Where is Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm is part of the Angkor complex, about 8km from Angkor Wat and just over 4km west of Angkor Thom. On a tour of the complex, visitors usually start at Angkor Wat, and then move on to Angkor Thom. Ta Prohm Temple is often visited after these two areas. Due to the vast size of the site, I recommend renting a bicycle, electric scooter, or tuk-tuk to get around. The cost of rentals is very affordable. You can rent bicycles for about $2 to $3 per day, scooters for $10 per day, and tuk-tuk rides cost between $3 to $5 per trip.

History Background

Ta Prohm Temple is one of the magnificent structures built in the Buddhist style in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. Previously, the temple was called Rajavihara, meaning "Royal Monastery". Besides, the temple was also considered a gift to his family. Evidence for this is the inscriptions carved on the plaques at the temple.

Through the inscriptions on the plaques, we learn that the central part of the temple represents perfect wisdom. This central part was dedicated to the king's mother. The surrounding satellite temples were for the king's guru and brother. In addition, the plaques list Jayavarman's ancestors and those who contributed to the temple's construction. 

Ta Prohm Temple cambodia

The temple was once a place for meditation

They also provide much information about those who served the temple, about 3,000 surrounding villages, and more than 100 hospitals operating at that time. This shows the strength of the Khmer Empire during its heyday. The temple was a Buddhist monastery and school, accommodating over 10,000 people.

In the 15th century, the capital was destroyed by the Siamese, leading to the Ta Prohm Temple being abandoned in the 16th century. The passage of time allowed nature and vegetation to overgrow the temple, giving it a mystic beauty. It was not until 1860 that the temple was rediscovered by the French botanist, Herri Mouhot.

Why call it the Tomb Raider Temple?

Ta Prohm Temple has an alternative name, the Tomb Raider Temple, which it earned due to its role in cinematic history. The temple was chosen as a filming location for the renowned movie "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". The movie, released in 2001, starred renowned actress Angelina Jolie. The temple became more widely known worldwide due to the popularity of the film. If you're a fan of this movie, you should visit this temple.

Tomb Raider Temple

The scenes filmed at Ta Prohm in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"

Stunning Spots for Photography

When you visit Ta Prohm Temple, you will be immersed in the beauty of nature intertwined with the remnants of the Khmer empire. Here are some of the best spots for beautiful photos

Entrance Gopura

To enter Ta Prohm, you need to pass through the Gopura gates. The temple area has two main gates: the East gate and the West gate. You will find the architecture of these gates familiar if you have visited Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

The Bayon style is consistent in King Jayavarman VII's construction. The four stone faces looking in four directions seem to protect and oversee the country. In my opinion, you should choose to enter from the west gate as the west Gopura is less damaged compared to the east gate. You can take beautiful photos here.

ta prohm temple Gopura gate

The West Gopura gate, designed in the Bayon style

The Central Sanctuary

The central sanctuary area is considered the heart of the king's tribute to his mother. This area was used for various purposes such as performing religious ceremonies and education. The religious ceremonies included worship and commemoration of the king's mother. Ta Prohm was once an educational center with thousands of monks and students, so this area could have also been used for studying Buddhist scriptures and meditation.

ta prohm temple Central Sanctuary

The facade of the Central Sanctuary

The central sanctuary is surrounded by vast grassy courtyards and has corridors leading into it. This area receives plenty of sunlight, making it perfect for photo taking.

Hall of Dancers

The Hall of Dancers is located on the east side of the temple and is considered one of the standout areas in Ta Prohm. Its name originates from the bas-reliefs that adorn the exterior of the hall. Images of female musicians and Apsara dancers in graceful poses are meticulously carved, showcasing the finesse of ancient Khmer architecture that contributes to the temple's allure.

ta prohm temple Hall of Dancers

The bas-reliefs of the dancing Apsara

ta prohm temple Hall of Dancers

The interior of the Hall of Dancers

The "Tomb Raider Tree"

Indeed, Ta Prohm is a perfect masterpiece of the combination of nature and heritage. The large roots of ancient trees envelop the temple as if trying to protect it from the ravages of time. You will certainly be amazed at the size of these roots.

Tomb Raider Tree at ta prohm temple

A perfect masterpiece of nature and an ancient temple

What's special is that these roots grow from above down to the ground without destroying the structure of the temple. They avoid the temple door areas and the faces of the bas-reliefs. It's truly miraculous.

Tomb Raider Tree at ta prohm temple

The roots of trees growing around the face of the statue

This masterpiece appeared in a scene in the movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”. If you're a fan of the film, you can't miss this fantastic check-in point. Due to its beauty and uniqueness, the "Tomb Raider Tree" has become one of the most famous tourist attractions at Ta Prohm.

The Bas-reliefs

I recommend you take the time to admire the carvings at the temple. The culture, lifestyle, and beliefs of the ancient Khmer Empire are depicted through these artistic bas-reliefs. Although their number is not as abundant as in other temples, you will be surprised by their uniqueness.

ta prohm temple cambodia

The influence of Buddhism is manifested through the stoneworks

ta prohm temple cambodia

The bas-relief depicts the royal position

ta prohm temple cambodia

The dancing Apsara nymphs

One of the bas-reliefs that has attracted attention is the shape of an animal that closely resembles a dinosaur. Researchers suggest that this could be a rhinoceros with leaves on its back. But regardless of the truth, it looks quite cute, doesn't it? To see this 'dinosaur', you need to go to the western gate, cross the trail, and moat. And you'll see it on your left side.

Ta Prohm Temple dinosaur

Ta Prohm Temple dinosaur

Dharamsala - House of Fire

Located to the east within the Ta Prohm Temple area and a short distance from the Hall of Dancers. Houses like these were present along the ancient royal routes. They were built to serve as rest stops for the royal family when traveling long distances. This area is also great for taking beautiful photos.

ta prohm temple House of Fire

The front of the House of Fire

Things to Know When Visiting the Temple

To have the best experience at Ta Prohm Temple, you need to grasp the following points:

  • The opening hours are from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m: Please arrange your time appropriately.

  • The best time to take photos of the temple is in the early morning: At this time the light is clear and there are not too many shadows, the photo quality will be the best.

  • Dress modestly: The temple has some sacred areas.

  • Bring a personal water bottle: There's quite a bit of walking and you should stay hydrated.

Find out more in our comprehensive guide on Cambodia travel!


Nestled within the grand Angkor complex, Ta Prohm Temple offers a unique allure as a masterpiece blending nature and ancient temples. There are still many interesting things for you to explore at the temple. If you have any questions or interest in Vietnam and Cambodia tours, please contact New Asia Tours!