Ta Prohm Temple
With fig and silk cotton trees growing out of the buildings and roots cascading down the outer walls, visitors often remark that Ta Prohm Temple feels like a scene out of a fantasy novel. In fact, the site was used for scenes in the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; but this is a place that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. The temple was built in the 12th century; its state of ruin today only enhances its ethereal atmosphere.
Ta Prohm has three distinctive galleries and 39 towers. It’s a massive building and features expansive galleries and courtyards. Give yourself a minimum of a few hours to admire the elaborate carvings that cover every surface. Archaeologists and visitors alike are always drawn to one carving in particular, which looks like a faithful portrait of a stegosaurus. Some scientists think this is proof that dinosaurs lived even longer than previously believed.
The surrounding jungle is as captivating as the architecture itself. Parrots flit around the buildings and massive trees seem to hold the temple within its grasp.
When visiting, be sure to wear sensible shoes. Ta Prohm is a ruin, so exploring requires some careful footwork. Visit the temple early in the morning to enjoy some time when there are fewer sightseers. Crowds tend to gather later on in the afternoon, so it’s best to make the temple one of your first stops in the Angkor Archaeological Park. If you need refreshments during your visit, there are food and drink stands at the temple entrance.
Ta Prohm is located in the eastern corner of Angkor Archaeological Park, allowing easy access from the nearby city of Siem Reap. There are numerous options to get to the temple: you can go by rented bicycle, in a tuk-tuk or as part of a private tour. Admission to the temple is included in the ticket you buy to enter the larger Angkor Archaeological Park.