Learning About Cambodia's Terrible Past
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 11 of 43 › view all entries
March 5th, 2008 – by: worldcitizen
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was the first place we visited. The site used to be a high school and it was turned into a secret prison during Pol Pot's regime and referred to as "S-21". Many parts of the site have been left more or less the way they were in the 1970s. The somber atmosphere will probably always linger there no matter how many years pass.
There is a room full of hundreds of pictures of people who were members of the Khmer Rouge and victims of the Khmer Rouge. A sign has been translated in to English and French to show you the rules the prisoners had to follow. The building where prisoners were held is surrounded by barbed wire which was put there to prevent them from committing suicide. They put the prisoners into tiny individual cells to prevent them from communicating with each other.
We split up to see everything at our own pace and walking around by myself was chilling. As I exited Tuol Sleng, beggars ran up to me and I gasped. The first one who came up to me had a badly burned and disfigured face and the others were missing limbs. I didn't know what to do so I got back on the bus completely dejected.
The Killing Fields
At the Killing Fields we first went into the stupa where there are skulls and clothing of 8,000 victims of the Khmer Rouge. Around the site, it goes step by step through what people went through when they were brought there.
Wat Phnom, the Grand Palace and the Russian Market
We passed through Wat Phnom either before or after we headed to lunch. This is an interesting temple on a hill and there are a lot of fiesty monkeys there. People feed them and I saw one man go to great lengths to try to give some food to a monkey in a tree.
After Wat Phnom and lunch at Romdeng, we split up. Some headed to a museum and the rest of us headed to the Grand Palace. It was nice enough, but to be honest, after the grandeur of Bangkok's Grand Palace it was hard to be impressed by it. We tuk tuked over to the Russian Market from there. It's a pretty big market with a lot of stuff being sold but for me as a scarf fanatic, all of the silk scarves were the main attraction. I barely bought anything there because I felt like it was too early in my trip. Carrying all of your stuff on your back does wonders to curb shopping habits. Later on we met up with some others in our group and had dinner at Friends.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Phnom Penh Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
"A non-profit restaurant run by former street youths in training"This is the most popular and I think the original of all the non-profit restaurants in Phnom Penh. We tried to go there for lunch, but it was already … read entire review