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  • Writer's pictureDeb Smithers

Ta Phrom Temple, Cambodia

The Temples of Angkor.

While spending a few weeks in Siem Reap, I was finally to see the magnificent Angkor Archeological Park, Angkor Wat, The 7th wonder of the world.

The Archeological site is huge, in fact, 162 hectares, and it is the largest religious structure in the world. There are over 1000 temples on the grounds with the most famous temples being:

  • Angkor

  • The Bayon

  • Preah Khan

  • Ta Phrom

  • Phrom Bakheng

I took a comfortable 2 days visiting the site and that was perfect, no rushing and trying to see as much as possible, with 2 days I could really take in the beauty and history of Angkor Wat more peacefully and enjoyably.

Day One, saw me traveling to Ta Phrom Temple which is 1 km east of Angkor Thom, the tuk-tuk from Siem Reap was only half an hour and the temperature was at 36 degrees, and it was still only early. Great idea to get a ticket before the day to avoid waiting around in the heat. The price varies depending on the type pass you buy. I booked a pass that was 2 days with a free third day at $60 and for me after 2 very full, hot days I was tired and 'Templed out'!

The magnificent Ta Phrom temple was built from 1186 and was originally known as 'Rajavihara' (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple that was dedicated to the king's mother. The 16th-century invasion forced those in the area of Angkor to flee in search of safety. It is one of the few temples in the Angkor region where inscriptions provide information about the temple’s inhabitants. They say over 80,000 people were required to maintain and attend the temples including hundreds of officials and dancers.

When first arriving at Ta Prohm you will be overcome with amazement at something so surreal and understand why they say that it is one of the most atmospheric ruins in the world. A very distinctive feature of Ta Phrom is the interplay between nature and architecture. The ancient Strangler Fig and Bayon trees tower overhead, and their roots take over the temple, the long dark hallways and closed courtyards give it a mystical feel.

Ta Prohm is a temple of towers and narrow corridors, many of the corridors are impassable, clogged with jumbled piles of delicately carved stone blocks that have been rearranged by the huge tree roots snaking across the crumbling stone and taken over the dense jungle. The walls are carpeted with moss and creeping plants sprout from the monument's roofs. I felt like I was in another world and intrigued at the work of nature and what looks like the swallowing of the temple by its surrounds.

Most of us may have heard of the temple from the iconic film Tomb Raider and the most photographed spot in Ta Prohm is the so-called Tomb Raider tree, its eerie qualities created the perfect back drop for the rememberable scene where Angelina Jolie/Lara Croft picked a jasmine flower before falling through the earth...and into stardom! This was the first major motion picture shot in Cambodia since 1964.

Ta Prohm is currently under stabilization and restoration by an Indian team of the most esteemed archaeologists

Efforts are being made to ensure the stability and long-term preservation of Ta Phrom while keeping with its unique character. Structural reinforcement, tree management, and closely monitoring to prevent any further collapse or irreversible damage.

Preserving Ta Phrom is of utmost importance due to its cultural and historical value.

By protecting this remarkable site, we can honor the past, support the local economy, and ensure its beauty and significance for future generations.

It really is an incredibly special place, and I would highly recommend while in Cambodia to see the Angkor ruins, especially Ta Phrom.

There are plenty of monkeys and many with babies, but unlike Indonesia's little rascals, these monkeys were different, just chilled and happy to keep their distance.

I love the heat, but it was damn hot! You're in the sun the entire day and at 5pm it was still sweltering. After finishing the day at Ta Phrom, it is back in the tuktuk continuing on for half hour, arriving Bakeng Temple. Taking a peaceful walk to the top of Bakeng Hill to join the monks in watching the sunset, and to capture some amazing photographs. After returning to the temple, you will travel 40 min to return to Siem reap. I suggest not pre-booking transport from the different temples, it is quicker, easier and cheaper just to find a tuk-tuk driver looking to make a little cash.

"Adopt the pace of nature,

her secret is patience."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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