One of the smaller Angkor temples, the Banteay Samre (Banteay Samré) takes its name from the Samré people that inhabited the area.

The temples pediments and lintels are decorated with very intricate and well preserved carvings of Hindu mythological stories and Buddhist depictions.

As an inscribed stele giving information about the founding of the temple has not been found, it is not known what year the temple was build. Judging from its style and ornamentation, it is likely that the Banteay Samre was built around halfway through the 12th century during the reign of King Suryavarman II.

At the start of the 20th century the Banteay Samre was overgrown with jungle. It was restored during the 1930’s using the anastylosis method, that aims to restore the monument as close as possible to the original.

The legend of the cucumber King

The Banteay Samre temple is associated with the legend of the cucumber King. It tells of a local farmer who grew tasty cucumbers on his field. After his first harvest, he presented some of them to the King. The King liked the cucumbers so much that he ordered the farmer to kill anyone who tried to steal them or enter his farmland.

One day, the King, longing for the taste of the cucumbers went to the field to get some of them. As it was after dark, the farmer did not recognize the King and accidentally killed him. As the King did not have sons, it was decided that a Royal elephant would chose the next King.

The elephant was let go free and walked towards the farmers field. When the animal kneeled in front of the farmer, he was made King. The Royal servants however were dissatisfied with the new King and disrespected him, upon which the King moved out of the Palace to the Banteay Samre temple.

Banteay Samre Overview

Banteay Samre was cleared by a French archaeological team of Maurice Glaize in 1930. After extensive restoration work between 1936 and 1944 according to the method called Anastylosis, this temple is one of the finest and most complete Khmer monuments now. Undoubtedly, Banteay Samre in its present condition is Angkor’s most significant flat temple from the Hindu period and the second most important example of the classical style of Angkor Wat, though not of such enormous size as Beng Melea outside Angkor or Phimai in North East Thailand.

Like Angkor Wat, Banteay Samre was obviously dedicated to Vishnu, though no inscription was has yet been found to confirm this. It is a matter of debate whether Banteay Samre was built by Angkor Wat founder Suryavarman II or by one of his high-ranking court officials or by Suyavarman's less significant immidiate successor Yashovarman II.

Like Angkor Wat, Banteay Samre is approached by a long, raised causeway, leading to a cruciform terrace. Probably it is of a later date, because the design of the cylindrical columns is of the Bayon style, though lion statues are very similar to those of the Angkor Wat. Unlike Angkor Wat, Banteay Samre is oriented to the east. But there is a second causeway at the back side in the west connecting the temple to the south-east corner of the former reservoir East Baray.

Banteay Samre has two quite different and contrasting enclosures. The outer (83m x 77m) is a laterite gallery in a warm reddish tone, the inner court and its edifices are completely built in sandstone, which is of a grey colour. Both enclosures' gate pavilions, at the cardinal points, are decorated with excellent reliefs, at pediments in particular. These sandstone carvings are strikingly deep. The outer enclosure was framed by a colonnade, the tiled roofs are vanished. In places, it is a real symphony of columned windows. An interior moat with laterite paving, filled with water after heavy rainfall till the present day, is a unique feature inside a Khmer temple complex.

The sandstone buildings inside the central enclosure are framed by narrow platforms. The buildings bear reliefs at pediments and lintels and at the bases of the pilasters. Their ornamentation is of exceptional quality. Some reliefs on the upper levels of this Hindu sanctuary show Buddhist scenes. Surprisingly, this temple in the style of Angkor Wat has no Apsara depictions.

There is a stone coffin in the main sanctuary. Originally there was a Vishnu statue inside the central Prasat tower. Unfortunately, many sculptures and some carvings of Banteay Samre were stolen between 1945 and 1947 and during the Cambodian civil war from 1980 to 1995.

Below is the glimpse of Banteay Samre Temple in 360o viewing:

What to see at Banteay Samre

Hindu & Buddhist depictions

The Banteay Samre which is located about 500 meters East of the East baray was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. The monument contains both Hindu and Buddhist depictions. The images of the Buddha were destroyed, probably around mid 13th century, when Jayavarman VIII came to power, who worshipped Shiva. From the Eastern entrance, a 200 meter long paved laterite walkway with a balustrade with mythological Nagas leads to the temple. On either side of the walkway is a pool. Before the Eastern gate is a terrace with lion statues, guarding the temple.

The second enclosure

The second enclosure measuring 83 by 77 meters is surrounded by galleries, except on the East end where they probably were demolished at some point in time. At the end of each side are gopura entrance gates. The lintels and pediments on the gopuras of the second enclosure contain some very well preserved carvings:

  • A scene from the Ramayana epic: a fight between the hero Rama and the ten headed Ravana
  • Indra the God of War, riding his three headed elephant Airavata
  •  Another scene from the Ramayana: Lakshmana, brother of the hero Rama is badly wounded during a battle with Ravana and is dying. It is decided that Hanuman must go to the Himalayas to fetch a herb that can cure Lakshmana. As Hanuman does not know which herb is the correct one, he picks up the whole mountain and flies it back to Lanka. The herb is given to Lakshmana, who is immediately cured.
  • Other mythological scenes with Vishnu, Garuda, Krishna, Rama fighting Ravana, Indra on Airavata, an army of monkeys fighting a battle

The inner sanctuary

The inner sanctuary is set on a high platform topping the temple. It is surrounded by low galleries with a gopura gate at the center of each side. In the center of the platform is a single sanctuary tower opening to a mandapa to the East end. The central tower and the gopuras contain devatas, more scenes from the Ramayana epic as well as several depictions of the Buddha, that have been destroyed. Inside the mandapa is a stone tomb with a lid on it and a small drain at the bottom, which may have been used as a sarcophagus.

On either side of the sanctuary is a library building opening to a vestibule to the West. Both libraries contain depictions from the Ramayana epic. The library to the left when entering through the East gopura contained an image of the Buddha that has been destroyed.

Planning to Visit Banteay Samre

Temple Facts

  • Date: 12th Century
  • Religion: Hinduism
  • Built By: Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II
  • Dedicated To: Vishnu (unconfirmed)
  • Style: Angkor Wat
  • Best Time to Visit: Anytime
  • Length of Visit: 30 - 60 minutes
  • Temple Pass: Required (Included in the pass to the whole Angkor Complex)


Banteay Samre is located along Road 810 a few kilometres east of East Mebon. It’s sandwiched between Roads 67 and 66 which take you to Banteay Srei temple and on to Kbal Spean and Phnom Kulen.

Check the location of Banteay Samre on the below Google Maps for your reference:

Getting There

Banteay Samre is around 20km from Siem Reap and a little more than 10km from Angkor Wat temple. If you are a keen cyclist, you can take a cycle ride out there. At only 20km from town, it’s possible to take a tuk tuk or a taxi.

Many guests will combine a trip to Banteay Samre with a trip to Banteay Srei, Phnom Kulen, or another attraction in the area such as the Butterfly Centre or the Landmine Museum.

Banteay Samre Tours

Banteay Samre is a little too far to include on the Small Circuit or Grand Circuit tour. Most tours will incorporate this temple with a trip to Banteay Srei or Kbal Spean.

It’s also possible to combine it with trips to other attractions in the area such as the Butterfly Centre, the Landmine Museum, or a countryside Tour.

Moreover, you can combine it with the Roluos Group of temples or Kampong Phluk floating village.


Visitors to Banteay Samre generally stay in Siem Reap town. There are some homestays around near Banteay Srei. It’s also quite nearby to Bakong Commune where you will also find some small guesthouses.

It is easy to reach Banteay Samre from the town and most guests will choose accommodation in Siem Reap.

Here is our Siem Reap Travel Guide

Why Visit Banteay Samre?

Banteay Samre temple is a little out of the way and is a much quieter alternative to the temples close to Angkor Wat. You can easily explore the temple without thousands of other people around you. This makes it a perfect choice for photography.

Moreover, Banteay Samre is a smaller version of Angkor Wat and you’ll immediately see the similarities between the two.

If you want to visit some temples and attractions a little further away such as Phnom Kulen, it can be a nice stop along the way to break up the journey.

The Layout & Design of Banteay Samre

Banteay Samre resembles Angkor Wat and looks like a miniature version of the great temple. It was built at the same time as Angkor Wat.

There is an enclosure with entrance gates (gopuras) at each side. The lintels here are very well preserved and you can see carvings which feature a fight between Rama and the ten-headed Ravana. You can also see other mythical scenes featuring other Hindu gods such as Vishnu, Krishna, Indra, Laskmana, Hanuman, and others.

There is an inner sanctuary which features low galleries with an entrance gate at each side. The central tower here contains scenes from Hindu epics. There are both Hindu and Buddhist images here. However, many Buddhist carvings would have been destroyed during the Buddhist purges in the 13th century with King Jayavarman VIII came to power.

History of Banteay Samre Temple

Banteay Samre was built by Kings Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early part of the 12th century. This Hindu temple was built in the same style as Angkor Wat temple. In fact, it looks like a miniature Angkor Wat.

Not much is known about the temple and most what is known is speculation. There is no real reference to the date of construction and few inscriptions have been found.

Photos of Banteay Samre

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Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Preah Vihear Temple (Prasat Preah Vihear) is an ancient Hindu temple built during the period of the Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple is in Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles.

Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north–south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province, though it is no longer accessible from Thailand.

On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Deep in the forests of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, the elegant spires of an ancient stone city soar skyward above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Khmer Empire’s various capitals thrived here from the 9th to 15th centuries, while their rulers presided over an empire that stretched from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam. Including forested areas and newly discovered “suburbs” Angkor covers more than 400 square kilometers.

Though just one of hundreds of surviving temples and structures, the massive Angkor Wat is the most famed of all Cambodia’s temples - it appears on the nation’s flag - and it is revered for good reason. The 12th century “temple-mountain” was built as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is an architectural triumph laden with artistic treasures like the bas-relief galleries that line many walls and tell enduring tales of Cambodian history and legend.

In other parts of Angkor such art depicts scenes of daily life - offering scholars a precious window into the past.

Reading the below epic guide for Angkor Archaeological Park, you will have all the information you need from its history, maps, best time to visit and so on to have the best out of your Angkor tours


Banteay Kdei Temple (Prasat Banteay Kdei), meaning "A Citadel of Chambers", also known as "Citadel of Monks' cells", is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. 

Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII (who was posthumously given the title "Maha paramasangata pada"), it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister.

This Buddhist monastic complex is currently dilapidated due to faulty construction and poor quality of sandstone used in its buildings and is now undergoing renovation. Banteay Kdei had been occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries till 1960s.


Just east of Angkor Thom’s Victory Gate is Chau Say Tevoda. It was probably built during the second quarter of the 12th century, under the reign of Suryavarman II, and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It has been renovated by the Chinese to bring it up to the condition of its twin temple, Thommanon.


Thommanon Temple is a Hindu temple site that's covered in intricate carvings and surrounded by forests in Angkor. The temple is in relatively excellent condition, thanks to extensive restoration work in the 1960s.

It was constructed about the same time as Angkor Wat. The style of architecture is quite evident in the towers and carvings, which are in very good condition. During the rainy season, the dampened sandstone offers great photo opportunities.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex dates back between the 11th and 12th centuries. It is about 600 metres east of the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, just opposite Chau Say Tevoda. Even before restoration, Thommanon was in much a better condition than Chau Say Tevoda. Unlike the latter, which was built using wooden beams enclosed in stone, Thommanon Temple's entire structure was made out of stone. 


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