Now if you’re getting tired of Siem Reap’s historical man-made structures and opt for an experience that revolves around nature and wildlife, the city has just the destination for you. The Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre or BBC is an interactive butterfly exhibit that features a live and great display of Cambodian butterflies.
Located in Siem Reap, the exhibit consists of a netted and enclosed tropical garden with more than a hundred free-flying butterflies that are all native to the country of Cambodia. The butterfly sanctuary is South East Asia’s biggest butterfly exhibit and provides its visitors with an interactive and visual setting to learn more about butterflies.
At the center, which is also known as the Angkor Srey Butterfly Centre, visitors will be educated on the butterfly life-cycle and ecology of such unique insects. Many visitors particularly enjoy feeding the butterflies and letting them come close to their hands. Kids have the benefit of witnessing the complete life cycle of the species as well. Many of the butterflies are seen in pupae form and are sustainably farmed by the people from the villages of Siem Reap.
Families that farm butterflies are greatly supported by the revenue generated by the center’s tourist admissions, which makes it a great project to alleviate poverty. It also results to alternative livelihoods in many Siem Reap communities. Recently, the project expanded to exporting pupae to many butterfly exhibits abroad, which allows more families in Siem Reap to engage in butterfly farming as well as broaden their income generating activities. Even better, the center employs only local staff at the exhibit to help manage the center and to support even more butterfly farmers in the coming years.
The Butterfly Center is located about 25 kilometers north of Siem Reap along the road towards the Landmine Museum and Relief Facility and the Banteay Srey Temple. From the main park entrance of Angkor Wat, follow the Grand Circuit. Make a right turn at Sras Srang and make another right at the East Mebon, which means you will be leaving the Grand Circuit. Head towards the village of Phum Pradak and make a left turn upon reaching the village. Go straight until you see the center to your left.
An admission fee of USD 4 is charged per adult while children get in for half the price. The revenue generated by BBC from its entrance fees provides support to many local people that suffer from poverty and also supports other conservation projects of the country. Guides found roaming around the center are extremely knowledgeable and friendly so do not hesitate to ask them questions about the center or, better yet, the life cycle of the butterflies. The center for butterflies is open daily from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.
Everyone that visits the butterfly sanctuary leaves with an increased awareness of the country’s biodiversity and ecology. Visiting the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is indeed a refreshing destination compared to the abundant temples seen in Siem Reap. Ultimately, the center aims to engage more and more people in broader conservation issues and environmental education.