East Baray

East Baray

Now dry and easy to miss

More on Angkor

The East Baray, a reservoir built due east of Angkor Thom, is an impressive 7.5 kilometres long by almost two kilometres wide.

Travelfish says:

Despite its size, it’s a feature of the Angkorian landscape many tourists are utterly unaware of as it’s almost impossible to notice on ground level to the untrained eye—it has since dried up. It’s well worth looking at on an aerial map and satellite images for a better sense of the scale and diversity of the Angkor area as it once was—it was not all about temples.

Some imagination required. : Caroline Major.
Some imagination required. Photo: Caroline Major

After completion, the baray was fed its water via a canal from the Roulos river that emptied into its northeastern corner. When full to a planned depth of four metres, the baray held a massive 55 million cubic metres of water, forming an integral part of the complex hydraulic system that ensured rice irrigation to support the population at the time (at least according to one school of academic thought).

Today there is no water to speak of—but towards the centre sits the East Mebon on a purpose-built elevated temple island. What a splendid sight it must have been when the baray was full, arriving here by boat across what must have felt like much more than an over-sized lake.

The East Baray today is grassland and farmland—hamlets are scattered across the site where sandy tracks weave across the terrain between paddy. Today visitors head to the water-filled West Baray—a popular local spot—or to the North Baray which was re-filled with water only in recent times, which help provide an understanding of how the East Baray would also have once been.

Reviewed by

Caroline swapped the drizzle of Old Blighty for the dazzling sunshine of Siem Reap and she spends most weekends cycling the temple-studded terrain that she can call her backyard.

Tours in Cambodia


These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Angkor

Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm

A crowd-pleasing favourite

The Grand Circuit
The Grand Circuit

Choose your own adventure

Bayon
Bayon

A basket of bottles

Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea

Spectacular jungle ruins

Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei

Stunning carvings

Preah Khan
Preah Khan

Rambling and exquisite

Pre Rup
Pre Rup

Top sunset spot

Bakong
Bakong

A great dawn alternative

Banteay Kdei
Banteay Kdei

An under rated gem