Sunday, July 11, 2010

100707 Siem Reap, Cambodia Pt3: Ta Phrom (Tomb Raider temple/Angelina Jolie temple)

Ta Phrom

After Chao Say Tevoda, Thommanon and Ta Keo, we headed east to Ta Phrom, the famous Tomb Raider/Angelina Jolie temple. Here is a temple so completely undisturbed in time (until Tomb Raider came along), that the forest has eaten up the temple and banyan tree roots have weaved into the stone. This was one of the temples I definitely wanted a look at.

Ta Phrom

Again, Ta Phrom, like the medium to large sized temples, had a bridge to it, as well as many circles. As the temple was undergoing restoration, the bridge was not accesible and we had to take a side route to enter Ta Phrom. Apparently the name Ta Phrom is the name of the person who had been cleaning this temple.

The tree just ate up the wall

As we entered, you have to realise that the trees are everywhere. Its just growing and slowly pulling the temple into its midst. Nature is amazing sometimes. More amazing though, was that as we weaved in and out of the different circles in Ta Phrom, you find that each 'invasion' of the banyan roots get more and more interesting and picturesque, until you reach the famous 'Tomb Raider tree' at the end of it.

Tree roots have a thicker waist that I do

This tree totally leeched on the temple for support

Wow roots! And we weren't even in a mangrove swamp!

Tree eats up temple

We were careful not to be eaten up too

Big roots!

Now to end it, this is the famous 'Tomb Raider tree'

After visiting Ta Phrom, we were more than exhausted. Its been about 9 hours since we started this grand Angkor tour and climbing up and down these ancient temples. The weather was definitely in the high 30s celcius (maybe 100F?) and the humidity was definitely killing me. (Time and time again, I kept wondering why I was so smart to wear such fugly clothes to such a beautiful place. I blame the weather!) So, we decided to drop by the royal pools for a dip - or so we thought.

Hello, skinny cow!

The royal pools - and a cow!

There, we saw a farmer bathing and feeding his cows. Very skinny cows! (Maybe this is how cows are supposed to be, but the American corn bred cows are so mutated that they are fat and delicious, and full of salmonella!) Turns out what I expected to be a swimming pool, was actually a huge lake. Nevertheless, I dipped my feet in the water - it was hot enough to make coffee.

Hey feet! Right sandal broke, just like the time left sandal broke in Prague.

After dipping our feet in royal water, we were all ready for lunch! Again, still being stuck in touristy Angkor, the food we had was ridiculously expensive and totally not worth it! Mango shake (US$1.50) was something I could have gotten in Siem Reap for US$0.50! Bowl of vegetarian noodles (US$4), in Siem Reap, it would have been less that US$1. Grrrrr... I dislike tourist prices!

Vegetarian noodles are way overpriced by Cambodian standards!

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