see Banteay Srei's incredible lintels:
The temple area closes at 5:00 PM.
Banteay Srey lies 38 km from Siem Reap, requiring extra travel time.
For individual tourists, we recommend to combine a visit of Banteay Srey with Banteay Samre.