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Situated in the heart of Siem Reap, Cambodia, Wat Sampov Pram symbolises the country’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions. This ancient Buddhist temple, dating back to the 12th century, is a hidden gem that often gets overshadowed by the grandeur of the iconic Angkor Wat complex. As you approach the temple grounds, you’ll be greeted by the peace that seems to envelop the entire area. The detailed carvings and ornate details on the temple’s walls and structures are a breathtaking display of artistic mastery, reflecting the skilful hands of ancient Khmer artisans. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Wat Sampov Pram Cambodia holds a deep spiritual significance for the local community.

About Wat Sampov Pram

Beautiful Wat Sampov Pram Cambodia

Image Credit: PsamatheM for Wikimedia Commons

Nestled on the summit of Bokor Mountain in Cambodia, Wat Sampov Pram, also known as the Five Boats Temple, is a charismatic Buddhist pagoda steeped in history and boasting breathtaking views. Constructed by a Cambodian king in the 1920s, the temple served as a spiritual centre within the once-grand French colonial resort of Bokor Hill Station.

Wat Sampov Pram’s name comes from the unique rock formations on the temple grounds. These large, flat rocks resemble a cluster of five sailing boats, adding a distinctive touch to the site. While the Khmer Rouge regime damaged the temple, it has since been restored and remains an active monastery.

The pagoda is considered one of the highest in Cambodia, offering stunning panoramic vistas across the surrounding jungles and coastline. You might even glimpse Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island on a clear day. Visitors come to this place for various reasons – some for its religious significance and a chance to pray for blessings, others for the historical intrigue, and many simply to soak in the spectacular scenery and peaceful atmosphere.

Must Read: Silk Island Phnom Penh

History Of Wat Sampov Pram

Windows at the Wat Sampov Pram

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Perched atop Bokor Mountain in Cambodia lies Wat Sampov Pram, a Buddhist pagoda. The temple’s construction is attributed to King Monivong’s reign, which began in 1924. This era coincided with the development of Bokor Hill Station as a French colonial resort, making Wat Sampov Pram a part of a unique historical tapestry. The name Wat Sampov Pram translates to “Five Boats Pagoda”. This moniker originates from five large, flat rock formations within the temple grounds. Local lore connects these rocks to the myth of Preah Thong and Neang Neak. The story tells of Prince Preah Thong, disfavored by his father, the king, who sets sail on a journey of exploration. The five rock formations are said to represent the departing ships, forever linked to the legend.

Beyond its mythical associations, this place has endured as a place of spiritual significance. Pilgrims and worshippers frequent the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings. Scholars are also drawn to the site’s tranquillity, finding it conducive to meditation and chanting. Though not as ornate as some Cambodian temples, the architectural style possesses a certain majesty, particularly when viewed in the context of the breathtaking mountain vistas.

Legend About Wat Sampov Pram

 Exploring the architecture at Wat Sampov Pram

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A captivating legend surrounds Wat Sampov Pram, the Five Boats Pagoda. While the exact origins of the story remain shrouded in mystery, it adds another layer of intrigue to this beautiful temple. The legend centres on a love story between a prince and a princess from the mystical underwater realm of Thuy Cung. Enchanted by the princess’s beauty and grace, the prince ventured deep into the watery world to be with her. Their love blossomed, but their happiness was threatened. The prince, unable to breathe underwater for extended periods, could only visit briefly.

Yearning to be together forever, the princess devised a daring plan. She used magic to transform five large rocks near the world’s surface into majestic sailboats. These weren’t ordinary boats; they pulsed with magical energy, allowing them to travel between the human world and the underwater kingdom.
Tragically, their happiness wasn’t meant to last. News of their forbidden love reached the ears of the princess’s father, the powerful King of Thuy Cung. Heartbroken, the prince and princess were forced to live out their days separated, forever yearning for each other across the vast distance.

Today, Wat Sampov Pram is a poignant symbol of enduring love and the sacrifices sometimes required. The legend adds a layer of magic and mystery to the temple, making it a captivating destination for its beauty and the folklore woven into its very foundation.

Suggested Read: Ta Nei Temple

Timings, Fees, And Best Time To Visit

Know about the best time to visit this temple in Cambodia

Image Credit: PsamatheM for Wikimedia Commons

Wat Sampov Pram is open to visitors daily from sunrise to sunset. This generally translates to somewhere between 6:00 AM and 5:30 PM, although timings can vary slightly depending on the season. It’s always best to check with your hotel or guesthouse for the most accurate timings during your visit.

It is open to visitors throughout the year. Still, the most favourable time to explore is during the spring season. The average temperature throughout the year hovers around a comfortable 25 degrees. However, the monsoon season, extending from June to October, brings charm. Even though it rains for approximately 2 hours each day during this period, the temple remains accessible. Due to the likelihood of encountering clouds, fog, wind, and rain, it’s advisable to come prepared with a rain jacket and layered clothing to stay warm.

How To Reach

 Know how to reach this temple in Cambodia

Image Credit: Avinash Patel for Wikimedia Commons

It is located in Cambodia’s Preah Monivong Bokor National Park. Below are ways to reach Wat Sampov Pram:
By Air
The nearest major airport is Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH). You can take a taxi or ride-sharing service from the airport to Wat Sampov Pram. The journey takes about 1-1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Alternatively, you can pre-book a private car transfer from the airport to the temple.
By Road
This place is about 20 kilometres south of Phnom Penh city centre. You can take a taxi, tuk-tuk, or ride-sharing service to the temple. The road to Wat Sampov Pram is well-maintained and offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside.

If you are comfortable riding a motorbike, rent one and explore the countryside on your way to the temple. Motorbikes are a popular way to get around Cambodia and offer a great way to see the sights at your own pace. However, it is important to be aware of the traffic conditions in Cambodia and to ride defensively.
By Rail
There is no train station near Wat Sampov Pram. The nearest train station is Phnom Penh Station, but it is not a convenient option for reaching the temple. Cambodia has no well-developed railway system, and trains are not a common travel method.

Further Read: Resorts Near Phnom Penh

Wat Sampov Pram is a hidden gem in Cambodia, offering a peaceful escape from busy cities. Its intricate carvings, serene setting, and deep history attract visitors eager to experience the country’s cultural richness. Book your trip to Cambodia today to explore ancient temples, lively markets, and stunning natural scenery. Experience the hospitality of the Khmer people and make unforgettable memories.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Wat Sampov Pram

Is Wat Sampov Pram a fun place to visit?

Yes, Wat Sampov Pram is worth visiting. This temple on Bokor Mountain in Kampot, Cambodia, provides a tranquil environment and spectacular panoramic vistas of the southwest coast and the Vietnam border. The misty landscapes, awe-inspiring sunsets during the rainy seasons, and the historical importance of the temple offer a unique experience. It’s advisable to visit before 2035, as the government has plans to develop the park for residents and tourists fully.

Why is Wat Sampov Pram called the Five Boats Pagoda

The name “Five Boats Pagoda” is derived from the five large rocks at the pagoda that resemble sailboats facing the sea. According to local folklore, these rocks represent the five boats the Dragon King gave to Prince Preah Thong and his wife.

When was Wat Sampov Pram built?

Wat Sampov Pram was erected during King Monivong’s reign in 1924. The temple, located on the Bokor plateau, has a grand presence. It attracts numerous tourists and scholars annually who come to pray and chant.

What to do while visiting the temple?

While visiting the temple, make sure to offer your respect and prayer to Lord Buddha and seek blessings. Also, do not forget to spend some time at the temple grounds to find a peaceful atmosphere.

Is there anything unique to see inside the Wat Sampov Pram temple complex?

Visitors can enjoy the temple’s scenery, breathe in the fresh air, appreciate the untouched nature, and escape the city’s noise within the temple complex. The five large rocks, believed to be the five boats in local legend, leave a lasting impression on every visitor.

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Category: Cambodia, Places To Visit, Temples

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