Banteay Srei is one of the most beautiful temples in the Angkor region and gives its name to the surrounding district. However, Banteay Srei is so much more than a temple, offering visitors a diverse range of real-life experiences just a short distance from cosmopolitan Siem Reap. Discover life beyond the temples and experience the real Cambodia with a visit to the heart of Banteay Srei District.
Stay another day in this up and coming destination, as Banteay Srei offers some of the most accessible homestays in Cambodia, ranging from traditional village homestays to boutique homes. There are also lots of local restaurants in the district serving traditional Cambodian food, including the famous nam ben chok noodles. It’s also possible to learn the secrets of Cambodian cuisine with a cooking class at one of the homestays in the district.
Lifestyle activities are on tap, including village walks, farm visits, ox cart rides and boat trips in natural beauty spots. Trekking and cycling are just beginning to take off with hikes to sacred mountains and biking through traditional villages. When it comes to nature, Banteay Srei is home to the Angkor Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity, a wildlife rescue centre, and the Banteay Srei Butterfly Centre. The district is also home to the world famous Cambodia Landmine Museum which tells a compelling story of contemporary Cambodian history.
If Banteay Srei is the jewel of Angkor, Banteay Srei District is the jewel of Siem Reap Province. Visit more on www.visitbanteaysrei.com
Area: 423 sq km
Population Density: 106 people/sq km
District Capital: Khnar Sanday
The Banteay Srei Boat Association offers boat trips to visitors on a scenic baray just behind Banteay Srei Temple. There are several other areas where boat trips are planned such as Srah Doun Riek and Ta Neav Reservoir and these are very scenic spots. Stung Trojiek is another popular local lake with views over the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen and traditional bamboo picnic huts over the water.
Sugar palm stalls are located in this traditional village, all selling sugar palm products in various forms, including palm wood-carving, candies and palm sugar. The candies are nicely wrapped in the palm leaf, while the palm sugar paste is simply stored in containers. The palm sugar is produced and processed 100% locally. For quality palm sugar products, contact the Palm Sugar Association. They also sell palm juice and palm leaf handicrafts. Improvised demonstrations of the collection of the palm sap is shown on an irregular basis, and the ladies attending the stalls are demonstrating most of the day how they transform the sap into sugar palm. This is very interesting to international visitors. Other souvenirs sold are of all sorts, decoration items made out of organic materials such as coconut shells or local weaving.
Eau Kulen is Cambodia’s only natural mineral water and it comes from deep beneath the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen in Banteay Srei District. The ultra-modern bottling plant is open to visitors by advance appointment and makes an interesting side stop when exploring further in Banteay Srei District. Eau Kulen is the recommended mineral water of choice when travelling in Cambodia.
Bayon Smile Tourism Community produces high-quality wood-carvings, including Buddha statues, Hindu Gods, King Jayavarman VII and more. They have a workshop in Banteay Srei village and a small shop at Banteay Srei Temple.
The Cambodia Landmine Museum (CLM; www.cambodialandminemuseum.org) is the most popular non-temple activity in Banteay Srei District. An introduction to the work of Aki Ra and the scourge of landmines in Cambodia, it is a very educational experience for visitors with an interest in contemporary history. The museum houses a large collection of mines, mortars and other weaponry from Cambodia’s long civil war and includes a mock minefield for visitors to spot the dangers. CLM is open from 7.30am to 5pm daily and the requested donation is US$5 per person. Proceeds from the museum are used for landmine awareness campaigns and a rehabilitation and training facility.
Bayon Smile operates six homestays that are well-organized and include spacious houses in close proximity to Banteay Srei Temple. The owners can also organize activities in the area such as remote temple treks, visit agricultural and wooden sculpture activities, cycling trips and motor biking adventures, and organize treks to Phnom Hop and Phnom Chrab.
Green Homestay is a small farm with a big heart, offering a couple of rooms for guests and a large outdoor area for Camping. Fresh farm products, oxcart riding, boat trip along the channel are available and camping is available for school trips or teambuilding.
Steung Touch is one of the homestay that is well-organized in Banteay Srei and we also serve nice local food and drink. Camping is also available here.
A homestay is an immersive way to learn more about local life in Cambodia by staying with a family. Banteay Srei District is the most convenient place to experience a homestay in the kingdom as it lies just 25km from Siem Reap. There are 13 local homestays in Tbeng, located in an attractive village setting with lots of activities on offer, including learning about rice cultivation, matt waving, and village walks.
Conveniently located near the base of the trail to Kbal Spean, the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) is committed to rescuing, rehabilitating and reintroducing threatened wildlife to the Cambodian forest as well as educating local people about their natural heritage and its conservation. Species currently under protection here include pangolin, pileated gibbon and silvered langur. Entry includes a guided tour, which departs at 9am and 1pm daily (except Sunday), and a US$3 donation is requested.
Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre (BBC) is one of the largest fully enclosure butterfly centres in South-east Asia with more than 30 species of Cambodian butterflies. It’s also an educational experience as visitors can witness the whole process from egg, caterpillar, pupa to adult stage of butterfly. After enjoying a tour with a friendly local guide, visitors can enjoy lunch and fresh drinks in the onsite Butterfly Café with many butterfly flying around. BBC is open daily all year from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, and admission fee $5 for adults and $2 for children (5 to 11 years old).
Prey Kbal Teuk Community Forest (PKT CF) covers around 210 ha and has potential to develop as a community based ecotourism destination thanks to its unique flora and fauna, such as ‘bompong lok’ which is used as a delicacy in some Khmer specialty such as soup or stuffed cake or pitcher plants that are carnivorous and eat small insects. Guided walks are available on nature trails in the forest here.
Srah Doun Riek offers boat trips to visitors on a scenic spot and flooded forest in the community. We also welcome tourist setting in comfortable huts with fresh air enjoying Cambodian food and seeing the nice review of Kulen mountain.
The collection of wild orchids by a Cambodian young man Orchids lover. He welcome to accompany you to trekking to see the wild orchids.
The most popular food stalls in Banteay Srei District are the Nam Ben Chok Noodle Stalls in Preah Dak village. Nam Ben Chok is a popular Cambodian noodle soup that comes with chicken curry or a fish broth. The Preah Dak noodles are famous throughout Cambodia and this is a good pit stop for independent travelers wanting to try an authentic local dish and soft drink.
This is a local Cambodian restaurant located directly opposite the entrance to Banteay Samre temples. As well as a delicious selection of local Khmer recipes, they can also prepare some local snacks that are popular in Banteay Srei District.
Parvis Café is a popular place just behind the Banteay Srei temple itself. It’s very comfortable place where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruit, homemade cakes, local and international food, and other drinks in a clean and comfortable environment. In our compound, we also display a lot of souvenirs for sell as well.
Rom Chong Restaurant is a popular restaurant near the famous Banteay Srei temple. We welcome both independent travellers and tour groups to enjoy lunch at our restaurant. We provide delicious Cambodian and international food, fresh fruit, and a range of drinks, all set in an attractive venue. Car renting is also available here for those wishing to explore the district in more detail.
Srey Kulen Restaurant is a popular restaurant which is located close to Banteay Srei temple and welcomes tour groups reservation. We provide a professional food and drink service set within a comfortable venue. As well as the restaurant, our compound also displays lot of unique wooden furniture for sale.
This is a sophisticated restaurant in Banteay Srei that offers authentic Khmer cuisine in a beautiful lakeside setting. The restaurant is open for lunch only and is a breezy place to break during a day of exploring some of the many attractions Banteay Srei District.
Kbal Spean is known as the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, a spectacularly carved riverbed, set deep in the jungle to the northeast of Angkor. The riverbed cuts through sandstone formations and the many architectural sculptures of Hindu mythology have been carved within the sandstone. It is a 40-minute walk through the forest for about 2km uphill. As well as the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity is also found here, offering guided tours of their wildlife centre daily. There are also several local restaurants nearby which offer Cambodian food and cold drinks.