As we have traveled around the world we have visited many historical sites. Some of these sites really make you take a step back and think, others change the way we see the world. Visiting the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh was one of those days that really made us think.
Located 15km outside Phnom Penh, no words can express the emotions you will feel when discovering Cambodia’s dark past. Our visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh provided us with a devastating insight into how Cambodia was torn apart by war, political instability and mass genocide.
We were not well informed about Cambodia’s history before travelling there. We did watch ‘First They Killed My Father’ directed by Angelina Jolie. This film gave us some insight into the history and is available on Netflix.
Despite being a difficult sight to visit we highly recommend a trip to Choeung Ek when visiting Phnom Penh.
Admission: US $6 (this includes an audio guide available in many languages)
Getting there: The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are situated 15km south of Phonm Penh city and the journey takes around 40 minutes by tuk tuk. You can catch a tuktuk in Phnom Penh to take you out and your driver will even wait for you and take you back to the city. Aprox. cost for a tuktuk is $10 – $15 USD depending on how you haggle. We paid $10USD for a return trip for two people.
Opening hours: The sight is open daily from 7:30am to 5.30pm
The Tour: The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is now a memorial sight that is dedicated to the thousands of victims who were brutally murdered here.
Visitors walk around in silence listening the the detailed description on the audio guide of the horrors that occurred here. The atmosphere is solemn. Fragments of bones and clothing are visible in the cordoned off mass graves. The audio guide gives a detailed description of the history of the Khmer Rouge, outlines the treatment of the victims and gives you the opportunity to listen to stories from survivors.
The tour ends at the Buddhist Stupa. This memorial was erected in memory of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. Inside this memorial thousands of skulls on display with visible signs of trauma and are arranged in order of age and gender.
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is now a peaceful and respectful memorial sight to those who suffered. This sight is one of the saddest sights we have visited on our travels. Despite being a difficult and upsetting historical location we highly recommend that anyone visiting Phnom Penh pay it a visit.
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