sign in a cave in Laos

13 July 2008

Battambang Caves 1 - Phnom Sampeu 2008

During our caving expedition in June 2008, we stayed in Battambang in northwest Cambodia and drove out to the caves each day. Although the distances are not huge, travelling time was very long due to the appalling road conditions.

In 2004 the road from Battambang to Phnom Sampeu and onto the Thai border at Pailin was in terrible condition. So in 2008 I was surprised to see it still in a bad state. It took almost an hour to cover the 14 km to Phnom Sampeu. The road is very potholed and is dusty in the dry and full of small lakes in the wet.

Phnom Sampeu is the famous hill which contains the killing caves and is on the tourist itinerary. It is a striking limestone outcrop with a wat on top.

At Phnom Sampeu tourists walk up a long and winding road, which initially brings them to the killing caves. This is where adults and children were pushed off the cliff top to fall down to the cave entrance. Some were bludgeoned or knifed before they were pushed, but many survived the fall and endured lingering deaths from starvation, thirst and injuries, as other bodies piled onto them. This was during the gruesome days of the Khmer Rouge massacres. An estimated 10,000 fell to their deaths here.

When I returned in 2008 I was quite shocked to see the numbers of new Buddhas, shrines, stupas etc that had been built in the last 4 years. Everywhere there were notice boards announcing how much people had donated. I was quite staggered at the amount of money that had been spent, considering Cambodia is such a poor country and many people have to survive on maybe US$3 or less a day.
Walking up the hill
 Baby Buddha
 Wat Mereoum
 torture room
 Bones in the adult killing cave

 Cave entrance

Picture of people being pushed off the cliff

 Theatre Cave -

 stupa for bones -
 New Buddha, human bones

 view to Crocodile Mountain

 donations please
 path to the top

 German field gun

 Diamond or Vishnu cave, with many steps down

 out the back door
 wat at summit of hill

 stick insect
 Wind Cave

They are also building a huge Buddha in the cliff by the car park

Bat Cave

There are 6 more albums on the Battambang caves Caves 2 sdao area and Caves 3 crocodile hill area and Caves 4 kampong poi area and Caves 5 phnom kdaong and Caves 6 Banan area and Caves 7 kpg poi lake area and also Cambodian cave fauna.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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