Located 12 kilometres out of Battambang city is Phnom Sampeau, a mountain with numerous caves standing tall over the city and nearby counties. However, this mountain holds a tragic past. During the Khmer Rouge, the soldiers of Pol Pot marched doctors, teachers, men, women and children to the mountain, tortured them, killed them, and dumped their bodies in the darkness of caves below. Men had their own cave, and women and children shared another.
The bodies were left to rot until a few years later, after it was rediscovered, their bones were collected, stacked up in shrines and the caves have been converted to a Buddhist temple. When YPT guide Rowan visited the caves, he was led by children willing to show him where lots of people died as they sang and skipped towards the cave. The locals say joy is the best way to move on from the tragedy.
Sharing the mountain on the other lower side is a cave that holds over 6.5 million Asian Wrinkle Lipped bats. The locals treasure these bats as they fly over 50km away and eat almost two times their weight of insects and locusts that destroy local village crops. The bats wake up around 5:30 pm every day and scatter out of the cave in an incredible trail.
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