Phnom Sampeou - review by Rusty Compass
Battambang | see and do guide

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Phnom Sampeou

| 03 Apr 2013
Phnom Sampeou
12 kms from Battambang towards Pailin
US$4 - includes access to other temples in the Battambang area for 1 day.
Our rating
03 Apr 2013

Phnom Sampeou is a mountain further afield from Battambang that is rich in Buddhist symbolism for the Khmer people. More recently it was used as a prison and killing field by the Khmer Rouge. There are now several small temples on and around the mountain.

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Most Battambang tuk-tuk tours will include a visit to Wat Sampeou - dubbed Battambang's "killing fields".

During Pol Pot's rule in the 1970s, Khmer Rouge prisoners were held and murdered in caves half way up the mountain. There's a memorial in one cave that includes a glass cabinet of smashed skulls that has become a macabre regular feature of former Khmer Rouge sites.

For the local people, the religious significance Phnom Sampeou dates back centuries. 

There's a temple at the top and great views across the surrounding countryside.

On arrival at Wat Sampeou, you'll likely be accosted by a swarm of kids all bidding to be your guide. As with other places in Cambodia, it's hard to know whether this should be encouraged or spurned. I'm still not sure. There are certainly worse things these kids could be doing. But it's easy to feel harassed.

The walk up takes about 45 minutes and can be hot. It's also possible to have a motorbike taxi take you to the top. Tuk tuk's aren't permitted up.

Travel tips
Wat Sampeou is around 15kms from Battambang and can easily be visited in a tuk tuk tour including Phnom Banan and the Bamboo Train. The 4 dollar entrance fee covers admission for a single day to Phnom Banan, Wat Sampeau and Ek Phnom.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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