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BANTEAY SREY TEMPLE

The tenth century temple of Banteay Srei is renowned for its intricate decoration carved in pinkish sandstone that covers the walls like tapestry. This site warrants as much time as your schedule allows. The roads have been recently repaired and it takes about 30 minutes from Siem Reap to get to the temple.

To reach Banteay Srei, follow the main road north out of Siem Reap, turn right at Angkor Wat and follow the road to Srah Srang where you turn right past Preah Rup. At the East Mebon there is a check post where you need to obtain clearnce. Turn right again at the road before the East Mebon; pass through the village of Phoum Pradak, where there is a junctions (if you continue straight, after about 5 minutes, you will reach Banteay Samre). At this point, you come to a fork; take the road on the left and follow it to Batneay Srei which you will reach shortly after crossing two rivers - on your left hand side.

Banteay Srei is an exquisite miniature; a fairy palace in the heart of an immense and mysterious forest; the very thing that Grimm delighted to imagine, and that every child


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BANTEAY SAM RE

Banteay Sam Re located at Preah Dak commune, Bon Tiey Srey District by Charles De Gaulle Road via Angkor Wat in 16-kilometer distance from the provincial town of Siem Reap.

This temple is somewhat islocated, and you should be vigiland of your possessions and travel with a local guide. The temple is worth the extra effort to experience the elaborate architecture, and fine carvings, although theft has mutilated many of the temple's treasures.

Location: 400 meters (1,312 miles) east of the East Baray Access: enter and leave Banteay Samre from the east.
Date: middle of the 12th century
King: Suryavarman II (reigned 1113-1150)
Religion: Hindu (dedicated to vishnu)
Art Style: Angkor Wat BACKGROUND
Banteay Samre is one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of anastylosis. Unfortunately, the absence of maintenance over the past 20 years is evident. The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the regions at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscription has been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat. The monument most likely dates from the same period, or, perhaps, slightly later, although there are additions attributed to the Bayon style. The proportions of Banteay Samre are plended. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple. All of the buildings around the moat are on a raised base with horizontal mouldings, decoreated in some areas with figures framed by lotus buds.


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PHNOM KROM HILLTOP TEMPLE

This is the big hill that you see near the landing if you head to Siem Reap by bullet boat. The hilltop area provides magnificent panoramic views of the Great Lake Tonle Sap, the surrounding countryside and Siem Reap town. The commanding view of the lake was used for a more practical, albeit more deadly, purpose in the fairly recent past as evidenced by a big gun mounted on the side of the hill and pointing toward the landing part of the Great Lake.

A modern-era active temple shares the hilltop with the temple ruins of Phnom Krom. Thee are seven crumbling towers among the ruins in two lines, with four towers east and three towers a bit higher up nearby and west. The 11th ? century ruins are definitely in need of a facelift and it looks like they may get one at s0om e point as a sign in front states that a project is underway. Unfortunately, the same sign has made the same announcement with no results apparent since a year ago when I last visited the site.

To get here, just follow Sivutha Street south out of Siem Reap. The road follows the river for much of the way and road is in good shape for most of the short journey. You will arrive at the base of the hill after just fifteen minutes and there is an archway and stairway that you take up about halfway, which leads to the spot near the big gun. From there you follow a small road to the temple area. You can actually ride all the way up by going past the stairway, beyond the house and tree area, where you will see a long out-building off on the right side. Follow the small road that runs along side of the building and stay on this winding road to the temple area. There are drink and food stands at the base of the stairway to re-hydrate after the trip.


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PREK TOAL AND BIRD SANTUARY

Not far from the ancient temples of Angkor, in the heart of Cambodia, lies the huge Tonle Sap lake, the largest in Southeast Asia. The Tonle Sap is connected to the Mekong by a short river also called Tonle Sap. During the rainy season, from May to October, the river reverses its flow into the lake causing it to expand to more than six or seven times its normal size of approximately 2,600 square kilometers. It becomes a vast inland sea.

Each year, millions of fish come to spawn in the seasonally flooded forest surrounding the lake, attracting myriad waterbirds. Villages along the shores live with the rhythm of the season and the floods. Prek Toal is one of the most attractive floating fishing villages on the Tonle Sap lake, with a school, hospital, restaurants, shop and even a pagoda. Just behind the Prek Toal village are flooded forests with bird sanctuaries. Every year, between December and March, thousands of birds come to fish and to breed here.


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PREAH KHAN TEMPLE

Preah Khan temple is located 2 kilometers north-east of Angkor Thorn on the Grand Circuit. The temple was built in the second half of the 12th century in AD 1191 by King Jaya-varman VII, dedicating to his father Dharanindravarman. The Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares served as the nucleus of a group that includes Neak Pean and Ta Som, located 4 kilometers long Jayatataka Baray—the last of the great re¬servoirs to be built in Angkor.

The inscription indicates that Preah Khan was built on the battle site where King Jaya-varman VII finally defeated the Chams. In those days it was known as Nagarajayacri which mean the city of Preah Khan.

Four concentric ramparts subdivide Preah Khan. The outer or fourth wall, which is encircled by a wide moat, today en¬closes a large tract of jungle, formerly the living quarters of the monks, students and attendants of Preah Khan. The second rampart delineated the principle religious compound of about four hectares within which there is a dense concen¬tration of temple and shrines. The central complex is Bud¬dhist. The northern and western sectors are dedicated to

Brahmanism— Vishnu (west) and Shiva (north), whilst the southern sector is a place of ancestor worship. The eastern sector forms the grand entrance to the central shrine.

A place for a king located near Preah Khan temple is called Veal Reacheak or Preah Reachea Dak. It is 1,500 meters long and 1,200 meters wide. Nearby about 700 meters north of Preah Khan temple along the road to Angkor Thorn district is another small temple called Ptu. The temple was made of laterite.

 


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BANTEAY KDEI

The citadel of the cells . In the ruin and confusion of Banteay Kdei the carvings take one's interest. They are piquant, exquisite, not too frequent... they seem meant.. to make adorable a human habitation.

Banteay Kdei is located south of Ta Prohm. A enter the monument from the west and leave at the west or vice versa, either way, also visit Srah Srang.
It was built in middle of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century by king Jayavarman II in Mahaya Buddhism with following at least two different art periods Angkor Wat and Bayon -are discernible at Banteay Kdei.

BACKGROUND
Banteay Kdei has not been restored and allows the visitor to experience what it may have looked like originally. Changes and additions account for is unbalanced layout. Banteay Kdei was built of soft sandstone and many of the galleries and porches have collapsed. The wall enclosing the temple was built of reused stones. LAYOUT
The temple is built on the ground level use as a Buddhist monastery. The elements of the original design of Banteay Kdei seem to have been a Central Sanctuary (5), a surrounding gallery (6) and a passageway connected to another gallery. A moat enclosed the original features of the temple. Another enclosure and two libraries were among the additions in the Bayon period. The outer enclosure (700 by 500 meters 2,297 by 1,640feet) is made of laterite (1) and has four entry towers.
A rectangular courtyard to the east is known as 'the hall of the dancing girls', a name derived from the decoration which includes dancers (2) The entry tower of the second enclosure (3) is in the shape of a cross with three passages; the two on either end are connected to the literate wall of the enclosure (4) 320 by 200 scrolls of figures and large female divinities in niches. In the interior court there is a frieze of Buddha.

A causeway of a later date, bordered with serpents, leads to the entry tower of the third enclosure. It comprises a laetrile wall (6) includes a gallery with a double row of sandstone pillars that open onto a courtyard. Tip Parts of this area have been walled in and passage is limited. Vestiges of the wooden ceiling can still be seen in the central Sanctuary. The galleries and halls, which join it in a cross to the four entry towers, are probably additions. Two libraries (7) open to the west in the courtyards on the left and right of the causeway.


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ANGKOR NATIONAL MUSEUM

Visiting the Angkor National Museum was an eerie, surreal experience. For the first 45 minutes of our trip through the mammoth, 20,000-square-metre building, we didn't spot another visitor. The museum opened in November 2007, and its freshly painted, shopping mall-like feel contrasts with the thousands-year-old artefacts contained within it. A visit is a comfortable, air-con alternative to visiting the temples themselves, and a nice educational supplement to the history of Angkor if you visit the park without a tour guide. It's composed of eight separate galleries, all connected by a vaulted corridor with a series of fountains and lined with what seems like all the Angkorian limestone lion and demon heads missing from statues at the temples. After an explanatory film screening called Story behind the legend, you're pointed toward the galleries:

Gallery 1: 1,000 Buddha Images
This is the only gallery that's just one large room, rather than a series of maze-like alcoves, and the sight of all these Buddhas at once is striking. Hundreds of small and miniature Buddha figurines, made of metals, jewels and wood, all individually illuminated, line the walls here, identified according to the period they were made during and where they were discovered. In the centre, life-size and larger Buddha characters are displayed. The display includes Buddhas from Banteay Kdei, Bayon, Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear.

Gallery 2: Pre-Angkor Period: Khmer Civilisation
This gallery and all the subsequent ones combine mural-size explanations and short films through maze-like rooms explaining Angkorian history. The styles of figurines precede the trademark Angkor style, and there's a large collection of lingas, lintels and colonnettes.

Gallery 3: Religion and Beliefs
This room explains several of the most significant Hindu and Buddhist religious stories and folk tales depicted on Angkorian temples, including the most memorable Churning of the Sea of Milk carved into the rear wall at Angkor Wat. Carvings of Buddhist and Hindu religious figures are concentrated here as well.

Gallery 4: The Great Khmer Kings
The gallery focuses on King Jayavarman II, Yasovarman I, Soryavarman II and Jayavarman VII, those most responsible for Angkor's greatest constructions. Figures of the kings and relics from the temples they commissioned abound.

Gallery 5: Angkor Wat
There's a large film gallery inside this section of the museum. It features beautiful, panoramic images of the temple and explanations of how it was constructed. There are also many restored figures from the temple itself as well as post-Angkorian wooden statues used for worship at the temple until several hundred years ago.

Gallery 6: Angkor Thom
In addition to recovered artefacts from Angkor Thom, this gallery includes a history of and artefacts from the vast irrigation projects commissioned by the king who built Angkor Thom with his smiling face looking out from every tower: Jayavarman VII.

Gallery 7: Story From Stones
This room is one of the most interesting. It's a collection of stone pallets with ancient Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions. The writing on each slate is explained on placards below. The writing on them includes the declaration of the construction of a new hospital, lists of slave names, mediations of land disputes and adulations of kings and gods.

Gallery 8: Ancient Costume
From Apsaras and kings to princesses and warriors, this room contains the busts and statues of distinct fashions and styles as they evolved throughout Angkor time. There's also a collection of ancient jewellery and headdresses. It's a clever segue to the final room -- the gift shop -- where upscale imitations of these fashions abound.

It's $12 to enter the museum, plus another $3 if you want to bring in your camera and another $3 for an educational headset. Sadly, like ticketing and management of the Angkor park, the museum is owned and run by a private company, so little of your admission money goes to Cambodia or to temple restoration (though what the company paid for the concession might). Still, it's perhaps better than these artefacts remaining in the hands of private collectors. A connected mall is still under construction but has a few open stores, including a Blue Pumpkin satellite, several souvenir shops and the sure sign of apocalypse.


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PHNOM BAKHENG

Phnom Bakheng is a temple built on a hill of the same name, where the first city at Angkor was established. This gives its state temple on Phnom Bakheng special significance. It was to here that Yasovarman I moved his capital from Roluos. His capital city, called Yasodharapura, was larger than Angkor Thom, which came later, and was centred around the hill of Phnom Bakheng.

The design of the temple of Bakheng borrowed elements from the Bakong which was built 20 years earlier. Both are step pyramids of ascending square terraces. We do know that work on the temple began at the end of the 9th century. The lingga in the central sanctuary was dedicated around 907AD, while construction work continued. The temple was called Yasodharesvara, after its patron deity, which means Lord who Bears Glory. In 928 the temple was abandoned, only to be briefly rehabilitated in 968 by Jayavarman V.


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