The Roluos Group temples are not located in the Angkor Archaeological Park. They are further away on the road to Phnom Penh. However, you can visit them using the same passes for Angkor Wat. Remember to always have your pass with you as there are guards who check for passes at each temple.
After collecting my pass at the ticket booth in Angkor Archaeological Park, we started the journey to Lolei, the smallest of the Roluos Group temples, by tuk-tuk which I hired for US$35. Banteay Samre was included in the tour but I chose to skip it as I was late for lunch with the group.
The journey took less than an hour and there was plenty to see along the way. Remember to bring along dusk protection mask as the road was... well, you can see from the picture below.
The original temple is under restoration but you can still walk around. There's also a 'new' temple next to it. Worth a check. Expect to spend about 20 minutes here.
|Check out the nice drawings!|
You'll need to climb some stairs to reach Lolei. Just a few up the fort-like wall, really.
|I saw a lizard lurking under the stairs. GELI!!!|
As mentioned earlier, the Roluos Group temples are situated on the road towards Phnom Penh. So if you're going on your own, look out for little signage like in the pic below:
Preah Ko is by the roadside to Bakong. There are some shops and eateries nearby and there were many kids peddling souvenirs to tourists. If you have no intention to buy, tell them "no, thank you" firmly. Do not promise that you'll buy later as they will remember and wait for you.
|One of the surviving nandi|
|Looks deserted eh?|
Bakong is probably the biggest of Roluos Group temples. Thus, you'll need to walk quite a bit although no where as far as Angkor Wat. There's also a 'new' temple here which you can visit.
|whitelambchops with its new friend.|
Follow @whitelambchops on Instagram.
When I arrived in Bakong, a boy approached me with a flower stem. He tried to give it to me but I refused. He was insistent so I relented. As I was about to take the flower stem, I saw that he was also holding a ring made of leaves and tried to slip the ring on my finger. I refused more firmly, walked faster and the boy whined a bit but left me alone.
I admit I have no idea what the boy tried to do. When I asked the tuk-tuk driver, he said he wasn't sure and maybe the boy was trying to give me a souvenir. Fishy.
Be as cautious as you would at home and you'll be fine. Don't let flatteries from the locals get into your head. Considering the kids' limited English, they can be quite sweet talkers :)
After the Roluos Group temples, we headed back to Angkor Archaeological Park to go to Banteay Srei. You can choose to drop by Banteay Samre on the way to or when you return from Banteay Srei. Many tourists combined the two temples as they are on the same route.
Although Banteay Srei is within the Angkor Archaeological Park, it is further than the main temples like Angkor Wat and Bayon. So, tuk-tuk will usually charge extra to bring you over. It might be cheaper for you to arrange a tuk-tuk for the whole day in advance and share with them the route you want to take.
When I reached Banteay Srei, I was pleasantly surprised to see how big the place is. There are buildings housing the welcome centre, some souvenir shops/cafe, public toilets, locker area, exhibition hall, souvenir stalls and restaurants.
|Souvenir huts and eateries|
|Exhibition, souvenir & restaurant|
You might want to spend at least half a day here. There are plenty to see and do. Unfortunately for me, it was already noon and I had to meet up with the group for lunch. So I managed a quick toilet break, a cup of iced coffee, and drop by the exhibition before going to the ruins.
Considering the distance from main temples, there was a lot of visitors when I visited. So you might want to come early to avoid the crowd.
I walked around the walls to get to where I came in from. There was a group of men selling books and I waited for other people to walk first because the side of the wall was deserted.
Before you reach the temple, you'll see some ladies and children selling beautifully cut fruits. I was tempted to buy some pineapple but didn't want to risk tummy ache :p A lot of people bought the fruits though.