Although officially part of the Angkor complex, Banteay Srei lies 25 km (15 miles) north-east of the main group of temples, and therefore often considered a separate Cambodia attraction. The temple was completed in 967 AD and is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still clearly visible today. Banteay Srei is the only major temple at Angkor not built for a king, instead it was constructed by one of king Rajendravarman’s counselors, Yajnyavahara.
Banteay Srei Butterfly Centre
More than 30 species of Cambodian butterflies flutter around Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre in Siem Reap province, making it one of the largest fully enclosed butterfly centers in southeast Asia. Visitors can also learn, and see first-hand, the insects’ journey from egg to caterpillar, pupa, and finally, adult butterfly.
Phnom Sampeau, Battambang
This pretty hilltop pagoda and surrounding area offers stunning views across the province’s pristine paddies. The sobering Killing Caves pay tribute to the lives lost there during the Khmer Rouge reign while spending sunset at the base of the site-the bat caves-has a seemingly endless stream of bats spiraling to the sky for a night of hunting. Looking for Best Siem Reap Accommodation?
Cambodia’s capital is the frenetic heartbeat of the nation; a city of chaotic streets abuzz with motorbikes and car horns that can frazzle at first glance. Deserted completely during the Khmer Rouge madness and left to wither and decay, Phnom Penh has bounced back to become one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic cities. For visitors, this is Cambodia’s most cosmopolitan destination, with a caf? and restaurant scene unrivaled in the rest of the country. It’s also home to a scattering of important historic sites that help unravel both Cambodia’s modern and ancient history. The National Museum is home to a swag of Khmer sculpture that traces the nation’s history from the pre-Angkorian age right through to the phenomenal majesty of the god-Kings of Angkor. The Royal Palace provides gorgeous examples of traditional artistry, while Tuol Sleng Museum and the killing fields of Choeung Ek speak of the horror and brutality the people of this country suffered under Khmer Rouge rule.
Tonle Sap is Cambodia’s most important waterway and Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. As well as being an important source of food and a vital tool for Cambodian irrigation, the lake itself is home to 170 floating villages that depend on fishing for their livelihood, with homes built directly on the water. The houses, shops, churches, schools, and temples of these villages are built on rustic buoy foundations of lashed together barrels and bamboo, and all transport is by boat. They’re a fascinating place to spend a day exploring. One of the most interesting is the sprawling village of Kompong Luong, near the town of Pursat on Tonle Sap’s western shore, although the most popular village to visit is Chong Kneas near Siem Reap.
This pre-Angkorian temple site dates from the early 7th century when it was the capital of the Upper Chenla Empire. More than 100 brick temples dedicated to various Hindu gods sit within the forest here, many half-swallowed by mammoth tree roots. Archaeologically, the site is extremely important, containing some of Cambodia’s oldest surviving buildings, but you don’t have to be an archaeology buff to appreciate the ethereal beauty of this tree-wrapped site. The most important temples in the area are found in Prasat Sambor, Prasat Tao, and Prasat Yeay Peau, which all have remarkably clear carvings on their temple walls and plenty of ethereal ambience provided by twisting tree trunks and coiling vines. You can access Sambor Prei Kuk from Kompong Thom.