Bantay Srei: Little Charmer

It’s easy to leave Bantay Srei out of a one-day temple tour in Siem Reap. After all, it’s much, much smaller than the other main temples; it’s at least 45 minutes away from the city; and it often requires additional $ for drivers to take tourists there.

But, these weren’t enough to dissuade us from seeing the so-called Citadel of Women.

The first thing I noticed was its size. It’s no dollhouse, of course, but after Angkor Wat with its sheer vastness, the Bantay Srei can be a tad underwhelming.

Until I saw the carvings.

Oh my goodness.

No space is left unadorned. The structures are all intricately and deeply carved it’s unbelievable. The patience, the skill required… it’s just exquisite.

No wonder it’s called Citadel of Women. It looks so delicate, so demure.

It fools you with its size and inveigles you with its beauty; and when it blushes its pink sandstone blush, you’re reduced to a googly-eyed admirer.

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