West Baray

West Baray

Location : Siem Reap

The largest artificial reservoir (8 x 2.2km) in the Angkor Park, called the West Baray is located near Angkor Thom city. In ancient times, the Baray was supplied by fresh water that came from two main sources: The Siem Reap and Puok Rivers. The reservoir was probably built by the great king, Suryavarman I, during whose reign the whole Angkor Empire was greatly expanded. This construction was finished in the second half of the 11th century by king Udayadityavarman II, who built, in the centre of the West Baray, a small temple called West Mebon on an island where the bronze statue of the ‘Reclining Vishnu’ was found. This sculpture is now exhibited at the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. According to some researchers, the West Baray was built because the East Baray could not be relied upon for water storage.

According to a legend, the young daughter of a ruler of Angkor was grabbed by an enormous crocodile, which made a large opening in the south dyke of the West Baray that can still be seen today. The crocodile was capture and killed. The princess, still living in its stomach, was rescued.

According to an excavation in the 1960s, there must have been a prehistoric site near the Ak Yum temple. The west part of Baray was constructed on the north part of an old city surrounded by a moat called ‘Banteay Chheu’, a name given after a village to the south of this city. The city must have survived through many reigns as many temples were built there.

Following is the description of some temples to the northwest of the West Baray.

Phnom Rung is about 1.8km from the northern dike of the West Baray. This temple was a square sanctuary of brick on a high mound, open to the east with false doors on the remaining sides. Afthough this temple is ruined; some pieces of brick and sandstones remain as proof of its construction and structure in the Pre-Angkorian period.

Kuk Po, located approximately 2.5km from Prasat Phnom Rung, was built in the 8th century to dedicate to Brahmanism. In the 9th century, the King Jayavarman III had conducted some restaurations and made a bilingual inscription in Sanskrit and Khmer, narrating his donation to the god of the temple. The temple was continuously used for worship as many statues from different periods have been found at the site.

Spean Thma ‘Stone Bridge’ or Spean Memay ‘Widows’ Bridge’ is located close to the northwest corner of the West Baray along the ancient road to Sdok Kok Thom temple. It is built of laterite and measures 79m in length and 9m wide, with 21 arches.

During your discovery of Khmer architectural and historic values at the temples, you may also enjoy the admirable village landscape, rice fields and vegetable gardens along the road to the temples.

See More attractions in Siem Reap

Banteay Srey Temple

Banteay Srey Temple

Discover the awe-inspiring sights of Cambodia. Highlights include the magnificent temple complex at Angkor Wat, as well ...

Cambodia Landmine Museum

Cambodia Landmine Museum

Cambodia remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world as a result of decades of conflict, including a civil war, the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and genocide, American bombings, and ...

Angkor National Museum

Angkor National Museum

Visiting the Angkor National Museum was an eerie, surreal experience. For the first 45 minutes of our trip through the mammoth, 20,000-square-metre building, we didn't spot another visitor. The ...

Koh Ker Temple

Koh Ker Temple

Koh Ker was once an ancient capital of Cambodia, located in Srayong Cheung village, Srayong commune, Kulen district, about 49 kilometers west of the provincial town. The Koh Ker complex is on the ...

Angkor Wat Temple

Angkor Wat Temple

Date of Construction: Early-Mid 12th cen C.E. Religious Affiliation: Hinduism Patron or King: Suryavarman II Artistic/Archeo. Style: Angkor Wat Location: 6 kms north of Siem Reap; nearest major ...

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea (its name means "lotus pond") is a temple in the Angkor Wat style located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia, on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong ...

Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap Lake

Cambodia’s Great Tonle Sap Lake sits only 15 km south of town, a unique eco-system and cultural area offering the opportunity to see a different side of the Siem Reap - floating villages, cultural ...

Phnom Krom

Phnom Krom

Prasat Phnom Krom is approximately 12 kilometers (7 .4 miles) southwest of Siem Reap near the north end of the Tonle Sap Lake. It is located on a mountain 137 meters (449 feet) highs. Climb the steep ...

War Museum

War Museum

The War Museum in Siem Reap is the only War Museum in Cambodia. It offers visitors a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century. It ...

Siem Reap Tours