Just situated 11 km north of Battambang, Wat Ek Phnom is atmospheric ruins dated back to early 11th century, exactly in AD 1027. The temple was built during the Bayon periodin the reign of king Suryavarman I. The road runs along lovely small rivers flanked by trees and small villages making it a generally nice area. Approaching Wat Ek Phnom, you suddenly encounter a giant Buddha statue in the Wat, which is certainly picture-worthy. The grounds of the Wat also have an Angkorian era temple which is in relatively good shape and with some interesting carvings.
Wat Ek Phnom is just 11km away from Battambang’s ferry landing by the shortest route and 21km if you pass through the Pepsi plant and PheamEk. Both makes for a nice 32km circuit. On the way, tourists can call on the old disused Pepsi factory evacuated by the Khmer Rouge, and also a local rice paper firm, where rice sheets are prepared to be used for spring rolls. When arriving at Wat Ek Phnom, visitors will see an elaborate modern pagoda sits in front of the older ruin, on which the elements of time have taken their toll, yet the main towers still stand strong in this atmospheric site. Nearby WatEk Phnom temple is a huge white statue of a sitting Buddha guarded by peacock trees.
Wat Ek Phnom is within easy reach of 10km of River Road ( Road 1) ( the road north of the Cobra Bridge snakes around a bit, but goes back to the river) as well. When approaching the temple, visitors will pass over a small concrete bridge. The road beyond will veer off to the right, but the modern temple is there to the left. When visitors enter the new temple grounds then the ruins will be located to the rear.
Wat Ek Phnom temple by any means present one of the most attractive destinations in Battambang, especially for those show an enthusiasm for temple. It is surrounded by the remains of a laterite wall and an ancient baray (reservoir). War Ek Phnom is easy to see a lintel displaying the Churning of the Ocean of Mile, above the eastern portal to the central temple. There are 18 Banyan trees around the temple. Interestingly, there are still some sitting Buddha images intact higher up on the walls. On the inside is a carving of a tug – of – war with participants tugging away on a serpent. The participants on the left have lost their heads to looters (they lost face), with guys on the right still having their heads intact whereas outside the temple to the south, there was a moat that is now a pond.
This place is now still a very well – known picnic site and pilgrimage destination for Khmers, especially at festival times and for those hoping to conceive. It’ s easy to find that the newly constructed working temple right in front of the ruins together with the temple ruins is the center of festivities for the nearby residents. People will dress up and celebrate between the old and the new temples then climb all around the ruins with their families.
Because of the unique architecture and tranquil setting, visiting WatEk Phnom seems to be inevitable for anyone visiting Battambang area. Visitors will not only understand about the outstanding style of architecture but experience the feeling of exploring a forgotten temple.