Explored by Angelina Jolie in 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
, Ta Prohm is ubiquitously known as “the Tomb Raider temple.” A 12th-century Buddhist monastery and temple complex enmeshed in a web of towering tree roots, it’s one of Angkor’s—and Cambodia’s—signature sights and stands as an eerie symbol of the transience of human endeavor.The Basics
Like other standout Angkor sights, Ta Prohm is included in the Angkor Archaeological Park admission ticket, available for durations between one day and a week. Many Angkor Wat tours or Siem Reap historical tours visit here, as do masses of independent travelers. It’s possible to tour Ta Prohm by bicycle, by tuk-tuk, by scooter, or in an air-conditioned car or minivan, often in conjunction with other Angkorian sites such as Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei, Banteay Kdei, Beng Mealea, Srah Srang, and Angkor Thom. History buffs will value the rich detail a guide can provide.Things to Know Before You Go
- Ta Prohm is a must for any visitor to Siem Reap, with particular appeal for photographers, Instagrammers, and history lovers.
- Ongoing renovation work and structural-protection measures mean that some of the most magical Ta Prohm shots are now only possible with Photoshop.
- Please don’t give money to child beggars: It encourages their families to keep them out of school, perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Donate to a street-kids charity registered with ConCERT Cambodia instead.
- Cambodia is a challenging destination for travelers who use wheelchairs. Due to stairs, Ta Prohm is not currently wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
Ta Prohm lies about 8 miles (13 kilometers) north of Siem Reap, within the Angkor Archaeological Park, about a 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) walk from Banteay Kdei and a bit farther from Srah Srang. There is no public transport to or within the park, so most travelers opt to join an organized tour or arrange a private driver or driver/guide with a motorbike, tuk-tuk, or air-conditioned vehicle.When to Get There
Arguably second only to Angkor Wat as Siem Reap’s star attraction, Ta Prohm draws independent travelers and tour groups day in, day out, and all year round. It’s open from early morning to late afternoon seven days a week throughout the year. Your best chance of beating the crowds is to arrive as soon as it opens in the morning.Beyond the Trees: What Was Ta Prohm?
Once you look beyond the tree roots and the tumbled blocks of stone, the scale of Ta Prohm gradually becomes clear. During its heyday, it was a temple and monastery dedicated to the mother of the Khmer king Jayavarman VII. The spiritual epicenter of a city of more than 10,000 people, Ta Prohm was once home to more than 600 dancers and over 2,700 officials.