Banteay Srei – Kbal Spean – Beng Mealea
On the path to adventure! This is one of the most fascinating tours to follow. From the pink sandstone Banteay Srei to the green wilderness of Beng Mealea, this tour takes you into the Cambodian country side where you can relive a true Indiana Jones experience. The first stop will take you to Banteay Srei, one of the most delicate temples of the Khmer empire. The name was coined in modern times and it means citadel of women or citadel of beauty. It's pink sandstone and the intricate carvings of the bas-relieves made early scholars assume that the temple was made by women. It is the only temple in Cambodia that was commissioned by a counsellor, and not by the king himself. It's small size always surprises the visitor, but the exquisite carvings will also take your breath away.
The second stop will be on the side of the Kulen mountains, where a forest trail will take you to the source of the Kbal Spean spring. Hidden under the water or placed in strategic places, you will find a large number of carvings, from a frog at the top of a waterfall to a peaceful pool with a thousand lingas. It's an unforgetable experience, specially if you enjoy the wilderness.
Leaving the best for the end, the third stop takes you to the stunning temple of Beng Mealea. The history of the temple is virtually unknown, but its fallen towers and scattered walls make the perfect setting for an Indiana Jones experience. Creeping plants and giant roots decorate the blue sandstone of the temple, and a sense of timelessness invades the visitor. Beng Mealea has not been reconstructed, instead it lies in the same way it was found, which gives the visitor an idea of how forgotten cities are found after centuries of abandonment.