Banteay Srei is quite remote from the other main temples in the Angkor complex. It’s about a 45-minute drive to this small temple, but worth the effort. At Banteay Srei, the carvings on the pink sandstone temple walls are quite exquisite and very detailed. They have survived intact since the 10th century, which is rather difficult to believe, given the heavy tropical rain and humidity the region receives and the lush jungle surrounds, which must engulf any abandoned temples. Banteay Srei is a Hindu temple. Several large monkeys stand as sentries at entries to the structures, and carvings on the walls tell stories from the Hindu Ramayana epic.
On the road back to Siem Reap, we made a brief stop at the Landmines Museum. Landmines have devastated this country since the Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970s, taking the lives or limbs of many rural farmers and their children as they innocently worked in their fields. To this day, up to 5000 people are still engaged daily clearing landmines in Cambodia. There are still many places which are off limits because they may contain landmines. We have seen a number of people on our travels with arms and legs missing. It’s a horrible legacy from a horrible war.