If Angkor Wat is the symbol of Cambodia, Banteay Srei is its hidden jewel. Though it’s located off the beaten path, it’s still fairly easy to get to from Siem Reap.
This tiny temple was built in the 10th century AD. Built of red sandstone, it is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Part of the attraction of Angkor Wat is its scale: there’s something sublime walking through the immense ruins, half reclaimed by the jungle. But Banteay Srei is proof that good things can come in small packages, too. Asia for Visitors calls Banteay Srei “perhaps the most intricately carved and beautiful of the temples.” Gods and goddesses adorn the temple’s red sandstone walls, all rendered in exquisitely detailed relief.
Tourism of Cambodia gives this rather fanciful description of the site:
“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’s heart has yearned after, but which mature years has sadly proved too lovely to be true. And here it is, in the Cambodian forest at Banteay Srei, carved not out of the stuff that dreams are made of, but of solid sandstone.”
To enter Cambodia and see the temple, you’ll need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date you arrive. Check the expiration date and apply for a passport renewal if necessary.
You’ll also need a Cambodian visa. You can apply for your visa online, at the Cambodian Embassy in Washington, DC or get one when you arrive. For more information on what you’ll need, see Cambodian Visa Requirements for Tourists.
If you decide you want to get your visa in advance, RushMyTravelVisa can help. We’ll research your itinerary to make sure you know exactly what you need for your journey. Then, we’ll help you with the paperwork and expedite your visa for the fastest possible processing.
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