When in Cambodia: Must-visit Museums in Phnom Penh

During our stay in Phnom Penh, we visited two historical places in Khmer history. Regardless of how depressing these places are, our gut feel brought us there. The experience gave us a deeper understanding of Cambodia and made the trip more valuable.  

1. Choeung Ek Genocidal Museum

Better known as “The Killing Fields,” this place is a mass grave of those who died under the Khmer Rouge, a communist party in Cambodia during the 70s. During these years, under the leadership of Pol Pot, thousands of people were accused of going against the communist party and got killed brutally.
We picked the audio tour instead of getting a private tour guide. For one, it’s a unique yet cheap way of tour and also, we were able to go at our own pace. We went from one station to another as we played the recording that was divided into all stations. The English recording was very clear (and very touching too). It was rich in information that helped us a lot in understanding the items displayed in every station.


The place is very peaceful. It’s surrounded by trees and there's a small lake that brought some cool breeze despite going on this tour at midday.

Right at the middle is a memorial where lies a Buddhist stupa. This stupa contains skulls of some of the victims. It serves as the last stop of the tour. You may enter the area but you have to remove your shoes.

The Killing Fields is located at Roluos Village Sangkat Cheung Aek. From the Sisowath Quay, we took a tuktuk ride (all tuktuk drivers know The Killing Fields since it’s a very popular tourist site) that took an hour because of traffic. The place is quite away from the center of Phnom Penh but it was really worth visiting it.

The entrance fee costs 3 USD and the audio tour costs 3 USD.

2. Tuol Sleng

This site is somehow related to The Killing Fields. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a former high school that served as a prison by the Khmer Rouge. The prison was called Security Prison 21 (S-21) where prisoners were said to be held for a 2-3 months undergoing different inhumane tortures before getting killed. Like those in Choeung Ek Genocidal Museum, the victims were those who went against Khmer Rouge.



We were able to see different torturing devices used (that I opted not to take pictures because they were just too morbid). It also showed how classrooms turned into torture chambers. Honestly, the entire place was very creepy and touching at the same time.

Entrance fee is 3 USD. It’s open from 7am to 5:30pm daily.




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