Around an hour away from Nita by Vo in a tuk tuk is the magical temple of Banteay Srey. It was built in the 10th century and is the only major temple not built by a monarch. It was built by Yajnavaraha, one of he courtiers. The drive out to the temple is a very pleasant one in itself. As the tuk tuk passes through villages and fields, you get a glimpse of rural Cambodia. Imagine life in a wooden hut, or maybe one made from bamboo and covered in palm leaf thatch. Many of the huts have no electricity, and some survive on a car battery charged at the neighbour with the generator’s house.
When you arrive at Banteay Srey, the temple is a short walk from the car park. The name means ‘lady temple’, although that has no basis in history. What makes the building unique, and worth the drive, is the quality of the carving. The temple was built from a pink sandstone and the carvings, even 1,000 years later are of a wonderful quality.
It is not a large temple, but take your time. Enjoy the quality of the work and wonder how long it took to create. Spend a few minutes looking at the garudas, the devatas. Better still if you take a registered guide with you, they can explain in detail the significance of some of the carvings.
When you finish at the temple, start back along the road. On the left hand side is the Landmine Museum. A sad reminder of Cambodia’s past are the tens of millions of cluster bombs dropped, mainly by the U.S.A. on Cambodia during the Vietnam war. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Khmer Rouge and other parties during the civil war planted millions upon millions of landmines.
Aki Ra has spent his life defusing the munitions, which even today kill and maim unwary Cambodians. He has built a museum to show the nature of the peril. At the side of the museum is a home for around 30 children, orphaned or maimed by the bombs. Spend time here wondering at man’s inhumanity to man.
Come back another short way to Siem Reap and on the right hand side is the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre. This offers a respite from the terrors of war, and shows you the beauty of nature. Trained guides show you around and tell you about the lifespan of a butterfly. The centre harvests eggs, grows the caterpillers and cares for the pupae. Finally they release the butterflies into their netted garden. You can take as long as you like looking round the garden and photographing the beautiful creatures.
We commend a day out in the Banteay Srey area. Nita by Vo can make this tour perfect for you. Our tour desk can organise a tuk tuk, car or luxury minibus to transport you to the area, licensed tour guide and all the required tickets to make this dream tour a reality.