Shortly after my morning cooking class today I headed off on a moto to see Phnom Sampeu (Sahm-Bpoh). Phnom Sampeu is a temple on a hilltop 12kms from Battambang with killer views of the endless flat paddy field landscape as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately the Khmer Rouge also thought it was a killer place, albeit in a much more tragic manner as they used to drop people into the caves hoping they’d die on impact to save a bullet (but they hardly ever did), or starve them there. There are remnants of skulls and bones which is tragic and reminded me of my interesting but gruesome trips to Auschwitz. This trip is also detailed in my Adventure Cambodia book. More of this to come in Phnom Penh I guess.
I managed to get clear views of the hill by Pailin on the Thai border, although the picture below is following the main road back to Battambang.
I also got chased down the steps by a Long Tailed Macaque Monkey. Almost four months in Borneo and the closest I got to Macaques were across the river, here I could touch out and reach them (also some some near Angkor Wat).
A Macaque scratching his nuts. Or something. :
Rural Cambodia starts within kilometres of town as you immediately hit dirt roads that form the main highways – yet again I was wishing I was riding a Honda Baja myself. Again, everyone was super friendly, waving at you before you even caught sight of them, kids shouting hello and goodbye. I could have spent all day stopping to take photos.
On the way we managed to catch a local cock fight where the winner got the share of $8 bet by the locals. We left before it even came close to a winner which is probably quite as well as apparently they cut the head and suck the blood. This one wasn’t as viscious as I’ve heard about though as they sometimes have razors attached to the cock’s feet.
I made a young girl cry again though. There was a killer picture of a girl holding up her younger sister, it was ok for me to take a picture, but as soon as I got closer with my camera the younger one balled her eyes out, and I forgot my balloon trick. They’re not used to seeing many (if any) foreigners here.
We then headed to the bamboo train on an extremely twisty railtrack, and caught a superb sunset over the lush green paddy fields while being taken back 12km to Battambang
I was a bit frustrated with the camera here as I know I couldn’t do the picture justice. I now know why it takes over 11 hours to get to Phnom Penh on the train, and similar from Phnom Penh (which takes 4 hours on the bus). Locals utilise the track with makeshift ‘carriages’ that can be disassembled within a minute when you approach an oncoming carriage.
I’ve booked my bus to Phnom Penh in the morning, so it’s time for a new destination.