It was our second day in Battambang and our driver K was taking us to two temples on top of mountains: Phnomh Sampeau and Phnomh Banan.
We read that Phnomh Banan had over 300 stairs to climb, so when we arrived at our first temple and were given the option to take a motorbike to the top or the stairs, we assumed it was Phnomh Banan. It was a tough climb up, as the stairs were slick from rain, but we made it. There were no other tourists at the temple yet and the serenity was a breath of fresh air compared to Angkor Wat. There was a monk reading inside the temple and a few locals lighting incense in front of Buddha statues outside. After noting some of the details of the temple, we soon realized that we were not at Phnomh Banan like we thought, but at Phnomh Sampeau. More stairs were in our future but it was time to find the killing caves described in the book. We ended up walking down loads of stairs for one cave, then back up. We were still searching for another cave guarded by a lying Buddha but couldn’t find it. We headed back down the stairs towards the starting point but found another path, and before we knew it, we were climbing stairs again.
We ended up going down another set of stairs and back up those, before heading down the mountain on the other side. We were so sore and tired at this point. My friend and I must have climbed 1000 stairs at Phnomh Sampeau. We met back up with our driver, took a rest and had a drink. We were covered in sweat and still had another temple to go.
K took us to Phnomh Banan next and the 360 stairs were waiting for our tired legs when we arrived. This time, there was no option of taking a motorbike up to the temple so we took it one step at a time.
I’m not sure I’ve ever climbed so many stairs in one day in my entire life, but after all was said and done, it was worthwhile. The temples were pretty and the views were great. After a day like this, I’m confident that the Buns of Steel video is a waste of time. I’ve never actually seen it but climbing a bunch of stairs in Battambang should do the trick.