Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nicolekiss becomes Tomb Raider at Ta Prohm

Lara Croft steps aside, I am the new mean tomb raiding machine!

go into hiding
Raiding the Tomb (or pretend to)

First a litttle introduction. This is Ta Prohm.

ta prohm

One of the most beautiful temple-monastery in Angkor, simply because when it was uncovered, it was almost completely swallowed by the jungle. Its layout's splendor and complexity increased ten folds by its partly collapsed state.

ta prohm rocks

"The plant takes hold of in a crevice somewhere in the superstructure of a building, usually where the bird had deposited the seed, and extends roots downwards to the soil." Quoted from Ancient Angkor.

As centuries passed, the roots gradually become so thick they wedge open the blocks. Eventually, these trees becomes part of the ruin, they support at the same time hold the power to destroy this magnificence infrastructure.

tree root cracks

And this is where Angelina Jolie (aka Lara Croft) picked a Jasmine flower before falling through the soil into Pinewood Studio.

Tomb Raider Tree
Tomb Raider Tree

I decided instead destroying the nature by killing a Jasmine flower, I'll blend in with nature; be ONE with Ta Prohm.

tree hugger
Tree Hugger. We are ONE.

The monastery ruin is fulled of trees grown so magnificently throughout the centuries, you'd be awed by their sheer sizes.

nicole pose at ta prohm

Or even by the size of ONE of their roots,

tree trunk pose

Or the body of the tree,

huge tree trunk at ta prohm

Raiding a tomb ruin is not easy, it takes more than one person's effort. Unlike Lara Croft, we are just mere mortals you see.

OK fine! You caught me red handed, guilty as charged! I wasn't ALONE! I was with someone at the ruin!

Guys, meet my partner in crime.

nicole hide and seek_small_crop


Miraculously an awesome blogger and a wonderful travel partner, Nicole and I clicked easily like bread and butter; chocolate to ice creams.

I also have to declare, Ta Prohm is a GREAT place to play hide and seek at, I kid you not.

It took forever for Nicole to find me.

What?! You don't believe me?!

You said there's one more person?!!

No really?! There was only us!!!! Just the two of us!!!


Oh shut it!!

Fine, I admit defeat, there was ONE MORE person.

Meet our friend, a low profile traveller whose name does not wished to be mentioned in this blog.

Seriously, you have to be shameless enough to take this picture. Avoiding stares from tourists around the place queuing to take photo with the tree.

Our acquaintance went something like this.

"Hi, Nicole, meet Nicole. You can also call me Nicole"

"Oh hi Nicole, it's nice to meet you. Ta Prohm is absolutely gorgeous isn't it?!"

"OMGOMGOMG, I'm totally like... agree with you! We so like... HAVE~~~ to take photos together yea"

"Oh yes, what a splendid idea. *clap hands tipping with joy* It must be fate that brought us together in such a magical mysterious place. It's destined that we declare each other as sisters."

"Yo sis!! Sisterhood forever gurl!"

"Yes, indeed, we shall lend a hand whenever one of us is in need."


There you go. My two lovely friends from Cambodia.

And we continue to run around Ta Prohm, playing spy and and detective on rocks and crevices.

two nicole in ta prohm
Hidden tigress

Around the temple, you find lots of code marked stones lying in sequence on the ground.

indentified stones

These are stones that belonged to the ruin, but collapsed replaced by the trees.

unidentified stone at ta prohm

I call them, homeless stones.

Okay FINALLY, there IS ONE MORE scene from the Tomb Raider movie that I bet most (like 99%) of the tourists to Angkor have not been able to locate.

How do I know? Because I tracked the place down and NOT a SINGLE SOUL was there!

Remember the scene where the bad guys broke into the "Tomb" by puling down a polystyrene gate?

Iain Glen
Iain Glen acting as the evil Manfred Powell

Is it NOT at Bayon, despite popular belief.

bayon  statues

It IS at Angkor Thom where Bayon is in.

Though it is NOT the south gate of Angkor Thom.

bayon south gate

Where? Not the east entrance of Angkor Thom, but the exact East Gate of Angkor Thom.

tomb raider gate direction

It was when I finished Ta Prohm that I realised I have not spotted this particular gate, because it was not exposed to the public.

Hence I cycled 3km back to Angkor Thom to find the infamous mysterious East Gate.

Tracing through the map, I landed myself in some dirt track road that took me into the depths of the jungle. God knows where I was heading to.

road to east gate at angkor thom

And the creepy part? There wasn't anyone in sight.

The unbearable part? Cycling on dirt track road with a town bike is a PAIN in the ASS!!!!!!!!

Ouch ouch ouch.

15 mins later. I finally found him!!!!

face tower of east gate
The Face

Woohoo!!! I just cam-whored single handedly with the East Gate. OMGOMGOMG I stood on the exact ground where Iain Glen once laid. o.O *faint*

angkor thom east gate color

A long way in, but it was all worth it!!

bicycle at east gate
Lonesome town bike.

I know the photo is slanted, I couldn't find a flat 0-gradient rock to fix it on. But don't you think it's more artistic this way? :D

east gate grey pose

Mission accomplished.

As the evening drew closer, I cycled out of the Northern Gate and 18KM straight towards the east end of Angkor big circuit to catch sunset at Pre Rup temple, said to offer one of the best sunset sight.

18KM on a cycle!!!! This was like chasing the sun before it falls down!! Seriously, I was cursing most of the way!!!

When I reached Pre Rup, there was already a crowd.

sunset watchers at pre rup
Sunset watchers

As we waited from 5:30pm, the sun began to descend.

pre sunset at Pre Rup

And descend.

pre sunset at pre rup_horizontal

Here's a wallpaper.

And finally,

sunset at  Pre Rup

As for me, after what was at least 50KM of cycling since 6am in the morning, I didn't give a damn about the bloody sunset.

exhausted nicole

"F*ck off, let me sleep"


  1. Hahaha...U u u did that much cycling??...Me and my friend were thinking of doing the same as u did after we read your blog...(^_^)"

  2. Well, with all that cycling practice on town bikes you'll feel very at home coming to the Netherlands.

    Great pics.

  3. Hmmm...sunset at Pre Rup. Not that many people go there. Pretty far to cycle as well. Would have been easier (and nearer) for you to join the hordes of tourists at Phnom Bakheng instead. The top level of Angkor Wat would have been a good alternative but it appears to have been closed off now according to some reports. I could be wrong on the last part. But I'm impressed you bothered to find the east gate of Angkor Thom. Few people ever go there, as you would have noticed.

  4. Wow this post is such an eye-opener for me!

    I was throughly awe-strucked by the HUGEEEE trees! :O

    You are really brave and daring, traveling all the way into the depth of the jungle where nobody was in sight.

    If it were me, I'll be scared. :(

  5. Mayb u could persuade Lara Croft to take u as a protege or something.. Tomb Raider Nicolekiss :D

  6. Lol...
    How did you do that? I mean, how did you manage to ignore the hundreds of stares and start posing? Haha.. really admire you a lot!

    And congratulation for receiving special prize from Happy Moment... ;D

  7. crap that was awesome :O

  8. Haha. Nice travel buddies you have there! =D

  9. Is it legal or allowable to publish those photos? Do we need to get permission from the relevant authorities to publish those photos? Any copyright issues?

  10. windwalker29/5/08 3:46 PM

    I think it's worth it to cycle 18KM to catch the sunset!

  11. hey nicole you inspired me to do the same as u..travelling around i am someone who work 6-7days a week i really need a break thanks for the brilliant idea..

  12. Poor thing, so young and you have cankles already. nothing to do, inherited.

  13. I amazed with your self timer ability really! Plus your photoshop skill make it even better combination.
    Mind if I share my sunset photo?

    So where are you travelling next?

  14. lucky you !

    its such a beautiful place. wish i could go there sometime soon.

    i shall travel the world when i'm rich. hehe ;)

  15. It's actually not terribly expensive to visit Angkor Wat and the temple complex. So you don't really need to be rich to do so. It really depends how much time, luxury and comfort you want. You can do it quite cheaply, if you have the time. ;p

  16. Is the tomb raider tree real? =/

  17. LOL pretty entertaining with the 3 nicoles. Good job Nicole.

  18. If you have been to a ruined called 'Beng Melea', it's even more incredible.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  19. Nice post~! :)

  20. to fuck u so high up on the rock will be perfect....mmmm!

  21. hey i just came back from Cambodia too recently but gotta hands up 2 u for those great pics. Mine was fucking surrounded by so many tourists:(

  22. hey nicole,

    Nice post.
    Very lucky to see all those stuffs.

    Btw, I made a parody of that post!

  23. hey nicole,

    Nice post.
    Very lucky to see all those stuffs.

    Btw, I made a parody of that post!

  24. I just love your pictures!

  25. Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for this post. Absolutely timely as I'll be going to the Ankors this year end.

  26. I actually read your article in the newspaper yesterday morning !! =)

  27. w00t~ i saw ur newspaper article too :)

  28. this is the coolest blog ever!

  29. 50km really? i think it was less. =D did you cycle to angkor wat for sunrise?