Today was the big day, we got up real early to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Many people had the same plan, and I watched a group of Indian-Australian bros discuss the best way to adjust their SLRs for at least two hours.
We went up to the top after that, where there was a lineup for an hour before we could get in. They limit the top to 100 people at a time. That was nice. Then we looked at the carvings on all four sides of the building. There was a depiction of heaven and hell, as well as the ubiquitous "churning of the ocean of milk", the story of the devils and god tugging a naga to spin the mountain that Vishnu sat upon, which in turn churned up the oceans, creating an elixir of immortality. I don't know what happened after that, but it's the big story repeated everywhere.
From there we took a break in the shade to eat some wasabi peas and then headed to Angkor Thom and Bayon, which is covered in faces resembling the famous king. This one was my favourite because it felt like Big Brother looking down on everything. It also wasn't restored like at Angkor Wat. The carvings were made with common people in mind. We could see a woman giving birth, as well as people playing chess and watching the circus.
We dragged ourselves to the last stop of the day, which was the elephant's terrace. It was a gigantic venue for military marches and the like. You could stand there and imagine the crowds of people dressed in their finery and displaying their talents for the king and his consorts. Amazing.