Explore Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei
Explore Beng Mealea
and Banteay Srei
Angkor temples with names such as the ‘Lotus Pond’ Temple or the ‘Citadel of Women’ sanctuary
are destined to bring the explorer out of you. Away from the sheer size of Angkor,
the jungle-based Beng Mealea and charming Banteay Srei beckon to be visited.
WHY THIS TOUR?
Beyond Angkor Wat, the Bayon with its smiling faces, and the jungle temple of Ta Phrom are ample opportunities to deepen your knowledge about the fables, myths and incredible stories of the history around Angkor. Reminders of a bygone era, where the importance of the Gods and the wishes to obey the ruler’s wishes in building one of the largest cities on earth during the 11th and 12th century, this full-day takes you away from it all and moves outside the core of Angkor’s magnificence.
With the countryside dooming up as soon as you leave Siem Reap, the temple complexes of Beng Mealea and the pink sandstone beauty Banteay Srei will fulfil your desires to seek out new Angkor monuments of extraordinary stature.
08:00 - 18:00
At around 8 am, your English-speaking guide and driver will be waiting at your hotel lobby for a full day away from the main Angkor temples and move into the countryside. The ride to the jungle-based Beng Mealea lies 80 kilometres outside Siem Reap and will fill our morning with ease. The Beng Mealea, or “Lotus Pond” Temple, from the early 11th Century built by Suryavarman II as a Hindu Temple and is hidden in a maze of the jungle. Architecturally, Beng Mealea is noted for its innovative, for its time, construction of hallways, it once was a very large temple with galleries foreshadowing Angkor Wat. For a long time, it was left aside by nearby villagers until it was (re)discovered by local explorers and remains still one of the least-visited temple ruins of Angkor. The sprawling jungle temple covering over one square kilometre is overrun by vegetation, so there is plenty to see, explore and walk around.
After enjoying a simple lunch en route and on the way back to Siem Reap, you will visit Banteay Srei. Named ‘The Citadel of Women’ this is a tiny, yet very enchanting temple, which is one of the jewels in this remarkable city. Built of red sandstone in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the carved male and female figures in the niches are executed exquisitely in both style and proportion. This is the most Indian of all the temples in Angkor and the words of H.W. Ponder, is ‘a fairy palace in the heart of an immense and mysterious forest’. A proper dress code applies for visitors to this temple and your guide for the day will gladly explain the requirements to enter the holy sanctum of Banteay Srei.
The day comes to an end, and with the air-conditioning on and seeing countryside life passing by, we head back to Siem Reap.
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