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The Mountain Temples of Phnom Sampeuv Sep 28, 2014

The Mountain Temples of Phnom Sampeuv

GPS waypoint: N 13°01.241' E103°05.863'
Location: Phnom Sampeuv, Province of Battambang, Cambodia

Up the Mountain
Immediately after the Vipassana closing, a kind hearted local meditator, Sokun, took me and Tuyen, a Vietnamese Vipassana server, to Phnom Sampeuv, popular mountain temple just a kilometer away from the Vipassana Center and 17 kms away from Battambang. Sampeuv is an imposing limestone outcropping in the middle of a rice field. It was a steep ride up the cliff face on Sokun's motorbike. Carrying my 23-kilo backpack on a small motorbike with another passenger plus the driver wasn't exactly the most comfortable for anyone, but they were kind.

Buddha Everywhere
On the mountain top, the density of temples and Buddha monuments baffle the imagination. There is practically a temple, shrine or statue of Buddha on every turn, with a monk looking after it's care and maintenance. This was my first glimpse into Cambodian's deep devotion to Buddha.

Dark Past
The serenity of Sampeuv hides a dark history. During the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge, over a thousand people were killed on that mountain top. They would be blindfolded and brought to the edge of a cliff and be whacked at the back of the head to fall down to their doom - some of them would not die until after a few days. It was a brutal part of their not-so-distant history that remains fresh. Some bones are preserved where they were found, as a grim reminder of the tragic events that took place.

Next stop: the bamboo train!

--- TheLoneRider

three is company on Sokun's motorcycle Tuyen and Sokun...still more climbing to go a Buddha temple people come and make their devotion to's not just a tourism destination
in front of one (of very many) structures on the mountain top going down many steps down a ravine is another Buddha shrine during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror, people were taken to the top edge of this precipice, blind-folded, and whacked on the head to their doomed fall. Some don't instantly die from the fall - they linger for days in agony. the skulls are collected and preserved as grim reminder of their tragic past
the flower of the tree where Buddha's mother was said to conceive him even Buddha's 5 friends have their own monuments just to give you a scale of these monuments Sokun and Tuyen with Buddha's 5 friends (in the Catholic faith, they'd be called The Apostles)
more Buddha statues...notice the scale a Khmer style structure. I'm not sure if this is still a devotion to Buddha Sokun on a ledge there is usually a monk in charge of the upkeep of these structures
going down another set of ravine, a pair of statues are enshrined in what seems like a hidden mountain garden from the mountain top, Dhamma Latthika (Vipassana Meditation Center) can be seen monkeys abound in Phnom Sampeuv passages open up to more temples

FYI / Tips

  • there is no fee to visit any of the temples. But feel free to make a donation for its upkeep.

How to Get to Phnom Sampeuv from Battambang City Proper

  1. take a tuk-tuk or moto-taxi and make the arrangement. Normally, the fee is $5 trip one way, but they might charge more since the tuk-tuk goes up the mountain. Cheaper to get a moto-taxi (single motorcycle where you ride at the back)...about 30 minutes.

More Information about Battambang

Cambodia Blogs by TheLoneRider

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Sep 28, 2014 Phnom Sampeuv

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