This is the second time I’ve been to Siem Reap (the first was on vacation, the second, for work), and yet the beauty and wonder of Angkor Wat never fails to take my breath away. Although I have been to these same sites before, there were certainly new things to discover.
First stop, Ta Prohm, late 12th and early 13th centuries. A mere 20-minute tuktuk ride from my hotel in Siem Reap, this temple is known to have the “Tomb Raider” tree within its vicinity, thanks to the movie starring Angelina Jolie. It is also because of this that it is quite the tourist trap.
The movie has made this place more popular than it already is and tourists come in droves to have their pictures and selfies taken by these trees which make this particular temple quite distinct from the rest in Angkor Wat. It’s truly a marvel to witness nature taking over this man-made structure with its thick and overgrown roots growing on top of the stone buildings!
Here’s a tip, try to be at this temple while everyone else is still having their breakfast. The light is beautiful as the sun is still climbing up the sky and you would also be able to appreciate the short lived serenity with the soft rustling of trees and birds chirping before it gets severely crowded.
It is truly a delight since the ruins take on a different characteristic under the heat of the sun, on a somber and overcast day or during the golden hours right after dusk or just before dawn. From when the sun rises until it sets with each visit offering something new and exciting for adventurer/traveler/photographer. This ancient ruin won’t ever get old for me.