sign in a cave in Laos

23 August 2011

Battambang Caves 4 - Kampong Poi area

Kampong Poi (Puoy) in in the Battambang area of Cambodia. It is reached by taking the only junction when driving from Sampeu towards Sdao, on the road to the border town of Pailin. The area is famous for its large manmade lake.

We stopped at a wat but there was no cave, so we drove through the village
to another part of the hill. We climbed some stairs to the monks’ place, and found a small cave Muy Chung (Muk Chniang)
with an open roof at the back and horizontal bedding. An older monk arrived and said “how are you” a few times, but that was the extent of his English.
From here we drove into a quarry
but it seemed to be dolomite rather than limestone.

We went back into Takriem village and wanted to get to a cave high up in Phnom Ta Kriem with an entrance visible from the road.

We got a local boy to guide us and with about 10 kids had a 20 minute walk along the edge of the fields and then climbed a very steep track
The kids ran up the hill like mountain goats. At the top there was a good view over the plain
There were 2 entrances. The right side hole had a ladder and the kids swarmed up this.
The cave was just It was one small chamber with 2 linking holes in the floor, and some concrete linga bases.
I didn't realise so many kids had joined us and there was a queue
on the ladder to get back down.

The left side cave was the bat cave Roung/Laang Prakiu,
but we couldn’t go in because of the stench of guano produced by many bats.
It was so strong, absolutely pure ammonia, which is rare. Michael braved a quick forage to find a dead bat (Tadarida plicata) - we were collecting cave fauna for identification.
I don't know if the kids thought we wanted to eat it, but one boy went into the cave and came out with a live bat which I was able to photograph before releasing. It was a free-tailed bat.

For me going down the hill was as hard as going up

Back in the village the locals were able to drink from water containers
but we preferred to stick to safe cans

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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