Ta Prohm: Angkor Wat Complex Tour

Inside the Angkor Archaeological Complex is a temple that was made more popular by the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It has this look of 'neglect and abandon' that makes it unique and a rough stand-out among the temples in the complex.

Built in the mid-12th century under King Jayavarman VII as a Buddhist temple, Ta Prohm is a "flat" Khmer temple, the center of a substantially large enclosed village. The area around the temple is now heavily forested and much of it has also invaded most parts of the temple. Trees growing out of temple walls resulting into fallen or caved-in areas give the site it's 'neglected and abandoned' feel. 

The look is preserved however, nowadays there are a lot of scaffoldings, viewing platforms and ropes that fill the temple that it is almost impossible to take a decent photograph without catching these in the frame. Not to mention that horde of Korean and Chinese tourists that visit the place with their tour guides on their microphones or megaphones, disturbing even the most ancient of spirits still dwelling in the temple.

When visiting the Angkor Wat Complex

DIY with Tuktuk - $15 for the Small Circuit Tour, $20 for the Grand Circuit Tour
Group Tours - starts at $11/person in an Airconditioned Van
Private Tours - $25 in an Airconditioned Car

You can actually buy a ticket ($20/person) an hour before sunset (Phnom Bakheng) and still use the same ticket to visit the rest of the complex the next day. Start early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Free entry to the complex starting at 6PM but, that would too late to enjoy the temples even the sunset hill of Phnom Bakheng. Complex's ticket booth opens at 5:00AM.

Siem Reap River and Its Wats: Solo Siem Reap Tour - North

North of the Siem Reap River sits three Wats that looks to me like how village Wats looks like back in the days. When I first came to Siem Reap more than a year ago, this part of River Road is filled with shanties, the river was filled with garbage and the Wat entrances are barely visible behind flimsy structures serving as mini stores/houses. 

I am a volunteer at Wat Preah En Kau Saa and could hardly believe that there are several Hotels and guesthouses along this part of the road. I hardly see tourists walking the streets and very few visits the Wats. I think they are missing out on a lot by not coming over. 

Aside from Wat Bo, the 3 Wats north of Siem Reap River are the ones I like the most. Void of air-conditioned vihears and sprawling land with modern buildings, it transports you right back to the Cambodian countryside. Where the Wats were built for the village and for Buddhism and not for the joy of the tourists visiting them. 

For those that have been to any of these Wats yet, Wat Preah En Kau Sai actually has an early Angkorian prasat just right behind the Wat.

Part I: Siem Reap River and Its Wats: Solo Siem Reap Tour - South
Part II: Siem Reap River and Its Wats: Solo Siem Reap Tour - Center

Wat Po Lanka

Wat Preah En Kau Saa

Wat Preah En Kau Sai

Siem Reap River and Its Wats: Solo Siem Reap Tour - Center

I moved towards the center of Siem Reap River before noon. Moving carefully along the potholed filled River Road, I pray that I don't meet irritated stray dogs along the way and only stopped to buy a $0.50 worth of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. By this time the sun is glaring down on me like an angry bird, I'm soaked in sweat from head to foot. While the UV rays burn my arm for the nth time, I enviously stare at the long-sleeved clad Cambodians and swore to buy myself a piece in that second hand store at Psah Kroum.

The Wats at the center of the city have more buildings inside it compared to the ones in the South and North. I just assumed that since they are nearer to the general tourist area of Pub Street, they receive more donations and are able to use it to develop their grounds. Wat Preah Prom Rath's vihear is air-conditioned and Wat Damnak's sala looks like a resort for affluent vacationers.

Wat Preah Prom Rath is touted as the most beautiful, Wat Damnak is the biggest and Wat Bo is the oldest (built in the 18th century). 

Wat Damnak

Wat Preah Prom Rath

Wat Bo

About Me

After 10 years in the corporate world, I ventured out into the real world. To fall in love with the places I've never been to and the people that I have yet to meet. These are my awesome travel stories, tricks and tips without a guidebook.

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