Banteay Kdei

Banteay Kdei is the little cousin to Ta Prohm. Close by each other, both are surrounded and in some places fighting with the jungle. Banteay Kdei is an active worship site which adds to the mystical qualities of the place.

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Just down the road from Ta Prohm is Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist temple built by Jayavarman VII in the Bayon style similar to Ta Prohm. Banteay Kdei means the “Citadel of Chambers” and the name is pretty accurate. Although smaller than Ta Prohm, it too is in a state of disrepair and is in the midst of renovations.

However, unlike Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei does not have the huge crowds that at times overwhelms other sites. The lack of crowds makes your time there special in that you are not fighting everyone to take your photographs and you pretty much have run of the place. When I visited, I could count the number of folks there on one hand, not counting my family (there were only three of us).

Banteay Kdei Views

Landscape view of Banteay Kdei, Angkor Wat Archeological Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

I found that my best shots were around the entrance to the site, with the huge trees towering over the first line of walls. This particular temple complex has a moat, however I did not find there to be much visual interest in the moat itself.

Once inside the temple complex, there are a number of building areas one can wander through. I found Banteay Kdei to have very few tourists when I was there, which made this location a much easier one to photograph.

The name, “Citadel of Chambers” is a great moniker, as I would find myself walking from one room into the next. And in my walking around I stumbled upon a Buddhist nun who maintained an altar to Buddha.
The shot I took here in this room with the Buddhist nun ended up being one of my favorite shots from my whole time at Angkor Wat as it represented to me the blending of the ancient with the current day.

Woman at prayer before Buddha at Banteay Kdei, Angkor Wat Archeological Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

There are a number of locations with carvings of dancing Asparas on the walls, which are interesting subjects on their own. There was one section with room after room with carvings of dancing Asparas, which made for some great shots.

Bas-relief of dancing apsaras at Banteay Kdei, Angkor Wat Archeological Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia.


Overall, this was one of my favorite temples within Angkor Wat, although to be honest, most of what I visited was wonderful in their own right. It is really difficult to leave Angkor Wat and not get some great shots!

Like all the other sites, you will be best served using your 24-70mm lens for most of your shots. Even the exterior shots I took I used the 24mm end of the range and got some nice shots. As many of the rooms lack for good light, you will find yourself either using a tripod or increasing your ISO and decreasing your shutter speed to get the shots you are looking for.

Other Posts in this Series "Angkor Wat"

Previous Post: Angkor Wat: Ta Prohm
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David Cote is a landscape and travel photographer who makes stunning photographs of beautiful locations around our wonderful world. When not selling photography at art shows or online, he can be found sharing his love and knowledge of photography with others who love photography.

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