Ta Prohm is the most famous of the “ruined temples” of Angkor Wat. As these substantially large religious sites were abandoned, the forest invaded. Strangler fig trees have taken over, growing from the roofs and towers, sending their roots down over the stone roofs and into the hallways and corridors. Tree and stone have shifted and merged, becoming dependent. The giant figs cannot be removed without endangering the remaining structure. Ta Prohm is a wonderful place to feel the intimacy of the ruins, and to discover how Angkor must have looked hundreds of years ago to the first European visitors.
Although the Angkor Wat archeological park is known for its thick forests, these are only found near the sites, but not elsewhere. Around Siem Reap or elsewhere in nearby countryside, are only fields and low scrub. Either the trees have been protected by the site, or there is something special about the local hydraulics that encourages tall trees. During the era Angkor Wat, the surrounding forest would probably have been cut for firewood and building materials.