Photo: Trees framing the temple.

Ta Prohm

Our rating:

Ta Prohm, of Tomb Raider fame and often referred to as the “one with the trees”, is a phenomenal example of the interplay between man and nature and should not be missed.





The decision by the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient to leave Ta Prohm in its original state was inspired, as although in places the trees are slowly destroying the monument—with some having to be chopped down in 2014—in others they’re holding it together. Although well-travelled wooden walkways meander through the monument, plenty of nooks and crannies, alleys and backways are around to explore.

Straight from the set of Alien. Photo taken in or around Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Straight from the set of Alien. Photo: Caroline Major

Built by Jayavarman VII for his mother, and consecrated in 1186, Ta Prohm was the centrepiece of a city of more than 10,000 people and was also an active Buddhist monastery. While some interesting lintels and pediments are distributed throughout the temple—keep your eyes peeled for a medallion that oddly looks like a stegosaurus—for the casual visitor here, the main attraction are the trees. In some places they’ve displaced the walls completely, leaving their roots to form the archways and roofs that were once made of stone.

Ta Prohm is a favourite among both professional and amateur photographers. For the serious shutterbug, rising early and exploring the temple before 07:00, the only time it is close to quiet, will pay dividends, otherwise you may have to wait around for crowds to move out of the way of your shot. Be aware that although postcards show images of the temple and trees au natural, since tourism management action began, there are now several wooden platforms and ropes (more were added in 2014), which keep visitors from clambering on the sites, but also make it a little trickier to replicate those ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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