There are 5 gates to Angkor Thom with the south gate, having been somewhat restored and being the main road from Angkor Wat getting the bulk of the crowds.
Covering 9 km² Angkor Thom is large enough to spend a lot of time and even avoid some crowds.
We like the East & West gates which get less crowds than the North, South and Victory gates even though the east gate was a scene in the 2001 Tomb Raider movie.
Built in the late 12 century located around 1,5 km from the central of Angkor Thom – Bayon, the East gate was once used to access the city, but not anymore with the Victory & South gates being closer to Angkor Wat having the dubious honour of millions of tourists passing beneath them.
The east gate is just abandoned in the jungle without many people but a lot of birds, butterflies and cicadas. Theanimals sounds of the East gate will make you forget for a time about the maddening crowds of Angkor Wat.
So if you looking for seeing temples or stone structures without tour groups from Chinese, Korea and Japanese the east gate is your best choice. The best time for taking photos from east gate is around 4pm when the sun change colors so you could get a wonderful photos combination with tree and gate plus spectacular sun light.
The East gate has been used for the kings funerals but there is not history to evidence this. East gate is 75 foot in height with four faces of Lokiteshvara. There is no gods and demons holding nagas still remains and not well preserved like the Southgate, you could see they used some concrete help the building including some wooden support as well to make sure it won’t collapse. It take around 25 minutes or more to visit east gate you can climb to very near of the for faces of Lokiteshvara and enjoy the peaceful life and the nature.
West gate located around 1.5 km from central Bayon. Cambodian people called it ( Ta Kau gate ). You can reach to west gate by car , Motobike or Tuk Tuk but only Motobike and Tuk Tuk can leave the gate and car is impossible to leave angkor thom since police has closed the road.
Please try to climb to the top of west gate because you could see the face of Lokiteshvara especially you get to see the nearest face ever. You can enjoy your time without tourists. You better seeing west gate at 4:30pm because the color of the face is much better then the noon. Near to west gate tourists could enjoy their boat ride as well. The best spot to have private time with your love is walk from west gate down to the north gate following the 8 meters wall it take around 1 hour to get to north gate enjoy to see the beautiful main made moat with lovely scenery accompany with birds singing, cicadas ..etc.