Banteay Srei is known as the ‘precious gem’ of Angkor for its stunning red sandstone miniature buildings that are tiny in relation to the monumental architecture of the other ruins in the Angkor precinct.

Banteay Srei means ‘Citadel of Women’. It is 1,000 years old and is the only temple of all Angkor not to have been constructed on the order of a monarch. Instead, it was presided over by a courtier and was intended as a retreat for female members of the royal family.

Lily ponds and lakes decorate the grounds of Banteay Srei and many visitors while away an afternoon here amid the tranquility of the waters and the surrounding ramparts that turn shades of pink and peach as the sun crosses the Angkor sky. Picnics are permitted on the grounds of Banteay Srei, but extreme heat and humidity may hamper lengthy sittings.

Also pestering guests are the incessant incense sellers, touts and guides that patrol the areas of Banteay Srei every day of the year. While many hawkers will claim that part of their earnings to restoration and preservation of the ruins, this is rarely the case and while some tour guides offer excellent and informative services, there is no real way of telling in advance if what is on offer is legitimate.

In brief

What is it? A beautiful citadel made of red sandstone in the Angkor precinct.

Entrance fees: US$20 (one day), US$40 (three days), and US$60 (seven days).


Where: within the Banteay group of temples in central Angkor.

How to get there: from the main Angkor entrance, tuk-tuk and bicycles are available for the 15km journey to Banteay Srei. Siem Reap International Airport receives flights from Phnom Penh (25 minutes).