Has Ta Prohm been loved to death?

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.

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A horde of tourists at Ta Prohm.  We even overheard a tourist guide say “too many people.”

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.

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Yep, the sign says “Unsafe Area” but that didn’t stop this couple from getting that Instagram worthy shot….

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.

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Side wall of Ta Prohm falling down.

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We loved the big stones and the moss here.

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A largely intact portion of Ta Prohm.

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One of those iconic shots everyone wants.  (Oh, and check out the poorly fitting pajama pants and capris.  Both purchased in Siem Reap and both will likely be left in Siem Reap, but knees must be covered when visiting the temples and it is so hot we both wanted the lightest fabric possible).

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Interesting carving at Ta Prohm.

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Smiling face covered by roots at Ta Prohm.  Thankfully, a guide pointed this out to us or we likely would have missed it, because we had to get off the walkway to see it.

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More interesting carvings at Ta Prohm.

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Doorway encased by roots at Ta Prohm.  This is another one of those shots that you have to stand in line in order to get.

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Tree growing out of Ta Prohm.  Lots of people miss this because they don’t walk all the way to the back of the temple.

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Because I always love the critters….If you are visiting, watch for these guys.  They are everywhere.

Next up, the large circuit.  Sneak peak — we loved it!  The temples are smaller and way less crowded.

About theschneiduks

Lisa has a degree in biology and another in law and has spent the last 20 years working as a patent litigator. She is a voracious reader of young adult dystopian fiction and watches far too much bad tv. She loves pretty much anything to do with zombies, and doesn’t think there is anything weird about setting an alarm at 6 am on a weekend to stumble to a pub to watch her beloved Chelsea boys. Robert has had many professions, including a chef, a salesman, an IT guy and most recently, a stay at home dog dad. He speaks Italian and hopes to learn Spanish on this trip. He loves nothing more than a day spent sailing, hopes to do more scuba diving, and rues the day he introduced Lisa to football (i.e., soccer).
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