Killing Fields – Cambodia -a chilling experience

Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – Cambodia

Killing-Fields-Memorial-Pavilion- Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Killing-Fields-Memorial-Pavilion- Choeung Ek, Cambodia

At the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek the bodies of seventeen thousand people were found buried in mass graves. These people came from the Tuol  Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. The Cambodian people came from all walks of life and all ethnic groups. Politicians, doctors, teachers, the elderly, children, all killed needlessly  by the Khmer Rouge at Tuol Sleng, or at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

KillingFields 8000 Skulls  are a constant reminder of the atrocities at Choueng EK

A young tourist listens intently to the audio tour of  The Killing Fields, Cambodia

Mass graves found at the Killing Fields

There have been 129 communal graves found, of which 49 have been left untouched at the Killing Fields.  There are signs close to the grave sites indicating the number of people buried there. There are signs to show where particular atrocities occurred.

Killing fields Mass grave at Choeung Ek

Killing Fields, Cambodia- Mass grave at Choeung Ek

Memorial Pavilion of Choeung Ek – Killing Fields

A Memorial Pavilion erected in 1988, is in memory of  the people found at Choeung Ek. The glass panels of the Choeung Ek Memorial Pavilion reveals some 8,000 skulls arranged according to age and sex, a grim reminder of the horrors perpetuated by this regime. The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is the most well-known of over 300 killing fields throughout Cambodia. Can you believe that? Over 300 killing fields. The blood runs cold when you think of the torture and horrific accounts of how these people died, and how many people died. All those innocent people, how they must have suffered.

It is believed there were over 1.3 million victims of the Pol Pot regime.  During this black period under the Khmer Rouge policies, thousands more people died from starvation and disease. Estimates bring the number of deaths to between 1.7 and 2.5 million people out of a total population of 8 million. The Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979 when communist Vietnam invaded Cambodia.

Killing Fields – Museum – Cambodia

In this complex there is a Museum which offers background information on the founders of the Khmer Rouge and main players in these atrocities, as well as  information on the lives of many of the victims buried at the Killing Fields.

Killing-Fields-Museum at The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Killing-Fields, Cambodia- Museum at The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Visit Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields – a must

To visit the Tuol  Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek  is a very chilling and heart-wrenching experience,  one I will never forget. I came away very disturbed by what I had seen and learned, even more so now with what I have since read about this holocaust.  It makes one so sad for the people of Cambodia. It makes me so grateful to live in a democratic country like Australia.

Sometimes one feels compelled to follow-up on what one has seen. The movie “The Killing Fields” is not for the faint hearted, however it is a powerful and thought-provoking film, and like a visit to the Killing Fields in Cambodia, is a must see.

General information:

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are 15km south-west of Phnom Penh.

Entrance Fee:  $5 Adults $3 Children

Open everyday 8am – 5pm

Audio tours are  available at the Center.

There is no public transport.  Most hotels, guesthouses or hostels will arrange transport.

Private transport by motor car, tuk tuk, taxi, or bus  is available.

The Memorial is about 20-40 minute drive from the center of Phnom Penh.

Half day group tours from Phnom Penh are reasonable priced.

Next – an Evening Cruise on the  Mekong River

 


 

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Comments

  1. That is just horrible and sad. When I traveled through Cambodia recently it was very clear that the country had been set back decades from the previous regime. It may take them a long time to get back to where they would have been without the horrible oppression.

    • Cambodia has come a long way since the Khmer Rouge atrocities of the 70’s. Phnom Penh is now a very attractive vibrant city with a wonderful cultural heritage to offer. I think the country in general is moving forward in a very positive direction. Thanks for your comment.

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