Rooted doorway at Ta Prohm

Rooted doorway at Ta Prohm

The Angkor Archaeological Park, is huge and there are numerous temples around that you would need at most a week to explore most of them. But like I said before, I would only be featuring some of my favorite temples. One such temple which have also been popularized in the media and one of the most postcard perfect temple scenery is Ta Prohm.

Popular scene where Tomb Raider was shot

Popular scene where Tomb Raider was shot

Yes, this is the ground where Angelina Jolie walked during her shoot at the first installment of the Tomb Raider movie. A lot of people were intrigued when they saw this scene. Even my officemates before said so “It’s real” they thought it was a studio or some graphics. Yes, it’s the actual setting, the difference is there’s no trap or underground tunnel to where she fought with the giant Shiva.

beheaded statues

beheaded statues

Sad to say though that Ta Prohm is in a state of disrepair. Trees and outgrowth roots penetrated the temple walls causing them to crumble. But despite these sorry state the combination of old stones and creeping roots created a beautiful pattern among the temple walls. Also symbolizing the ephemeral existence of these great temple and kingdom at the hands of nature.

Exploring the central complex

Exploring the central complex

This temple was one of the first major temple which Jayavarman VII built around mid 12th to 13th century as a Buddhist monastery. At that time, it was the wealthiest temple controlling over 3000 villages. Now it has been outrun by an overgrowth of forest. The place has only been partially cleared intentionally so visitors could have a feel on how the discoverers of Angkor Wat felt when they first stumbled upon it.

Silk cotton tree roots running along the the inner enclosure

Silk cotton tree roots running along the the inner enclosure

In our exploration, we entered through the west entrance of the complex. It’s a bit of a walk upon entering the gopura towards the central complex. We were a bit in a hurry since there was a bus load of Korean Tourist behind us. They did reach us though so we just let them go first while we took our time to take the picture. The Tomb Raider scene is actually the first root outgrowth you’ll see upon entering the complex. Already there were still a few Caucasians there taking picture, the Koreans moved on. We took the left path and examined the walls of an inner complex, we didn’t enter at this time since we thought it was a restricted area due to the unstable structures and rubble. We continued on outside the wall until we reached an exit gopura. But the place was different than the one we entered and our tuktuk driver (whose probably sleeping again at that time) is not there so we headed back.

Inner temples and pathways

Inner temples and pathways

Good thing we headed back. I saw this accessible temple entrance and decided to enter. It was the entrance to the main inner complex where there where temple structures inside. Also, there are more impressive and scenic root outgrowths that can be found in here.

This roof might fall off

This roof might fall off

Inside the temple, there are also some wooden pathways to help you find your way safely around the area. Don’t try to venture off the cordoned area, lest you want to be buried alive under these rubbles.

Ferdz on FacebookFerdz on FlickrFerdz on GoogleFerdz on InstagramFerdz on PinterestFerdz on RssFerdz on TwitterFerdz on Youtube
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

31 Responses to “Cambodia: Ta Prohm”

  1. Alternatia

    That is so cool.

    I knew the place was real but It looks so much better in your photos.

    Ancient architecture never ceases to take my breath away

    So did you see Shiva? hehehe… kidding.

  2. rhodora

    Hey, I’ve seen a picture of this at Toe’s blog, and was I amazed!

    Sayang, di kayo nagkita. Anyway, I ‘m sure you had as much fun, judging from these great pics. Where’s the next destination? 🙂

  3. i said to myself: familiar ang place… and ibegan thinking about tomb raider… dali dali akong nag browse sa baba.. tomb raider talaga! hehe..

    how nice.. specially the first picture..

  4. wow! Wonderful temples! Nagtataka lang ako, totoo ba talaga yang mga roots na yan? parang sobrang laki kasi halos lamunin na niya mga temples.

    Akala ko rin hindi totoo yung mga settingss sa tomb raider. Astig naman. 🙂

  5. subzero

    i agree: the disarray in these temples make them more enchanting; beautiful ruins that provide everything but a glimpse of a glorious past; nature overwhelming the artificial, reminding us that no matter how great we are, we will always be weaker and smaller than the power that created us.

  6. Gypsy

    Cambodia is one place I would love to visit one of these days…come to think of it, I would love to go anywhere Lara Croft has been too! 😉 Thanks for the visit. Ex link?

  7. This is definitely my favorite temple. The French restorers who discovered this in the 1800s decided to keep the temple in the same state as they found it. The wonderness of the jungle creeping into the temple really gives it an eerie feeling.

    On another note, Ferdz, I’m about to post my slideshow of Lupang Hinirang with your pictures ha. My boss loved your pictures. Thanks so much!!!! 🙂

  8. Kyels


    It’s a complete WOW to me. I love the doorway, so ancient, so mysterious.

    I guess I’ve got to make a trip there soon, talaga!

    Nice pictures Kuya.


  9. bingskee

    so mysterious. toe had pictures of these, too, in her blog. but you captured them with such mystery, tingnan mo pa lang, parang me ibang dating na.. lalo na siguro pag makita mo nang personal.

  10. jhenny

    hi ferdz!! wow na miss ko ang blog mo ha 😀

    syempre pa nice photos 😀

    kamangha-mangha ang mga roots super laki, wal abangmga white ladies dyan?? hehe

  11. Am kicking myself in the rear for not taking advantage when I had the opportunity to go. I was so close and yet so far…5 yrs ago when I was in the Golden Triangle area we got an invite to visit this place but I passed because of all the rebel activities at that time. Man, your photos are just awesome! I’ll definitely have to go now…

  12. Ms.Pooja

    Please let me know what camera did you use? Any particular season – best forbetter pictures??
    How long did you stay ? Where?
    I will be travelling to cambodia the coming Feb (2008).

    waiting for your ideas…
    c ya !

  13. Peter G

    Great photos. Just did 7 days at Siem Reap etc.
    Problem now, is that the temples like Ta Prohm are so popular, that shots like you have are impossible to replicate..They have wooden walkways there,and those shots that you have are priceless now.

    Ta Som was a great little temple…A minature Ta Prohm and Preah Khan….. I didn’t do that much with ANGKOR WAT,as the first day when I went there for the sunset, the sky turned to grey,and the sunset photos were impossible. Went back a few days later, and it poured rain for two hours.

  14. Peter Geran

    Unfortunately, they are a bit..Your photos are much better. I was at Angkor Wat in March, and decided to return in July. Went to Banteay Srei on two occasions this trip, and while the photos were OK, I think the light was nicer when I was there in March. I used my NIKON 300mm F2.8 to good use at Banteay Srei.

    I plan to post some photos on my Facebook page next week. Already have some from previous trip there if you need a look.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>