Opening Hours 7.30-5.30
Tripod restrictions – yes
Located 40km north of Siemreap, Banteay Srey, ‘the city of the women’, is the best preserved temple in Cambodia. For this reason, the ‘lady temple’ sees many visitors, especially December to March. In High season, taking this temples popularity into consideration, the only time to visit for photography is the first or last hour of the day.
The original name, Isvarapura, ‘the city of Shiva’ was found on a Sanskrit inscription at the first chamber entering the temple. It’s uniqueness lies in the pink sandstone used for construction along with the best and most intricate of all carvings to be found among the Angkorian temples.
From the car park, entry is from the east through a gated area aimed at selling souvenirs. Head straight, through this area. Follow the path to ticket control, the temple lies ahead. It’s quite a small temple with some structures lying to the east of a walled courtyard. Within courtyard is an internal mote surrounding the central sanctuary.
For photography, a wide lens is handy for overall shots, and a telephoto lens for the detailed carvings in the inner sanctuary. The internal area has been roped off to prevent the mass of tourists damaging the detailed carvings.
As always with your photography, make use or the available natural light. Look for carvings lit by the sun, then align with a darker background to add contrast or vise versa. Shoot into the early morning sun for that early soft light effect. There is a great opportunity for an overall temple shot from the east of the mote, especially if the sun lights the temple, the vivid pink water lilies will pop in the morning rays!
As stated, get there early and get your shots quick. When the busses arrive and the tour groups enter, you can walk away satisfied you’ve seen something special pretty much to your self.
Getting there from Siemreap is best by car, Allow 40 minutes for the drive. By tuk tuk it will take over one hour. You may combine this with sunrise at Srah Srang or head onwards to Kbal Spean, the river of the 1000 lingas. Have a stop off on the way home to see palm sugar being made and observe Khmer daily life in one of the local villages. This makes an excellent alternative to Angkor Wat sunrise for the start of your temple tour.
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Check our photography guides to the other temples: