Top Souvenirs From Around the World

Savvy travelers fill their suitcases with Murano glass from Venice, Persian carpets from Iran, crystal from Sweden and batiks from Bali. Fortunately, you can also buy these products online once you get back home.

Female batik vendor holding cloth atop her head, Kintamani Market, Bali, Indonesia (© Jon Arnold Images/

World Souvenirs: Bali Batiks

If you’re walking around the island of Bali, don’t be surprised if a woman walks toward you with a pile of batik prints on her head and tries to sell you one. If you walk into a street market, vendors will run their fingers along the brightly colored threads and call out to you. It’s hard to escape Bali without some batiks in your luggage, but then, why would you want to? Fabrics are dipped in melted wax and then into colorful dyes, resulting in unique and vibrant clothing.

Srah Srang

Date of Construction: Mid 10th and Late 12th century C.E
Religious Affiliation: Buddhist
Patron or King: Jayavarman VII
Artistic/Archeo. Style: Bayon
Location: AAP/PC - Eastern edge of the PC
Location of Entrance: West side
Duration of Visit: 10 minutes
Time to Visit: Anytime, though early morning is particularly picturesque
Photography Notes: Best light in the morning hours
Position (west ghat): 13d25'49N 103d54'11E

Picturesque baray opposite the east entrance of Banteay Kdei. Originally constructed by the same architect that built Pre Rup. Remodeled in the 12th century as part of Jayavarman VII's massive building campaign. A multi-tiered landing platform on the west edge of the baray is adorned with naga balustrades and guardian lions. The very sparse remains of an island temple can be seen poking out of the middle of the lake during the dry season when the water is low. Srah Srang offers a pleasant, much less touristed sunrise alternative to Angkor Wat.

Prasat Suor Prat

Date of Construction: Early 13th century C.E.
Religious Affiliation: Hinduism
Patron or King: Indravarman II
Artistic/Archeo. Style: Post-Bayon
Location: Central Angkor Thom
Duration of Visit: 15-30 minutes
Time to Visit: Anytime, but the afternoon offers the best light.
Photography Notes: Afternoon
Position (first tower south of E/W road): 13d26'44N 103d51'37E

Twelve nearly identical laterite and sandstone towers that stand opposite and parallel to the Terrace of the Elephants. The artistic and architectural style of the towers is somewhat unique, defying easy classification and dating. Construction may have begun under Jayavarman VII, but the towers do not display the classic Bayon-style characteristics. It has been argued that they may be post-Bayon or perhaps much earlier, as early the 11th century. The original function of the towers is a matter of debate but in the 13th century classic, "Customs of Cambodia," Chinese emissary to Angkor, Zhou Daguan, gives a romantic but dubious first hand account of their function. He wrote that the towers were used to settle legal disputes and matters of criminal justice. The belligerent parties were kept in the towers for a few days. The one to emerge in ill health was declared the loser, guilty by divine decree. Best photographed in the late afternoon.

Banteay Srey Temple

Date of Construction: Late 10th century C.E.
Religious Affiliation: Hinduism
Patron or King: Rajendravarman
Artistic/Archeo. Style: Banteay Srey
Location: AAP - Outside the main Park area. 37 kms north of Siem Reap
Duration of Visit: 45 minutes 1-1/2 hours
Photography Notes: Many of the carvings are roped off. Bring a telephoto lens and tripod for carving shots.
Position: 13d35'56N 103d57'46E

Banteay Srey loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings. Built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, the temple was constructed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman and later under Jayavarman V. Banteay Srey displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance. The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM, but there are fewer tourists in the afternoon. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists relatively late, in 1914. The temple area closes at 5:00 PM. Banteay Srey lies 38 km from Siem Reap, requiring extra travel time. Drivers usually charge a fee in addition to their normal daily charge for the trip. Banteay Srey is well worth the extra effort. Combine a visit to Banteay Srey with Banteay Samre.

Banteay Kdei Temple

Constructed: Late 12th – Early 13th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhism
King/Patron: Jayavarman VII
Style: Angkor Wat / Bayon

Sprawling, largely unrestored, monastic complex in much the same style as Ta Prum. It was originally constructed over the site of an earlier temple, and functioned as a Buddhist monastery under Jayavarman VII. As with other works of Jayavarman VII's era, it is a tightly packed architectural muddle, which like Bayon, suffered from several changes in the plans at the time of construction. It was also built using an interior grade of sandstone and using poor construction techniques, leading to much of the deterioration visible today. A restoration project is underway on many of the towers and corridors, and some areas are blocked off. The foundation stele of the temple has not been found so there is no record of to whom it is dedicated. The th13th century vandalism of Buddha images that is seen on many Jayavarman Vii temples is quite apparent on Banteay Kdey. Combine with a visit to Srah Srang, which is just opposite the east entrance.


A baray is a water reservoir – an area of land where dikes have been raised tobaray catch and hold water. Angkorian kings built massive barays, and such projects became one of the marks of Angkorian kingship. At the center of each barays is and island temple. The first major baray to be constructed (Indratataka), measuring 3.8km x 880m, was completed in 889AD when the capital was still at Hariharalaya near Roluos.

Lolei sat on an island in the middle. Construction of the second major baray (i.e. the East Baray or Yashodharatataka), began almost immediately after the first. At 7.8km x 880m it was almost five times larger than the indratataka. Almost 50 years later, East Mebon was constructed on an island in the center.

The third and largest (8km x 2.2km) is the west Baray built in the early 11th century. West Mebon sits on a central artificial island. The last baray (Jayatataka) was constructed by Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. It is considered to be the baray of Preah Khan Through the unique temple, Neak Pean, sites at the center.

The function of barays is a matter of academic debate. A recent study has asserted that the barays did not serve an agricultural purpose but were built and maintained for political/religious reasons.

More conventional wisdom has it that the barays were part of a giant water works used to irrigate the rice paddies and provide water for year round cultivation, though they certainly served a political and religious function as well.

Ek Phnom Temple

Ek Phnom was built in the 11th century as a Hindu temple by King Suryavarman I. It is located in Tkov village in Peam Ek commune, about 14 kilometres from Battambong town.

The temple consists of prasats on a platform with some carvings in good condition, but Ek Phnom pagoda is a modern pagoda. It has one of the most complete collections of Buddhist wall and ceiling paintings in all Cambodia. There are 18 bodhi trees around the temple. Outside the temple to the south, you will see a moat that is now a pond.

Along the road that takes you from Batambang city to Ek Phnom, you will pass through some outstanding scenic countryside.

Kravan Temple

Kravan, the cardamom. The exact original name of the temple is not known. Local people call this temple Kravan because there are many Kravan flowers growing nearby. Temple is aromatic flower whose petals are similar to but smaller then, Romdul, temple is located east of Angkor Wat and south of Banteay Kdei.

The temple was built in 921 during the reign of King Harshavarman I43 (AD 910-923), dedicated to Vishnu Brahmanism. It may have been built in high court officials. Although this temple look small and somewhat undistinguished from the outside, it contains some remarkable brick sculptures on its interior walls which stand alone as unique example in Khmer art.

The interior of two of the five tower has sculptures depicting Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi, the scene is the central tower is the most impressive, but both are exceptional in statue and quality of workmanship.

The five brick towers are in a row on one platform which is decorate with carved, sandstone, lintels and columns. All the tower open to the east.

Bakong Temple

Contructed: Late 9th century C.E.
Religion: Hindu
King/Patron: Indravarman I
Style: Preah Ko

Roluos Group: The most impressive member of the Roluos Group, sitting at the center of the first Angkorian capital, Hariharalaya. Bakong stands 15 meters tall and is 650x850m at the outer wall. Constructed by the third Angkorian-era king as his state-temple, Bakong represents the first application of the temple-mountain architectural formula on a grand scale and set the architectural tone for the next 400 years. The temple displays a very early use of stone rather than brick. Though begun by Indravarman I, Bakong received additions and was expanded by later kings. The uppermost section and tower may have been added as late as the 12th century AD. Some of the lintel carvings, particularly on the outer towers, are in very good shape. Picturesque moat and vegetation surround Bakong.

Bayon Temple

Date of Construction: Late 12th century C.E.
Religious Affiliation: Buddhist
Patron or King: Jayavarman VII
Artistic/Archeo. Style: Bayon
Location: Central Angkor Thom
Location of Entrance: Eastern causeway
Duration of Visit: 45 minutes - 2 hours
Time to Visit: Anytime
Position: 13d26'28N 103d51'31E

If you see only two temples, and Angkor Wat Bayon should be the ones. The giant stone faces of Bayon have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture. There are 37 standing towers, most but not all sporting four carved faces oriented toward the cardinal points. Who the faces represent is a matter of debate but they may be Loksvara, Mahayana Buddhism's compassionate Bodhisattva, or perhaps a combination of Buddha and Jayavarman VII. Bayon was the Jayavarman VII's state-temple and in many ways represents the pinnacle of his massive building campaign. It appears to be, and is to some degree, an architectural muddle, in part because it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century.

The best of Bayon are the bas-reliefs on the exterior walls of the lower level and on the upper level where the stone faces reside. The bas-reliefs on the southern wall contain real-life scenes from the historical sea battle between the Khmer and the Cham. It is not clear whether this represents the Cham invasion of 1177AD or a later battle in which the Khmer were victorious. Even more interesting are extensive carvings of unique and revealing scenes of everyday life that are interspersed among the battle scenes, including market scenes, cockfighting, chess games and childbirth. Also note the unfinished carvings on other walls, likely indicating the death of Jayavarman VII and the subsequent end of his building campaign. Some of the reliefs on the inner walls were carved at a later date under the Hindu king Jayavarman VIII. The surrounding tall jungle makes Bayon a bit dark and flat for photographs near sunrise and sunset..