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Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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Skulls at The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia)

Last time i was in Phnom Penh was a whistle stop tour, but this time i decided to spend a little longer and booked a guesthouse by the peaceful, if not touristy, Boeng Kak Lake. Our first day was predominantly taken up organising a Laos visa, although we did have time to visit Wat Phnom and the Independence Monument, both located within city roundabouts. We spent the night time in hammocks by the lake, sipping 50 cent (25p) beers.

The following day we took a day trip around the most important sites in the area. First stop was the S21 Concentration Camp/Tuol Sleng Museum, used by the Khmer Rouge to exterminate all intellects and anybody who could be deemed as a challenge to Khmer power.

The Silver Pagoda
It used to be a school, but now the buildings housed small exhibits and photographs of the atroscities that occured there. It was a chilling insight and after watching an hour long video there, it gave us a good understanding, from which to visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. This complex houses the remains of 17,000 dead people within 129 mass graves, most of whom had been bludgeoned to death after serving time in S21. A large central monument holds many skulls, whilst there were bits of bone and clothing scattered around the site. There were blunt signs listing what each area was renowned for i.e. 'pit with remains of 80 children without heads'. It was a sad experience and must still be fresh in many Cambodians memories.

In the afternoon we briefly stopped at the Russian Market before heading to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
The Angkor ruins of Tonle Bati
The architecture and decorations were really impressive and ornate and we spent an hour walking through the buildings in the searing heat. After this, we had a quick look around the National Museum, although this was not overly impressing in my opinion, especially when you consider the treasures that lay around Cambodia from the Angkor period.

The following day we spent lounging around the lake and the city doing pretty much nothing, except from survive the blistering heat! The following day we took another day trip, this time going out to some Angkor ruins at Tonle Bati. There was a nice temple and lake to walk around and we only bumped into 2 other Westerners, which made for a decent day out. We spent our last night doing the same as the previous 4, sitting on the lake, enjoying the breeze, playing pool and chilling in the hammocks. It turned out a much more relaxed time than i had spent last time and i was glad to have spent a few extra days soaking up the flavour of the city.

Deats says:
I actually went 3 years ago, but i wanted Julia to see it, kind of puts life in perspective
Posted on: Mar 07, 2007
Chelsea says:
hey, wow, you made it to the Killing Fields. When I was here I went to Tuol Sleng and that was enough for me... I was too unnerved even to take photographs, so well done!
Posted on: Mar 06, 2007
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Skulls at The Killing Fields of Ch…
Skulls at The Killing Fields of C…
The Silver Pagoda
The Silver Pagoda
The Angkor ruins of Tonle Bati
The Angkor ruins of Tonle Bati
Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom
Independence Monument
Independence Monument
Independence Monument
Independence Monument
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
Tuol Sleng - S21 Concentration Camp
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
A birdtable of bones at The Killin…
A birdtable of bones at The Killi…
A building at the Royal Palace
A building at the Royal Palace
A building at the Royal Palace
A building at the Royal Palace
A building at the Royal Palace
A building at the Royal Palace
The National Museum
The National Museum
Mosque by the lake
Mosque by the lake
Tonle Bati
Tonle Bati
Julia at Tonle Bati
Julia at Tonle Bati
Carving at Tonle Bati
Carving at Tonle Bati
Tonle Bati
Tonle Bati
The lake at Tonle Bati
The lake at Tonle Bati
Psar Thmei - The Central Market
Psar Thmei - The Central Market
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk