People come to Siem Reap for the temples. At least at first. It may seem that this is all I did. It was not. But for a limited visit, this was my priority. Temple touring does require a degree of fortitude. There’s lots of walking involved in the heat. And there’s no doubt that a better time of year to do it would be shortly after the rainy season subsides rather than now, at the end of the dry season. Water is a very significant part of the decor of some of these locations.
But having said all that, I will post some photos here of two more pieces of the complex of Angkor. They display more of the variety, beauty, condition and demise of the Khmer empire.
The first is Banteay Srei, a smaller installation about 30 km outside Siem Reap. Going by car is faster, smoother, cooler. Going by tuk tuk is slower, more relaxed and gives you a better view of the countryside and rural lifestyle passing by. Some more intrepid travelers ride bikes.
Banteay Srei is much smaller than most all of the other temples. The name means “citadel of the women” and it’s commonly called “the lady temple.” It has been specifically dated back to the year 967, two hundred years before Angkor Wat. The well-preserved carvings are the main attraction.
Another of the main attractions, though much less crowded when I was there, is Preah Khan, also a smaller sized temple, but with an appeal similar to Ta Phrom. Built during the reign of Suryavarman VII, its many narrow passages and grounds littered with the stones of fallen walls keep a visitor on a narrow path through its remains. But the spectacle is no less appealing than Ta Phrom, with more massive signs of slow destruction due to the encroaching jungle.