Banteay Srei is a striking Hindu temple built in the 10th century located around 23 miles from Angkor Wat and 16 miles north-east of the temples that once belonged to Angkor Thom. It's said that the temple is so delicate that it could only have been carved by a woman's hands, so Banteay Srei is loosely translated as "Citadel of Women", best known for the beauty of its sandstone lintels and pediments.
The temple was not built for the king - the only exception of all temples at Angkor. Constructed by the king's counsellors, it was dedicated to Shiva, a popular Hindu deity. Banteay Srei is largely built of red sandstone. There are three concentric enclosures. The outer enclosure is surrounded by a laterite wall depicting scenes from ancient Indian epics. The second enclosure features interesting bas-relief presenting the combat between two princes. The brick inner enclosure contains two libraries and a sanctuary sitting on a T-shaped base, which has the most ravish decorated part of the temple.
In Siem Reap there are plenty of other ways to get value out of your stay such as the lesser-known temples of Banteay Samre, Beng Mealea and Prasat Kravan, but Banteay Srei is a good one to start with.