cambodia | ta prohm (the tomb raider temple)

Isn't kind of strange to think Ta Prohm is most known for being the temple used in the Tomb Raider movie?  I think so.  Kind of like the Burj Khalifa might be known as the tall building in Mission Impossible, and not for being the tallest building in the world.  strange. Ta Prohm is one of the temples I visited when I first when to Cambodia back in 2009 with the Raddest Photo Trip Ever.  And it's changed immensely.  In a way it's sad to me that Cambodia is making these temples more "tourist-friendly".  Like other temples, wooden boardwalks have been build around and through the ruins for accessible touring.  For me it takes away from the charm and history of what these temples once were and how what they once represented is literally left in ruins.  But add those tourist-friendly elements and I feel the "renovations" are really doing a disservice to people who come to soak in the history of Angkor Wat.  The boardwalks are also set above ground level to manuver over some of the fallen stones, but you lose the grand feeling of being on ground level looking up at these amazing structures and the ginormous trees growing out of them.  In 2009 you could climb and explore through the temples which gave me a feel for how the ancient people of Angkor used to.  Now with the boardwalks it feels detached like I'm walking through a zoo or something.

I'd highly suggest getting your butt to Cambodia and Angkor as soon as you can.  Who knows what else will be changing in the next years.  Not to mention, when I went in 2009 most of the temples were empty, so we could explore at our leisure.  This past time I visited most of the temples were overcrowded with tour-bus-loads of people.  I wasn't a fan of that.

With all that said, Ta Prohm is amazing. It's one of a few temples of Angkor Wat that is covered in the types of trees with their huge roots that climb up and over the ruins.  On this day I was alone, so it was nice to spend time sitting and soaking it all in.  I really enjoyed going through and capturing the same elements that I did in 2009 and looking back to see how my voice has changed.  This time, too, I brought along a polaroid land camera and an instax mini.  I can't wait to get those prints scanned.

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P.s.  I love looking back at my post from my first Ta Prohm visit.  Oh how my photography changed.  Going on that trip was one of the pivotal moments in my life.  I gained so many girlfriends whom I cherish to this day... one even named Cherish, whom I went with to India.  I also learned a lot about photography, especially Amy <3 who I spent many long tuk tuk rides with.  And Richelle who I went with on this Cambodia trip!  All in all it was wonderful to return to Cambodia.  I felt like I was returning home.  I loved experiencing Ta Prohm for a second time, my eyes wiser and my photography more mature.

Here's a picture from my trip in 2009. The picture is taken of most of the group by Josh Newton.

Below is a picture of the same spot. The left from 2009 and the right from 2013.  The original left picture was a vertical image, but I cropped it to compare the two images.  You can see how they've added modern structural elements to keep the ruins from falling apart.  You can also note a vast difference in how I edit.  Crazy how so much changes in four years.

cambodia | good bye for now.

I've been in Phnom Penh for the past couple of days, and I'm sad to say my Cambodia trip is coming to end.  Cambodia has such a special place in my heart.  I couldn't tell you in words.  Maybe it's because on my first trip I met so many of my dear friends.  Or maybe it's because the people of Cambodia have big hearts.  Or maybe it's because my dear tuk tuk driver, Mr. Sith, bought me and my parents (yes, my parents) gifts.  Cambodia is been good for my soul.  I'm sad I'm heading out tomorrow. But tonight is my last night with Richelle.  So it's on.  Time to eat Chinese food (yes, Chinese food.) lol.  Then tomorrow she and I travel back in time!

(And because posts are more interesting with pictures, the one above is in Angkor Wat. Asian tourists always complete a picture.)

cambodia | beng mealea

By the time I actually arrived in Cambodia, I had been traveling for five days (traveling back from New York, trying to travel but missing my flight and the three days of flights to get to Cambodia).  To arrive in Cambodia I just felt like I was home.  Everything, although foreign, was still somehow familiar.  This is my second time visiting Cambodia, but it's changed so much since three years ago when I last visited.  Cambodia is adjusting to foreign tourists, and somehow it's losing its charm that I first fell in love with three years ago. On my first full day in Cambodia, Richelle and I went to Beng Mealea about two hours northeast by tuk tuk of Siem Reap where we're staying.  I must say, Beng Mealea is freakin awesome.  It's like a juggle gym and the temple in Tomb Raider (Ta Prohm) combined.  You can climb through the ruins or walk on boardwalks through and above the ruins.  I loved it.

Where are you??

Nowadays, "Where are you?" and "Where you been?" are often asked to me.  Actually, I'm so out of it sometimes it takes me a second to remember.  I'm rarely home, even when I in Cali.  And when I'm in California, I'm usually buried in my room working or out with friends catching up.  With Christmas right around the corner, many conversations revolve around last year.  People talk about last year, last December and last Christmas, and I can't seem to remember any of those memories. Duh.

I was in Thailand and Cambodia for the first 23 days of December.  (And before that I spent most of last year's November in Seattle and DC).  When I returned home for Christmas, I literally slept through Christmas.  Spending three weeks in another country really kills your internal time clock.  Anyway, instead of reminiscing about last year's Christmas (which I really have no memory of except for pictures), I'll remember the adventure I had in Thailand and Cambodia on the Raddest Photo Trip Ever.  I didn't know it at the time, but I would meet friends who'd become very dear to me.  Over the past year I've been able to visit most of the ones I'm closest to.  I'm so amazed with my unforgettable experiences and super awesome, caring friends. word.

These pictures are courtesy of the lovely Richelle Dante

RPTE 41: Wowzas!

Raddest Photo Trip Ever Day 16: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Boy. It's been more than a month, and I haven't finished posting pictures of my Thailand/Cambodia trip. I'm on day 16 and there were a total of 19 days! On this particular day in Camodia, our tuk-tuk drivers took us to two interesting spots they chose for us. The first was a waterfall and some underwater ruins. The second was another temple, but pretty different from the ones we had been seeing.

*Make sure you click on the pictures for a larger view.

One of the best parts of this day was the relaxing and scenic drive.

This one of my favorite pictures. I had to hang off the side of the tuk-tuk to this picture...

Here's the waterfall.

Here's more of that beautiful drive.

Here's the temple we went to. Gorgeous.

A young girl trying to sell us scarves

Here are some cute children trying to make a living.

Look how red the sun is! I didn't process this one.

I got these shots by the night time market.

To see other pictures from other photographers on this trip check these out..... Bobby Earle // Richelle Dante // Erika Lindroth Amy Martin // Katie Lewis