Phnom Sampov

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A must-visit mountain in Battambang, Phnom Sampov is a natural and historical site situated about 12 kilometres away from Battambang city. Its name, meaning ‘Ship Mountain’, is due to its ship-like shape when viewed from a distance. 

While the mountain bursts with beautiful landscapes and greenery, some of its caves hold a dark history. Called ‘The Killing Caves’, they were where victims of the Khmer Rouge, an extreme communist regime from 1975 to 1979, were executed. In the 1980s, the mountain became a battlefront of the Khmer Rouge army against military forces, as the regime was collapsing. Nowadays, you can find many Buddhist shrines lining the caves. 

Other sights to see at Phnom Sampov include a beautiful Buddhist temple overlooking the serene Battambang landscape and the ‘bat caves’. Every evening, at sunset, millions of bats fly out of the caves creating a fantastic swirl of dark clouds. The spectacle can last up to half an hour. It’s definitely one of the most incredible sights in Cambodia, so don’t miss it when you are there! 

If you have the time, hiking up Phnom Sampov is a great way to explore the sights and the nature. You’ll also likely encounter monkeys on your way up. The beautiful viewpoints along the way also make the hike worth it. 

Visit Wat Ek Phnom with our Locals Expert