“Is that it?” I ask my hostelmate, possibly the 100th time as I jumped onto a broken ledge somewhere inside the huge Ta Prohm temple.
He shrugged, smirking at me, probably amused that I’m so excited to see where Angeline Jolie used to play Lara Croft.
Okay, I’m not exactly a fan. I’m just curious!
And the only way to scratch your curiosity is if you finally get to see it.
It wasn’t, by the way. At least, not yet.
We trudged on, inside the huge temple, our last one for the day. We were freakin’ tired after Bayon and Baphuon and I would have requested a 15 minute break had it not been the Ta Prohm temple next.
Okay, and I really wanted to know where Angelina Jolie shot the Tomb Raider movie.
Out of all the temples we went to, this was the only temple where there were kids that surrounded us at the entrance. I have heard so many stories about these kids that will follow you around, fool you into a conversation only to end up asking for “donations.”
However, in all of the temples, only Ta Prohm had kids surrounding our tuktuk. They weren’t even that bad – although – they did follow us into the entrance.
The entrance of Ta Phrom was at an arc that served as the first gate and then a long stretch of unpaved road that had people selling some souvenirs and a local band playing a local, traditional song. At the end of the trail was a magnificent, ancient-looking structure.
The structure, just another gate, was built with exquisite figures at the top, outlined by columns. The temple was definitely ancient, with its walls slightly turning green due to the molds and growing vines. But beyond that, it didn’t seem as if the temple still had a solid roof, especially because you can see huge trees overlooking the structure from behind.
The actual entrance, on the other hand, also being repaired with wooden replacements for foundation, had several entrances or windows along its facade. A forest seemed to overlook the temple from behind, creating a sort of eerie, creepy, but sort of authentic feel.
When you look at the structures closely, you’ll see the details of its design. Exquisite, ancient and absolutely fascinating. I think that’s what makes these temples so special – their design.
The shadows of the trees that tower over the walls and tip of these structures make it look even more dramatic.
Just beyond the main temple area was the tree that everyone takes photos with. It was that famous wall, embraced by the roots of a huge tree. I could tell because every tourist that entered was lined up for their pictures.
While I could deny that I lined up myself, why would I? LOL. It’s fun to be just same, same but different!
Personally, from afar, it looked like a huge, ancient structure with jellyfish arms. At some point, the trees that hugged the ancient walls of this temple made it look like an oversized octopus.
But it was still very interesting. It was weird how these trees grew over the walls. And as I marveled over how majestic nature could be, I took a moment to appreciate and be grateful for this experience.
And look for Angelina Jolie. I kid.
Ta Prohm was just like all other temples we went to in the small circuit. It was HUGE. There were doorways to different parts of the temple.
However, unlike the other temples, I did notice that Ta Prohm was the one with the most destructed parts. Cement was everywhere, there were structures, formations and rocks littered all throughout the place.
Despite that, tourists still poured in and out of the temple. It was so hard to get a good picture of the trees and branches over the walls when there was always someone posing in front of it.
Ah. And there it was, the Angelina Jolies of today.
My hostelmates and I watched, amused at the different poses people can come up with. Karate poses, happy poses, legs up, legs everywhere, arms here and there. Amusing how they can find so many poses just for one background.
Somewhere deeper into the temple was a wider “garden” area, surrounded by a tall brick wall. From the farthest end, there were structures, beautiful and ancient, but there was also a lot of cluttered rocks, old cement and broken structures.
A lot of the entrances were also involuntary closed because part of the structure had already given in. For awhile, we even thought that the only way out of this temple, was where we entered. However, upon a little bit of observing where other people disappeared into, we finally found a narrow way out of the “garden” area.
From there, we found ourselves wandering into another part of the temple. We could also see that a huge part of it was closed due to renovation (boo!), therefore cutting our visit short.
We exited on the other side of the temple where our faithful tuktuk driver (who didn’t leave us anytime like other tuktuk drivers would do) was right outside waiting for us.
By then? I was definitely templed out. Sure, I enjoyed the entire tour. Sure, I loved the whole Angkor Wat circuit. But for the meantime, or in my case anyway, for the entire trip, I wouldn’t be visiting another temple soon.