Siem Reap River
Angkor consisted of an agglomerate of villages with surrounding paddy fields, the enclosured capital was only the centre of a much larger settlement. The agricultural basis of the empire, of course, was dependent on irrigation. There are many small rivers and streams in the area of Angkor, originating from the Kulen mountains and flowing southwards or southwestwards into the Great Lake, the Tonle Sap. The most important of them was the river now called by the same name as the town, Siem Reap. It was this river that, besides rainfall, filled the great Eastern Baray, which was the major achievement of Angkor's founder Yashovarman I and the most important reservoir of its time. Today's ruins of Angkor are located closer to the East Baray than to the slightly larger West Baray.
A canal from the Siem Reap river later on led water to the moats of the Angkor Wat. The Small Circuit crosses the Siem Reap river two times, between Thommanon and Ta Keo near the "stone bridge" Spean Thma, and between Angkor Thom and Prasat Kravan. At this segment of the river there are some picnic spots on both sides of the road, much frequented by locals from Siem Reap at weekends. At the northern side of the road there is an impressive water wheel. It is worth a short break before returning to the Angkor Wat or to Siem Reap.
The waterwheel can be seen lighted up by sunshine only in the late morning. The ticket will be checked at the access roads to the Angkor Wat area.