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Temple Watch: Tranquil Banteay Samre

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Tucked away at the eastern edge of the Angkor park is the small temple Banteay Samre. It was named after the Samre, an ethnic tribe that lived around Phnom Kulen. Built in a distinctive Angkor Wat style, it has a single lotus flower tower surrounded by cloistered courtyards. The grey limestone doorways and window frames contrast attractively with the pinkish laterite walls. Visitors normally approach from the north, but the main entrance, with cruciform terrace and Naga balustrades, is to the east. To the west, a rough path flanked with lantern stones leads to the remains of a stone bridge. Banteay Samre is a peaceful place, and there are likely to be more vendors than visitors in the rainy season. The drive via the ancient village of Pre Dak passes through idyllic countryside. Pre Dak is sited in the Eastern Baray Reservoir, which dried up centuries ago. Green signs denote the new road, via Route 6 to Siem Reap and north to Banteay Srey. The temple causeway opposite the primary school is about a kilometre from Pre Dak, and the earth banks of the Eastern Baray are easily visible along the road just before the school.

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