On our first day of temple hopping, after visiting Angkor Thom, we jumped into our tuk-tuk and headed to Ta Prohm, a temple built back in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Most people know this temple as the one where Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider. And, when we visited in 2007, we loved it. The temple was abandoned in the 15th century, is now largely just ruins, and has been taken over by the jungle. It is stunningly beautiful. Sadly, tourism has taken a big bite out of the beauty that was once Ta Prohm. When we visited yesterday, there were huge tour groups everywhere. Take a look at this crowd waiting to see into a portion of the temple.
And, the huge tour groups were very poorly behaved. They walked right over rope barriers. They touched everything. They sat everywhere. They blocked doorways causing huge traffic jams. They ignored the posted signs.
Indeed, it has gotten so bad that the local authorities have now devised and marked a path that everyone is supposed to follow. And, there are places where you have to stand in line to take some of the more iconic photos (don’t worry, many of the tourists completely disregard the lines and just barge ahead of everyone else — thankfully the guards told them to get in line).
I know I’m sounding a bit negative here, and I think it is because we were disappointed in what a madhouse Ta Prohm has become. I suspect if you had never seen Ta Prohm before, you would still love it. It is still an absolutely beautiful temple to visit. You can’t visit every temple first thing in the morning before the large tour buses arrive, but this is one you might want to push to the front of the list for one of your days in town.
Anyway, here are some of our favorite photos.
Next up, the large circuit. Sneak peak — we loved it! The temples are smaller and way less crowded.