Our tuk tuk driver started by dropping us off at the South Gate to Angkor Thom, probably the most impressive gate because the statues are the best preserved. One side of the gate consists of the gods and one side consists of the monsters all pulling a naga (a multiheaded snake-like creature). As can be seen below, most, if not all, of the heads are missing or restored because the heads of statues were the most commonly stolen item from around the temples. The gates are all also marked by a four faced tower. The gate really is impressive!
Further inside Angkor Thom, we reached the Bayon, another of the most popular temples. And rightly so; it is famous for its towers adorned with faces. The Bayon is really unique, completely unlike any of the other temples. It is pyramidal, yet you still felt like you could get a little lost within its walls. Each king who occupied this temple felt the need to try to outdo the previous king and add more towers, which lends the temple to be a little less uniform than many others. This was one of my favorite temples; it is so cool just seeing faces completely surround you!
Within walking distance from the Bayon, we visted the Baphuon, another pyramidal temple. Like Ta Keo, only Brad made it to the top of temple. It was cool to be able to just walk from one temple to the next in Angkor Thom, but this one wasn't too exciting.
This temple was one beyond the Baphuon. It was another pyramidal temple, similar to the Baphuon. At this point, we did not feel the need to even attempt to climb it. Once again, nice to see since we were in the area, but nothing special.
We then continued to the Terrace of the Elephants, though the way the path was organized, you couldn't really see most of the elephants unless you completely back tracked once you got to the street. There were a couple of cool elephants though, and the carvings were pretty interesting. At the end, we met back up with our driver and exited through the North Gate.
We stopped at one last temple, just north of Angkor Thom. Preah Khan actually served as a Buddhist university at one point and was a lot bigger than I thought. It was a bit too crowded after visiting Angkor Thom, and probably would be a good temple to start the day with or go at an off time to. The temple is full of grid-like passages. The main path through the center of the temple got jammed a few times with groups of people thinking it was ok for each person in the group to take a picture in the middle of the path, blocking the way for all others - really annoying. If you veered off to the side paths, it got more interesting - more jungle-y, and less crowded. I even found a room full of stone piles that I climbed over to explore for a short bit. Rosie and Laura didn't even make it to the other end, but Brad and I were happy we did because there were were two awesome looking silk trees busting out of the temple. If this temple had been on an earlier day, I think I could have spent a couple of hours exploring. But since this was our last temple, we were all templed out, so we probably only spent an hour here.