Giant Tree Roots in Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, CambodiaKeith and I explored an incredible Angkor temple that brought out the inner Lara Croft in me!   It was raw, it was mysterious, it was wild,  it transported us into another world and time.

The temple of Ta  Prohm was neglected and swallowed by the jungle of Cambodia for almost four centuries. Today, it looks very much in the same state as when the French explorers stumbled upon it more than a century ago.

Giant tree roots in Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

Efforts were made to reclaim the temple from the jungle, but the jungle would not completely let go. It embraces the temple tightly like a  possessive claw.


Trees and Ruins of Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, CambodiaTa Prohm was one of the monumental temples built around late 12th to early 13th century by King Javayarman VII, the same king who built Angkor Thom.


Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

King J VII dedicated the temple to his mother. The temple housed the statue of the goddess Prajnaparamita – the personification of wisdom and considered the mother of Buddha – and was carved in the likeness of the king’s mother.


Giant Trees and Roots in Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, CambodiaThe temple also served as a monastery. Its original name was Raja Vihara ( “the Monastery of the King”).  Today, the temple is nicknamed the Tomb Raider’s Temple, thanks to its appearance in Angelina Jolie’s movie.


05_Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, Cambodia


06_Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, Cambodia


Giant Roots inTa Phrom Temple, Angkor, CambodiaThis dramatic web of roots is the Tomb Raider tree. The doorway underneath it was where Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft picked a flower before falling through the crack of the earth.


Giant Tree Roots in Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, Cambodia


Giant Tree Roots in Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, Cambodia


Giant Tree Roots in Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, Cambodia


Giant Tree Roots in Ta Phrom Temple, Angkor, CambodiaLara Croft meets Indiana Jones!

Ta Prohm is easily one of the highlights for anyone who visits the Angkor temples.  Its the most atmospheric of the temples and is a haven for any photography enthusiasts.  It’s also must-see for anyone traveling with children; it’s a temple where they will love to linger.

Check out our other Angkor Highlights:
4.  Kbal Spean   5. Koh Ker     6.  Beng Mealea


Travel Notes:
  • The best time to visit the Ta Prohm is early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid tour bus crowds and for better lighting for photography. To dodge the crowd, it is also a good to visit around lunchtime, when visitors normally return to their hotels to avoid the heat; however, the canopy of trees at Ta Prohm will provide you shades from the strong ray of the sun.
  • If you visit Ta Prohm without a guide and you cannot locate some of the dramatic trees that we photographed (you have to go through labyrinth of galleries to find some of them), ask one of the friendly temple guards where the “big big trees” are and they will be happy to direct you.
  • Ta Prohm is easily reachable by tuk-tuk, motorbikes or car from Siem Reap, the gateway to all Angkor Temples. Your hotel can arrange for your transportation as well as guides, if you wish.
  • Ta Prohm is located about 3 kms directly east of Angkor Thom, 3.4 kms northeast of Angkor Wat and 8.7 kms  north of Siem Reap.
  • An Angkor Pass is required for entry to Ta Prohm. For more info about Angkor Pass, please go here.
  • Suggested reading: Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques
  • Suggested accommodation: We stayed at Shinta Mani, a beautiful and contemporary boutique hotel and we highly recommend. We call it a hotel with a heart as it donates part of your nightly rate to help local communities. It has a non-profit component that trains locals in hospitality business as well as contributes in health programs.


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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

56 responses to “Ta Prohm Temple: Embraced by the Jungle

  1. Kira S.

    OMG, can’t believe how huge those tree roots are! I saw the movie and I remember seeing the scenes with the giant trees and the temple but I thought it was just a place made up for the movie. Really amazing photos, guys. Love the photos of you on the last shot.

    • Hi Kir, thanks! I know, the place is so surreal that when you see it in the movies you would think it’s just a creation of imagination. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  2. This is the temple that I most want to see when we head to Siem Reap. I love how the jungle swallowing up the temple really emphasizes just how old these ruins are. And yes, I do indeed think that my kids will love this place. Thanks for the tips.
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  3. Danica Moran

    Wow, those gigantic roots are so amazing. I llove your pictures – they show how mysterious and otherworldly this place is. I love the pics where you guys are in it bec it shows how huge the trees really. I saw Tom Raiders but I don’t remember much of the scene with this ruin. Now I want to see it again.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hey Dani, thanks. That’s basically why we inserted ourselves in the photos – to show the scale of the trees. There are You Tube videos that show the scene in the movies shot in this temple. Just look up “Ta Prohm in Tomb Raider.”

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jan, thanks. Yes, those roots are all over the ruins. They’re quite a sight. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this temple when you visit.

  4. I loved Ta Prohm! I remember it was so hot when I went there. It was around lunch time when I went inside and I also just had lunch. I found a quiet place somewhere there where no tourists passed by and took a nap. That was the best! hehe Btw, I love how you edited the colors of the photos!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Aleah, I don’t know of anyone who visited this temple and not love it. I visited it for the first time 8 years ago and I always wished of going back to it and also to photograph it with the better equipments I have now. So being back there was a dream come true. Ha! Ha! What a dramatic site to take a nap!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Debbie, it truly is an amazing place to visit. It’s so surreal, atmospheric and other wordly. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  5. What an enchanting place and one we’d love to visit. I remember these fondly from the Lara Croft movies. I love how it looks like the temples grew out from the trees. Beautiful pictures and love the ones of you guys by the roots. Your adopted siblings would love exploring this place :)
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Miraculous Stairway of Loretto Chapel Sante FeMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Mary, I’m very very sure that you and my adopted siblings will have a great time exploring this temple. It truly is an enchanting place. I’d love to see the kids photos with the giant trees. I’m sure you’ll come up with something fun and creative, as usual.

    • Hi Ryan, believe me seeing it in person is so amazing! It was my second trip to this temple and I still gasped when I saw the dramatic scene of the giant roots hugging the temple.
      Our civilization may not be recognizable to us 400 years after the nature reclaim it, just as this temple would be unrecognizable to the ancient Khmers who built it.

  6. Wow, I’ve seen so many photos from this temple and they always wow me. I would love to visit myself one day. (hopefully soon!)

  7. Love those trees!!! I am always on the lookout for awesome looking trees when I travel and those certainly make the grade! What a fun place to visit. I know my son would certainly enjoy pretending to be Indiana Jones haha.

  8. What an amazing place!!! It truly looks like the jungle tried to swallow it up. The tree roots are so eerie.

    I host a weekly party called “Oh, the PLACES I’ve been!” and would love to have you join. The link goes up at 7 pm EST on Thursday evenings.

    – The Tablescaper

  9. Spectacular place and photography. You two are my travel idols!

  10. marlis

    This is simply fabulous. I love the story and the words you’ve used to tell the story. I was enthralled. The photos are amazing. thanks for taking us someplace I know that I would never get to see. xo marlis
    marlis recently posted..Oh the Places I’ve been – this week!My Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Marlis,
      Aww.. that’s so sweet. Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  11. Leigh

    Your shots have an otherworldly look to them I can’t get over the size of the trees and the roots – especially when there is a photo of one of you showing the scale. Looks like a very impressive place to visit. I also love the photo at the top of your page – with repeating mountains.
    Leigh recently posted..12 Great Canadian Canoe TripsMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Leigh, it truly is otherworldy and an amazing site to visit. We intentionally posed in some of the photos just to show the scale. The repeating mountains are the Himalayas taken from a mountain flight over Nepal. Glad you like the photo:)

  12. Sarah

    What an amazing place. Thanks for sharing all your photos and taking us along. Great information!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Sarah, you’re very welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

  13. Simply amazing how those trees are just taking over the temple! What a gorgeous juxtaposition, I love it!
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    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jess, it’s more amazing if you see their placement in person.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Dick!

  14. Great to have you be a part of “Oh, the PLACES I have been!”

    – The Tablescaper

    • Hi Jo, Yes, a bit spooky but more fascinating overall. We did enjoy our adventures in Cambodia. It’s a wonderful country with wonderful people.

  15. For some reason, I got deja-vu when seeing these amazing photos. Did you submit them for any kind of exhibition in Kuala Lumpur recently? In any case, you convinced me to put this on my travel list.
    Ming L. @OnALim1 recently posted..Monkeying Around On The Steps of Batu CavesMy Profile

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