Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Angkor Wat Temple Complex Part 2...the highlight, and final thoughts

Continuing on with our day tour to Angkor Wat. If you missed part 1, you can go back to it here.

We actually enjoyed the second half of the day better than the first half.

It included the Ta Prohm Temple... also often called "The Tomb Raider Temple", due to its depiction in the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It was this film that originally caused visitor numbers at Angkor Wat to skyrocket.

But first, another smaller temple, the Baphuon Temple.

Holding on for dear life!

A monk and some monkeys.

We could still make our way to the top using wooden steps on the other side.

Raised stone walkway.

The Sleeping Buddha built into the wall, if you click the picture and click again to zoom in you will see the face to the left of the picture.


View from the top.

Very detailed rock carvings.

Me, at one of the gates.

Terrace of the Leper King.

Our driver Johnny waits in his hammock while we go exploring!

The Ta Keo Temple

Heading up the steep narrow steps.

Don't forget to look up!

Heading back down.

There are a lot of smaller, unrestored structures along the way.

Next, was the best part. The Ta Prohm Temple has been left mostly unrestored, other than work that has been done to stabilize the ruins and to maintain the condition of apparent neglect. This site is special because the jungle had pretty much taken it over, and when clearing the site, they left the many large trees whose roots had woven their way through the structures.

This is the tree depicted in the movie.

Of course it draws a lot of people.

I don't understand the amount of patience and time it must have taken to do these thousands of rock carvings.

The tree roots are definitely the highlight.


Kevin and Ruth.

And finally the last temple that we saw, the Banteay Kdei Temple

By the time we were finished, it was 2:15pm, and we had started at 8:30am. The step counter on my phone had clicked past the 20,000 mark. Our feet were just about done. We hadn't taken a break for lunch. We were going to, but when we sat down at the restaurant area the prices were double what they should have been. So we got up to leave, and the girls came running over saying "we give you discount".  It turns out there is a menu for the tourists, and a separate price for the locals. We've encountered this in Morocco as well. We don't play that game, so we left anyhow.

One last thing to see, is the huge reservoir that was built in the 12th century.

Manmade reservoir built in the 12th century.

Ussie in the tuk-tuk heading back to town.
Hard to hold the phone still while zooming along!

We had Johnny drop us off at a local restaurant we had eaten at earlier in the week. Cheap local food, with $0.50 draft beer!

I had the chicken cashew stir fry with rice.

Ruth had the amok and a coconut milkshake.

Total bill including the drinks was $7 USD ($9.50 CAD).

We stopped in another store to pick up a few evening drinks for the room, and came across this...

A bottle of "whiskey" with a scorpion and a baby cobra inside.
Only $6. And no, I didn't buy one!

So... final thoughts on Angkor Wat...

We've been to a lot of ruins sites. Many Mayan and Aztec ruins in Mexico, and Roman ruins in Turkiye where often we were the only ones around. So we weren't thrilled with the idea of paying a total of $91 USD ($122 CAD) to see something similar while having to deal with crowds at the same time.

Fortunately, the crowds weren't as bad as we expected. Visitor numbers still haven't recovered to pre Covid times, so that was good. I don't think we would have found it enjoyable if there were three times as many people around as what we had.

Overall, we're glad we went. Although we certainly don't need more than the one day there, even though we didn't see everything there is to see. We're even hesitating on spending the money to go to the Koh Ker ruins site 120 kms (70 miles) from here, which was the site I had really wanted to see due to the fact that hardly anybody goes there. If we do it, we're going to have to hire private transport to get there, so it's going to be another $100 day if we do it. We'll do some more research today, and make a decision.


  1. Good morning. Beautiful!! It looks very dangerous, surprised folks are allowed in.

    1. We really loved the Ta Prohm Temple and it's mostly unrestored look it really was beautiful to see.

      We also love the fact that you are responsible for your own safety, if you don't feel something is safe then you just don't enter. Having said that, we didn't feel it was dangerous at all. Any really bad sections are roped off and a lot of areas have been physically shored up for our safety. For us this was our favourite part of the Angkor Wat complex.

  2. Wow, those trees growing all around the ruins are magnificent! That would be my favorite part as well. Just amazing and makes the price of admission a little easier to swallow.

    1. The trees and the tree roots in what was mostly unrestored ruins is what we loved the best about the whole Angkor Wat complex. The Ta Prohm Temple did not let us down with our expectations. This is more or less what we were hoping to see at the Koh Ker Temple that is about 90 kms from Siem Reap but unfortunately we are not going to be going now, as the transportation costs are going to be even higher that what we had been expecting. Maybe if we ever return to Cambodia we will plan to make our way up there and stay for more time to make it worth the cost of the trip.


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