Trees vs. Temples

Posted by - August 28, 2011 | Category: Asia, Cambodia, Escapes

Visiting Angkor Wat and the temples in the surrounding Angkor complex is one of life’s necessities — like a kidney, or an IPod.  You just have to.  And you will love every last templed square inch of the place.

Ta Prohm, meaning “Old Brahma”– the Hindu god of Creation, is one of the smaller temples in the Angkor park, but one of the most spectacular.  It’s one of those magical, mystical places that just looks too good to be real, which is probably why they used it in that awful Angelina Jolie movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.  It’s Indiana Jones meets the Hobbits.  And unlike most things in Angkor, it hasn’t been completely restored by the Chinese.

Silk-cotton trees and strangler vines weave a tangled splendour over stones that never stood a chance — the living triumph over the dead in this place.

Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Tree growing over temple. Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia

Tree growing over wall, Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

This is the most popular site within Ta Prohm…

IMGP3475

Ta Prohm temple with tree, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple with tree and stones Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm tree with twisted roots, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple seen through tree, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple with moss, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple with tree, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple with tree and moss, Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple with tree and moss, Angkor, Siem Reap Province

Temple with tree and moss

Temple with support beam

Ta Prohm Temple with support beam

Ta Prohm Temple

Green moss on temple

Thick tree roots overtake wall, Ta Prohm

Travel Tips:

  • Be patient.  There are lots of tourists here, but if you see a crowd, don’t despair.  Just head off to one of the other sites within the temple and return later.  The most popular site noted above had about 30 Japanese students posing in front of it when I got there.  I went back 15 minutes later and it was blissfully tourist-free.
  • If you’re taking a tuk-tuk, get your driver to drop you off at one end and pick you up on the other.
  • Unlike the other temples, this one had no vendors inside, so enjoy the peace and quiet while you can.

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57 comments
    1. The bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap takes about 6 hours. From there it’s just about 10 minutes outside of town. Well worth the trip though…

      Thanks for commenting!

    1. I am a very patient man! I just backtracked a couple of times when the crowds had shifted. Still, it wasn’t nearly as bad as Angkor Wat at sunrise — that place was a zoo!

  1. I love Angkor Wat so much. I’m hoping to get back there next year.
    We found a couple of tuk tuk drivers in the tourist strip one night and asked them to pick us up at 4am WITHOUT THE TUK TUKS, just the motorbikes.
    The guys took us to a magical temple and we clambered over fallen stones in the dark and then watched the the sun rise and heard the jungle wake up. It was magical.
    Bayon was my favourite temple, though. It gave me the shivers, even when it was filled with tourists.
    Barbara – The Dropout Diaries recently posted…Today Was A Good Day To QuitMy Profile

  2. love how the trees become a part of the building, almost like they are reclaiming what is theirs. great hots, cant wait to get there!

  3. Great pictures! Is this particular temple within riding distance? I know a friend of mine rode to a few temples to avoid being harassed by tuk tuk drivers.

    1. I saw lots of people riding bikes in from town, so it is doable for sure. I took the tuk-tuk though, and I’m glad I did — with all that walking up those massive temple steps, there was no way I would have wanted to ride a bike as well…

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