Can’t go wrong really with giant roots and towering trees, mysterious carvings and jungle-clad ruins so here’s another selection of photos of Preah Khan and Ta Prom temples in Cambodia’s Angkor temple complex, taken on our recent Saigon to Angkor Overland small group tour.
Preah Khan, as with the more high profile Ta Prom, is a late 12th century Buddhist temple built during the reign of Jayarvarman VII. The former is considered to have been dedicated to the king’s father and the latter to his mother and indeed layout and style of the two sprawling temple/monastery complexes are compatible. The current state of both sites is also very similar with wide scale destruction by the elements evident at both as Jayarvarman’s massive building progamme lead to some hasty construction efforts hence despite these two temples being some of the most recent at Angkor they are in far worse condition today than many earlier, but more carefully constructed, sites.
For visitors today that is obviously part of their charm and the jungle clad ruins of Ta Prom are amongst the most iconic images of Angkor. Yes it of course also featured in the Tomb Raider movie and is one of the most popular postcard subjects, (which you can buy 10 of for only 1 dollar!)
Preah Khan is not quite so high profile as Ta Prom and receives less visitors – all of which is good news and makes the temple a personal favourite of most of our guides and tour-leaders. In order to optimize our visits we head to Preah Khan early in the morning and Ta Prom late afternoon.
FYI below is our Angkor temple programme in full. If you’ve read up a bit on the site you may notice our itinerary bears little resemblance to standard ones recommended by guides and guidebooks but our reasoning is to perhaps sacrifice optimum light conditions in order to; a. minimize the crowds, b. avoid the hottest parts of the day and c. provide a leisurely schedule without trying to rush around and tick off as many temples in a short a space of time as possible. There’s little point in having ideal light at Bayon Temple if the atmosphere and your photo opps. are ruined by hoards of tourists!
Day 1: 16.45 Obtain entry pass, Sunset at Banteay Kdei
Day 2: 05.00 Dawn at Angkor Wat and visit (arrive west entrance, depart east)
10.30 Return to hotel
14.30 Angkor Tom: – terrace of the leper king, elephant terrace, Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Bayon,
Day 3: 07.00 Phnom Bakheng, Baksei Chamkrong, Preah Khan
11.00 Return to hotel
14.30 Jungle walk to Ta Nei & Ta Keo, Ta Prom
Day 4: free morning
14.30 Banteay Samre & Banteay Srei 0r Rolous group
(Note; this itinerary is provisional and subject to possible changes at the last minute. All times are approximate.)