Angkor Thom translates to the Great Imperial City.
One of the important records made by the Chinese emissary Zhou Daguan 周达观（约1266年-1346年）, 《真腊风土记》 in his visit end of the 13th century, which being used as a guideline for all the researchers and even for the Cambodian.
In one of the records made by Zhou Daguan described that the houses being large and spacious with carved walls and painted images of the Buddha.
" Ordinary families have houses, but nothing else by way of tables, chairs, jars, or buckets. They use an earthenware pot to cook rice in, and make sauce with an earthenware saucepan. For a stove they sink three stones into the ground, and use coconut husks as spoons. When serving rice they use earthenware or copper dishes from China; sauce comes in a small bowl made from the leaves of a tree, which doesn't leak even when it is full of liquid. They also make spoons from the leaves of the nypa palm, which they spoon liquid into their mouths with, and throw away after using. Even when they are making offerings to the gods and to Buddha, they do things the same way. They also have an earthenware vessel on one side which they fill with water and dip their hands in. They do this because they eat rice just with their hands, and it sticks in their hands and won't come off without water. "
(Extract from pages 76-77 of A Record of Cambodia: the Land and its People by Zhou Daguan, translated by Peter Harris)
South Gate is the best preserved and busiest gate. The East Gate and the Victory Gate on the east are much quieter.
You will need to pass through this gorgeous gate to enter into Angkor Thom
Notes for Travelers to Angkor Thom
1) Hindu myth
Cross a wide causeway flanked by 54 devas (deity) and 54 asuras (demons) pulling on a giant snake in a representation of the Hindu myth of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. The devas and demons cooperate to create the nectar of life.
2) Riding an elephant
An elephant ride from South Gate to Bayon cost US$10 per person and trip to Bakheng cost US$20 per person. Each elephant can take 2 adults.
Further reading :
Notes to travelers to Angkor Wat