My favourite day trip from Siem Reap! Great place, good distance, quiet roads.

It is a fantastic one day round trip from Siem Reap. The full round is about 50 km but it can be shorter, visiting just the dam and pier or longer, with interesting detours in the countryside on the way back. You can check out the typical GPS track is here.

West Baray is a manmade lake built in the middle of the 11th century by Khmer king Udayadityavarman II. Some sources give different information but it is probably not all that important. The dimensions are impressive – 7.8 by 2.1 km!! The interesting point is that this artificial reservoir is still used. Continuously for nearly thousand years!

The trip starts in the central Siem Reap. It is a good idea to start early while the temperatures are still cooler. The shortest way would be taking the National Road 6, but that one is really too busy. We can reach the Baray by back, dust roads with little or no traffic and enjoy the additional bonus of getting a bit of an insight into the daily life of local villagers. All the way around the Baray we can ride on its dikes. There is no traffic, just an occasional motorbike. On the southern side there is the main pier where the tourists can hire a boat to take them to the Island. There are also stalls with souvenirs, drinks and local food. A few restaurants offer not only a tasty local lunch but also the popular hammocks to get some well-deserved rest after the cycling. On the way to the west we admire Ak Yum Temple, partly buried in the dike.

On the north side of the Baray are local villages and a school. Siem Reap International Airport is very close and we can cycle to the runway to get a first-hand view of the aircrafts. In the afternoon we return back to the busy city. It seems hard to believe that just few kilometres away one can enjoy peaceful countryside, ancient temples, and deserted dust roads.

Next time in Siem Reap do take this trip!