In native tongue, "Kbal Spean" literally means "the head of the river".
- carvings of Buddha, bull & Monkey god (some were chipped off by Khmer Rouge in exchange for $$ & weapons)
- Lingas chiseled into the riverbed
- Tortoise, crocodile, frog stones in some riverbed basins
Some of these Buddha images were removed by Khmer Rouge during the civil war period in exchange for money & weapons to fight against the Cambodian government. Some of these images were mostly sold to oversea collectors who are willing to pay high price for it.
- 12km of dirt-track (i mean really dusty) off Banteay Srei
- Extra charges on top of your daily transport charge
- Dust, do bring along some surgical mask or breath thought a towel or handkerchief
- Tuk-tuk guy to cross sell a ranger service (he probably will get a cut from the service); The ranger service can actually do without. If you do, please negotiate the service before you start hiking the hill
- 2km hiking with the 1st km of really rugged trail
- Return from the track & don't feel quite worthwhile **
- Same amount of dust on your way back
- Do not cross any trees Marked with RED Paint. There are active land mines off the RED paint limit & please follow the normal trail (don't try to be too adventurous here)
- Landmines are one way they cross sell the ranger service. I was conned into that.
Banteay Srei lies 38 km from Siem Reap, requiring extra travel time. Drivers usually charge an extra fee in addition to their normal charge for your day trip.
The temple's relatively small, constructed using some pink/red sandstones.
The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple.
Some scholars said that Banteay Srei is a replica or miniature for Angkor Wat, but dedicated to the lady.
Locals flock to the Western Baray reservoir to swim, fish and relax during weekends and holidays. In the middle of the reservoir stands the Western Mebon ruins. This can be reached by renting a small boat out.
Around the reservoir, there are planked thatched sheltars strung with hammocks for the locals to rest before they go for another swim (recycled tyres are used as make-shift floats). There're also a few stalls selling BBQ meat such as frog and chicken, soft drinks and fruits.
Our local guide explained that during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, many locals were forced into manual labour to repair and construct railings around the reservoir.
The reservoir is now the only source of tapped water for irrigating the fields around it. About close to 50 villages are dependent on it.
If you have a few days left here after visiting temples, you can take a day off to the Lake (one of the biggest in Asia) and see the many canals and how people live in huts over the waters.
Better in rainy season, as the water is higher.