Bat Cave, Wat Sampeau & Killing Caves

All three of these sites are located next to each other around 12km from town, and should be part of any Battambang visit. You can do all three in an afternoon, and even be back in time for the 7pm start of the Phare Ponleu Selpak circus. Bat Caves If you're short on time and can only squeeze in one of the three, we'd suggest this one. In the side of the limestone cliff is a large cave filled with bats. At dusk every evening (around 6pm), you start to hear the squeaks of the bats as they come to the entrance. Everybody waits with anticipation before a river of bats starts to fly out of the cave. Locals say over 1 million bats come out of the cave and it's a believable figure! It's quite mesmerizing and like a Mexican wave, it has to be seen in motion to get the full effect. The bats keep coming out of the cave in mass for around 30 mins. Most people stand below the cliffs to see the bats fly out overhead. Remember not to stand directly underneath though or you're likely to end up with some bat guano on your head. You can also watch from on the cliff (see below). A restaurant and vendors have drinks and a limited number of seats available at the bottom. Wat Sampeau & Killing Caves On the top of the cliff sits Wat Sampeau, with a spectacular birds-eye view of the city and surrounding area. The Wat built in 1964 has two ornately decorated stupas, one painted completely gold. Around the summit you will see monkeys (macaques) nibbling on any food they can find. It's a good idea not to have any food on you to avoid incident! A staircase leads down to a deep canyon through an archway to small caves, filled with stalactites and vine covered walls. The two killing caves can be an emotional experience. If you walk the 20 metres or so down to the bottom of the cold eerie caves, you can look up to a hole above you. This is where the bodies of bludgeoned to death Cambodians were thrown in to the cave by the Khmer Rouge. There are a couple of memorials around with some of the bones found maintained by the monks. To get up to mountain you can climb the steep steps to the top or pay $3 each for a lift on a moto (or $2 each if you squeeze two passengers on same bike), as it's too steep for tuk-tuks. In the heat of the day the moto can be a nice option. It's also good if you want to watch the start of the sunset then get a ride back down to see the bats. You can hire an English speaking tuk-tuk driver in town (there are plenty), who will do an afternoon return trip to the killing caves, Wat Sampeau and bats for around $16. Alternatively you could rent a scooter in town for $7 for the day. You could also make it a full day by combining with a trip to Phnom Banan and/or the bamboo train. Address: Off NH57, Battambang

Map of North West Cambodia

North West Cambodia-Map