Wat Phnom Sampeau is a temple on top of a 100 metre high limestone karst hill rising from an otherwise flat landscape near the city of Battambang.
About Wat Phnom Sampeau
Phnom Sampeau, or Sampeau hill, is best known for its three large natural caves. These caves, which are a natural wonder in their own right, became infamous during the 1970s when they were used by the brutal Khmer Rouge regime for killing men, women and children. After being beaten to death the regime’s victims were thrown through a natural opening into one of the caves. The bones of the victims are displayed in the caves as a poignant reminder of this dark, but relatively recent, chapter in the history of Cambodia. The caves also feature Buddhist shrines and statues and a 9 metre tall partially complete carving in a rock face of the Lord Buddha. Between 17:30 and 18:00 every night large numbers of bats, estimated to be in their millions, fly out from the highest of the three caves in procession that lasts around 15 minutes. This is a popular spectacular with large number of locals and tourists gathering most evenings, with stalls set up selling drinks and food for people coming to watch the spectacle. The bats are headed in direction of Tonle Sap to feed on insects.
To reach Wat Phnom Sampeau on the top of the hill you can get a moto take you up or you can walk up a 700 step staircase. There are a number of different structures in this temple complex. The main building is noteworthy, featuring a distinctive and elaborate Khmer style roof and lots of detailed paintings. The views from the top of hill are, however, the big attraction of visiting this temple. From the temple, before you descend back to the main road, follow the 144 steps down into a deep cavern with stalactites, bats and two impressive statues of Angkor era guards.
Location of Wat Phnom Sampeau
Wat Phnom Sampeau is located 15.4 km by road from Battambang town centre.