We begin with a stop at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, famous for its epic depiction of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk Hindu creation story. A small scene from Transformers 3 was filmed here as the Decepticons emerge from their subterranean sleep. We then head to the East Gate of Angkor Thom, setting for the temple entrance in Tomb Raider, and discover where Manfred Powell (played by Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen), Alex West (played by Daniel Craig, AKA James Bond) and their band of bad guys broke into the sanctuary. This was also used as a backdrop for an elephant-mounted tiger hunt in Two Brothers and is a beautiful secluded spot that sees few tourists.
We continue to the Bayon Temple, famous for its enigmatic faces of Lokesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, said to bear an uncanny resemblance to the great King Jayavarman VII himself. This was the location where Lara Croft's turbo powered Land Rover landed on a pallet and she put it through its paces around the temple ring road.
After a quick look at some of the minor temples in Angkor Thom, we continue to the jungle temple of Ta Prohm which was where Lara Croft found a secret entrance to the temple with help from a local girl. She picked a sprig of jasmine and the sands remarkably parted as she fell through the earth into… Pinewood Studios or the hidden vault of the temple. Several opening scenes of Two Brothers were also filmed here with Guy Pearce hunting the adult tigers through the temple.
We stop for a private lunch at Sala Kdei, a traditional wooden house on the shores of the royal bathing pond of Sra Srang. This area was used as the unit base for the Tomb Raider crew, which numbered as many as 500 people on the busier days.
After lunch, we travel to Angkor Wat, the mother of all temples and the location for some key scenes from Tomb Raider, when Angelina Jolie arrives in a floating village in front of the temple. She exits the village and enters the temple to meet a holy monk who heals her damaged arm and lends her a phone. Angkor Wat was also the setting for the final scenes of In the Mood for Love, the classic love story from Wong Kar-wai, in which he pays homage to Roman Holiday.
Who knows how many more films will be shot at the temples of Angkor in the years to come, but one thing is for sure it will remain on the radar of leading directors thanks to the bounty of iconic images on offer here.
From £172 /$210 per person based on two people including a one-day Angkor pass, private English-speaking location film fixer and air-conditioned vehicle.
This module can be added to any of our Cambodian itineraries that include Siem Reap.
All of our itineraries are tailor-made according to the interests of our clients and the above itinerary is an example only. Please contact our Southeast Asia specialist, Melissa Matthews, for your own tailor-made holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia on +44 (0)1242 787804.