West Baray is the largest man-made body of water at Angkor. Visitors can hire a boat to take them to the island in the middle where West Mebon temple once stood. Today, only traces of it remain. But the island is a pleasant spot for a picnic or just walking around when water level is low. Alternatively, visitor can also go for a refreshing swim.
As the temple in the middle is in the same style as Baphuon, the baray was probably constructed in the 11th century. The east dyke leads to Ba Kheng temple. Some historian believed that the West Baray could have been a mooring place for the royal barges as well as a reservoir and a place for breeding fish.
The West Baray is a vast man-made lake, surrounded by an earthen levee which forms a dyke. According to legend, the young daughter of a ruler of Angkor was grabbled 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.