“To keep you is no gain, to lose you is no loss.” – Khmer Rouge
I would really encourage anyone who visits Phnom Pehn to go to the Killing Fields also known as Choeung Ek. It’s about 17 km south of Phnom Penh and is one of the known sites where the Khmer Rouge regime executed over one million people between 1975 and 1979. This place once was found to have mass graves containing 8,895 bodies.
I was surprised with how little I knew of this. But it was by far the most educational tour I’ve ever been on, you do the tour alone, follow the route and you get a headset which makes it easy to take in the information in your own time and at your own pace. You also options to hear personal stories of survivors – a lot of time and effort has gone into bringing this place together to educate visitors.
During the time of Kumer Regime tihe attempted to cleanse the count of Cambodians to restore ‘The old people’ which was mainly workers and farmers for a sf sufficient society. So at this time people were forced out of their homes, separated from families and told to go back to their hometowns but during the process many were arrested and were either made to work or sent to prison accused of being a political enemy. Many died of starvation during the process. The main targets were educated people like teachers docs city workers, those who spoke a foreign language. All killed by own people.
Trucks came to the killing fields in Phnom Pehn often in trucks of 300. These people were blind folded, tortured, beaten and hacked to death with whatever was available like sharp plants and tools because bullets were expensive. The bodies were then thrown into mass graves where the bodies piled up.
“Better to kill an innocent by mistake then to spare an enemy by mistake.” – a line used during the reign of the Khmer Rouge
The hardest part was hearing about the women, children and babies killed. Why did they kill kids? So they didn’t grow up and seek revenge. There’s so much more I could say… but it’s truly horrific. What makes it worse is that it was only less than 50 years ago.
There are other killing Fields around Cambodia, as mentioned I also went to one in Siem Reap but it was very small. The most interesting part was the painting exhibition which displays about 25 paintings of one mans survival… it’s very hard hitting. He’s still alive today but still suffers the memory.
Many of the dead were prisonwrs of the Tuol Sleng detention center.
Another place you can see in Phnom Pehn which we visited. I don’t think it’s needed as The Killing Fields gives all the information but it is interesting to see and look around. Definitely felt slighted haunted and there are still some blood stains in cells.
For any fellow travellers going…A tuk tuk for the day only cost us $15 for both sites and back to the hotel. Killing Fields takes about 2/3 hours if you listen to everything and watch the video after. The Prison takes just over an hour.