Read the first post on Cambodia here, on Phnom Penh City.
Between 1975 and 1979, a genocide was carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot. It was estimated that between 1.5 to 3 million people were killed, which is almost a whole generation of people in Cambodia. Up to 20,000 mass graves, known as Killing Fields, were uncovered throughout Cambodia. We decided to visit one of the Killing Fields, Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – it seemed wrong to list them as popular, but I have to say that one should visit these 2 places to learn about the history of Cambodia and the atrocities inflicted to the people of Cambodia.
(Some of the images below may be a little disturbing, so… be prepared.)
We took a tuk tuk, an auto rickshaw, a few distance away from our hotel and negotiated with him to bring us to these 2 places. I think it costed us about US$15 to US$20 for the day trip. We first head to the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, which is located about 15 kilometres South-West of Phnom Penh. Before we were out of the city, our driver stopped at a convenience store and bought for us and himself some face masks – as the road ahead are mainly dirt roads, with sand and dust kicking up like a storm by the vehicles.
45 minutes later, we arrived at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.
For US$6, the admission included an audio guide. It was an excellent audio tour, perhaps too excellent, as it describes who and how they were killed. It also included recounts by people who survived the Khmer Rouge and a Choeung Ek guard and executioner.
I remembered the place was very quiet… and eerie. It was horrifying, learning what the Khmer Rouge had done to these people – their own people.