sign in a cave in Laos

31 August 2011

Battambang caves 7 - Banan area pt 2

This is the 2nd part on the Banan area, see part 1.

We returned to the Banan area for the 3rd day. At Phnom Banan we got 2 guides and set off with a black dog. We walked uphill to Laang Trao on Phnom Banan.
The cave entrance leads to one large chamber, with a broken ladder at the top. The dog got bored and went home.

From here we went back down to the main track, then along a mostly flat path to a cave that was full of bats. At first it looked like a cavity in a rift but a passage lead into the main cave.
there were lots of roots hanging down
Cave entrance

We went to a 3rd cave which was the biggest of the day. A large entrance chamber,
main way on is to the left, a series of rift passages. Nice cave, lots of incense sticks everywhere and in one place a flat area had dozens of little mounds of
sand topped by an incense stick, made as an offering to the gods especially at Khmer New Year, something to do with the fact that the grains of sand can’t be counted. People use homemade kerosene bottle lamps, as well as burning attap roof sheets.
There were some impressive tree roots in the cave
and a nice calcite flow

The next day we went back to the school teacher’s place.

We discussed caves, then 3 kids and a dog took us to a foothill cave on the left side of the hill.

Steps led down to a rift, there was some ‘cave cancer’

and lots of incense sticks and offerings.

Nice cave. Huge whip spiders, few crickets and bats. Nice formations, a large upper chamber.

That was all for that day, we would return the next.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

Battambang caves 6 - Banan area pt 1

Another part of my series of Battambang caves. It is an important limestone area in Cambodia.

The Banan area is reached by turning left immediately out of Battambang when heading for Sampeu. The road follows the river. The Banan hills are southeast of Sampeu and are quite an extensive range running almost due east-west.

This is part 1 on the Banan area, see part 2.

First day we went to Kampong Seyma and then to an area with a wat that was being built. We met the local school teacher and had a photo taken with him and the pupils - the teacher is shorter than me

2 boys took us up to Laang Seisa.
The cave is basically one long chamber with a side passage and there is electric lighting. I saw a whip spider
We wanted to go to more caves, but the teacher was only free after he had eaten. So we went to Phnom Banan and turned in at the wat to the tourist caves. When we arrived at the first cave, Laang Batmia, I realised I had been here before in 2004. On that visit I had found a man lying on the floor, and wasn't sure if he was dead or alive. My guide hurried me away and told the police.

In 2008 a persistent small boy with a headlamp and large battery took over as our guide.
The cave has quite a high roof

This is the passage where I found the body in 2004
and this is the man

We walked back to Laang Bartoek. There is a lot of graffiti
Young boys and monks were interested and watched us surveying the cave

There are some nice formations in the cave

The reason I hadn't recognised the area is because the valley must have been de-mined since my last visit, as the area is now planted with papaya trees. Also I didn’t remember the graves dated 1979. The next day we returned to the same valley and did one small cave (above) with some snails.

After this cave, we drove to the other side of the hill to look for caves. We parked by a shop built under a tree
and had to wait for a herd of cows to pass

A lady guided us up the hill to a nice cave with a large 33m high open chamber with sunlight coming in.
there was a huge root right down to floor level.

On the way down we stopped by a large pile of calcite crystals and there was a small hole in the rock wall.

After lunch we had a very hot and sweaty climb up a hill but the locals couldn't find any cave.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

27 August 2011

Battambang caves 5 - Phnom Kdaong

There are several limestone hills in the Battambang area of Cambodia. The most famous hill is Phnom Sampeu, where the "killing caves" are located.

Phnom Kdaong is the hill immediately to the south of Sampeu. When driving from Battambang you turn left just before Sampeu.

On the east side we had to climb a long flight of steps to reach the small caves. The first cave, Laang Kess has brightly painted statues
apsara on stal

Spot the non Buddha!

For some reason there is an old toilet in a side passage

The next cave had a tree growing over the entrance
and there were some human bones in a side chamber

We continued up the stairs and there were some beatiful frangipangi

The next Buddha had a small cicak on his hand

This tree is well protected by thorns
The cave at the top of the hill, Laang Tabalkan, was really small, and there were some baby squirrels outside, which presumably had been abandoned by mum and were dying
When we got back down the hil the children greeted us with smiles

After lunch we drove to the quarry on the other side of Phnom Kdaong, opposite Sampeu. Some boys led us and we walked to one cavity which was 9m long,
then to a long rock-shelter

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission