Things to See and Do - Battambang, Cambodia
Sampeou Mountain - Battambang
Phnom Sampeou is a natural site located along National Road 57 in Sampeou Commune, Battambang district, about 12Kilometers of Battambang city. Atop a 100-meter-high mountain stands a pagoda and threee natural caves: Pkasla, Lakhaon and Aksopheak. Pkasla cave is full of uprooted stones and is considered important because it is where Phnom Sampeou residents come to celebrate after a marriage. Next to Phnom Sampeou are several important mountain clusters, including Phnom Kdaong, Phnom Krapeu(The Crocodile Mountain), Phnom Trung Moan, Phnom Trung Teat and Phnom Neang Romsay Sok. All are related to the Khmer Folktale titled Reachkol Neang Romsay Sok.
Phnom Sampeou means 'Ship mountain' because its peculiar shape reminds of a ship. This legendary 100 metres high mountain, topped by Wat Sampeou, contains 3 natural caves, lined with Buddhist shrines and statues: Pkasla, Lakhaon and Aksopheak. Pkasla cave is full of uprooted stones and is considered important because Sampeou inhabitants go there to celebrate after a marriage. Some caves were used by the Khmer Rouges as killing caves. Skeletons of their victims still remain in the caves. The wat is approached by a flight of 700 stairs. It is not exceptional but the view is spectacular. Next to Phnom Sampeou are several important mountain clusters.
Phnom Sampeou rises from the rice paddys of Southwestern Cambodia to a height of only 2500 feet, by my very generous estimate. So why should it have a page here? A few reasons:First, Cambodia does not have a single mountain currently listed on Summitpost, despite the fact that Cambodia actually has some perfectly respectable mountains (including Phnom Aural, at 5,948 feet) set in some of the most ecologically unique settings on the planet. Maybe Phnom Sampeou is not the most interesting mountain in Cambodia, but it is a good start.
Located approximately 15 kilometers outside of Cambodia's second largest city , Battambang, Phnom Sampeou rests on the Northern end of the D?mrei Mountains (literally "Elephant Mountains"), which fall into the Gulf of Thailand to the South and connect to the Kr?vanh Mountains (literally "Cardamom Mountains") to the East. Phnom Sampeou is composed of limestone and dotted with caves, and was an important setting for battles between the Khmer Rouge and military forces in the 1980s. This legacy still marks the mountain in two ways: first is the aging anti-aircraft guns staged near the top, and second is the presence of human remains--a product of the Khmer Rouge's genodical campaigns--that can still be found in the caves in Phnom Sampeou. Not for the light-hearted, exactly, but memorable and important. Phnom Sampeou also houses two important Buddhist wats.
Phnom Sampeou is riddled with far more caves than you can possibly access without putting yourself in serious danger (see "red tape"). This becomes apparent at dusk, when millions--literally, millions--of small bats come bursting out of the mountain in several directions. They form a steady stream toward the countryside, where they spend the evening stuffing themselves with insects. In case this isn't obvious, you might want to leave the caves before dusk.The bats are far from the scariest thing in the caves, however. The Khmer rouge executed thousands of people on Phnom Sampeou, and many were thrown through the roof of one of the caves and left to die in the cold and dark. One example of this can be found near the summit (any of the monks can show you, although the might want a donation). Some of the bones left in the cave can be found in a cage, others are piled near the walkway. Yikes.
Phnom Sampeou is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the whole of Cambodia ? and looking at it, it is not hard to see why! This attraction can be found 12 kilometres southwest of the city of Battambang and is steeped in history and legend. Phnom Sampeou is a name that every Cambodian will be familiar with, largely due to the legend of Rumsay Sok that is associated with the hillside.A visit to Phnom Sampeou essentially starts with a climb of 700 steps to the top. There is also a cemented road which you can use to walk up or take a motoride to the summit. Situated on the hilltop is a beautiful pagoda that gives breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. As well as the pagoda, which was actually used as a prison and torture centre during the time of the Khmer Rouge, there are a series of shrines and statues to be found along the way. It is most likely that you will be visiting Phnom Sampeou to explore the natural caves and grottos that have taken part in one of the most horrific genocides in human history.
Map of Sampeou Mountain
Other Attractions in Battambang
Phnom Trong Morn Trong Tea, Battambang is one of the place which is filled with abundant number of flora and fauna and are well liked by the nature loving tourists in particular. This is the place which comes as one of the important tourist destination where you are going to enjoy a whole days' trip and find it to be a place to... read more
Prek Toal Bird sanctury, on the Tinle Sap, is home to 120 bird species, many endangered. From January throught June it is a breeding ground for dozens of species includding storks, ibises, cormrants, pelicans and adjuncts. During the rainy season you can visit the flooded forest and watch locals lifestyle earning their living by... read more
The Sneung temples are devided into two parts - East Sneung and West Sneung. The East Sneung temple is located in Sneung Pagoda, Sneung Commune, Banan Distric, about 22kilometers soutwest of the provincial town. The temple, constructed of bricks on a hill, is 30meters long and 20meters wide. It features three separate shrines and is... read more
Kamping Pouy Bassin is located between two mountains Phnom Ku or Phnom Ta Ngen and Phnom Kamping Pouy - in Ta Nget Village, Ta Kream Srok commune, about 35 kilometers west of the provincial town.This gigantic civil-engineering project was central to the Khmer Rouge?s plan to irrigate the countryside around Battambang. Tragically,... read more
Wat Pee- Pahd,Battambang is one of the cultural heritage spots of the city. The Wat Pee- Pahd,Battambang brings to the foreground the rich cultural heritage which is associated with the city. The Wat Pee- Pahd,Battambang is one of the best among the many Battambang Tourist Attractions and visited by thousand of tourists round the... read more
Phnom Sampeou is a natural site located along National Road 57 in Sampeou Commune, Battambang district, about 12Kilometers of Battambang city. Atop a 100-meter-high mountain stands a pagoda and threee natural caves: Pkasla, Lakhaon and Aksopheak. Pkasla cave is full of uprooted stones and is considered important because it is where... read more
Sek Sork is the natural resort, which has been popular since before the civil war time. Sek Sork stretches along the river bank full of plant, trees and bamboo-green nature in 500-meter length. Regarding to Sek Sork, tourists can also visit other attractive sites like Pich Chenda Dangtung water bubble amd Laang Spean Andet site.Sek... read more
Just north of the Cobra Bridge, on the west bank, you will see a lot of boats hugging he riverbank. You can hire a non-motorized small wooden boat for around 4,000 Riel, and a motorized boat (if available) for around USD5 an hour. It?s a pleasant way to wee the river life around Battambang town. There is also a boat you can take to... read more
Pich Chenda, Battambang is one of the premier destinations in Cambodia which is included in the itinerary of the tourists and sightseers arriving in the country. Pich Chenda, Battambang is one of the natural tourism sites of the city which is also recognized as the second largest city of the country. Battambang being the second... read more
Barsaet Temple is located in Barsaet Villlage, Tapoan commune, Sangke District, about 15 kilometers east of Battambang provincial town. The temple was built in the 11th century, between AD 1036 and 1042, during the region of King Suryavarman I (AD 1002-1050). This temple was seriously damaged, and only the door frame remains. Next... read more
Wat Tahm-rai-saw (White Elephant Pagoda), Battambang is one of the frequently accessed tourist spots that is situated in the city center area. This famous temple is located in one of the busy districts of the city which can be convenient to access making this temple one of the prime Battambang attractions. Wat Tahm-rai-saw (White... read more
Dang Tung, Battambang is frequently accessed by leisure tourists touring the second largest city and the capital of the Battambang Province. Locally known as Phratabong, the city of Battambang is an elegant riverside town which dates back to the 11th Century. Home to few of the best preserved colonial architecture of Cambodia, the... read more
Adapts the architecture of mid 11th century and the end of 12th century the temple was first built by king, Ut Tak Yea Tit Tya Varman II (1050-1066) and then was finally built by the king, Jarvarman VII (1181-1219). The temple is located on the top of approximate 400-meter heighten mountain at Kon Tey 2 commune, Ba Nan District in... read more
Located on the east bank of the Sanker River, the temple is a simple and run down place. There is an unusual wall mural on the outside of the temple that features a progressing story of a bad dude that apparently killed his own mother and finally had to board a boat bound for hell. Strange, indeed.The interesting feature of this wat... read more
Situated about 10 km north of the Cobra Bridge are the ruins of Ek Phnom. It was built during the Bayon period and unfortunately is much worse for the wear than Phnom Banan.It?s an interesting place, however, because there is a freshly constructed working temple right in front of the ruins. This temple, along with the temple ruins,... read more