Baray means water reservoir built by ancient Khmer people. West Baray is the largest man-made water reservoir during ancient Khmer civilization. It is the most stunning water reservoir for tourist who wish to visit Cambodia for nature and water related tourism.
West Baray is an artificial lake, not a congenital one. It is hard to believe. This reservoir is navigable by boat, up to 5 meters deep in places, and contains its own man-made island. There is a temple on the island called “West Mebon”.
They erected four eastern dikes with 8 km by 2 km rectangle. Rain water filled in once the dikes were completed. Basically, West Baray is owned on 1760 hectares of land with 7 meter average depth. Nowadays, only 2/3 of the western part is filled with water plus the average depth is approximately 4 meters.
King Suryavarman I initiated its construction in 11th Century. The project was completed under the reign of King Udayadityavarman II, who reigned until 1066, according to archeological theory.
In present day, West Baray is provided by a series of channels, delivering water from the moats on every side the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Cambodian people use the baray and its channels for irrigation, transportation, and tourism. Although a boat ride across West Baray is not a popular tourist activity in Cambodia. It is one of the most breathtaking.