Phnom Sampeau – a hilltop temple on the road to Pailin, Battambang – is one of the main locations of Battambang’s killing fields, with a large cave where victims were thrown either after being bludgeoned or having their throats cut, or simply to their death.
You many see the children, some of whom speak very good English, hang around the base of the temple and will walk up with you and act as your guides. They will expect some money in return for showing you around. According to our guides, there was one cave for women, one for men and one for children, though other sources differ in this regard. There are two ways to the summit, one by stairs, the other by a sweeping trail with a far easier incline that runs around the hillock to the summit.
Phnom Sampeau is best visited in early morning or late afternoon when the light and the spectacular views are at their best. We’ve encountered some motodops who have expressed an unwillingness to drive out to Phnom Sampeau, claiming that it is a bad place that tourists shouldn’t see. The road out is partially sealed. Ask your motodop to take the main road out, but come back via one of the many back dirt routes that meander through the paddy. In the late afternoon light, it is beautiful.