Just to the northwest of the center of Angkor Tom lies one of the Angkor Wat region’s more mysterious ruins, the Royal Enclosure. All that remains of this ancient royal abode (the home of kings during the 10th and 11th centuries) is its surrounding walls and a pair of stone-lined bathing pools. Historians believe the lack of any other archaeological evidence suggests the royal palace itself was constructed of wood.
Unlike the carvings that adorn most of the other temples in the Angkor complex, with subjects limited to religious ones for the most part, the figures carved into the sandstone panels lining the pools here depict the usual demons and deities, but also a series of more whimsical sea creatures and monsters.
While the two pools within the Royal Enclosure aren’t open for swimming, they do make a nice spot to sit in the shade and have a picnic lunch.