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November 2015. One of the many things I liked about my day touring Angkor’s amazing temples is that each structure we visited had a clear identity that set it apart from the others. As one of the so-called modern wonders of the world, Angkor Wat was an experience of pure grandeur and scale, while the more intimate Bayon Temple was all about its collection of stunning face sculptures. Our third temple of the day was Ta Prohm, known as The Tomb Raider Temple as it famously served as a filming location back in 2000 for the Angelina Jolie movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
November 2015. Dating back to 1186, Ta Prohm was dedicated to the mother of Cambodia’s most powerful ruler, King Jayavarman VII. Wherever you look you’ll see amazing, ancient trees twisting in and out of the ruins along with wild bushes, plants and flowers. Indeed some of the staircases and alleys are impassable due to broken rubble and thick vegetation.
November 2015. Tomb Raider really helped put Ta Prohm and indeed Cambodia itself on the map and visitors are always keen to come and check out The Tomb Raider Tree, where Angelina Jolie famously stops to pick a Jasmine flower before the ground cracks open to swallow her up.
November 2015. Another spot to seek out is Ta Prohm’s curious dinosaur carving, the source of much debate among historians. What were the Angkorians doing creating images of a stegosaurus? There are all kinds of wild theories if you dig around the net, while many experts have simply concluded it’s a hoax of some kind. We hadn’t heard anything about the dinosaur prior to our visit and when my girlfriend told us about it my friend Chris made a bet that no such carving existed. Dinner was on him that day! 🙂
November 2015. Ta Prohm is nestled deep in the jungle of Angkor Archeological Park, which begins some seven kilometers outside Siem Reap city centre. So you’re looking at about forty minutes in a private car, quite a bit longer in a rickety old tuk tuk like the one I took. As a foreigner you’ll also need to set aside fifteen to twenty minutes for queuing up to get your Angkor Temples Permit. A one-day pass is $37, three days is $62, while a week’s permit is priced at $72. Our tuk tuk driver, who drove us from temple to temple and sat about smoking while we explored was an additional $20, though my Khmer girlfriend negotiated this price so $25-30 might be a more realistic figure.
For more on this incredible area of Cambodia, check out more travel reports on The Temples of Angkor.
Or maybe delve further afield with my articles from across Cambodia.
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