Visiting Killing Field - a Dark Tourism Attraction in Cambodia

Perhaps nowhere in the world can make tourists at the same time heart-broken, sympathized and scared as Choeung Ek Killing Fields. Far about 14.5 km from Phnom Penh capital, and taking only 30 minutes by car, Choeung Ek killing fields are destination attracting tourists most in Cambodia. This place brings visitors the most realistic and anguished view about the awful things happened in Cambodia under the reign of Pol Pot.

the Killing Field with mass graves
The Killing Fields with mass graves
 
Choeung Ek originally used to be an orchard but then became place for Pol Pot massacre mass of Cambodians. Although it became tourism place, whoever going deeply into the killing fields also has oppressive and shivering feeling when seeing countless mass graves by your own eyes, some of them are nameless but some are also named fully and enough death information. 
 
The imagine for the historical Pol Pt genocide
The imagine for the historical Pol Pt genocide
 
According to statistics, only in Choeung Ek, there were over 20,000 people killed by Khmer Rouge. From Cambodia liberation day (1979) till now, just 8,985 corpses have been found. Everyone will feel deep grief if you read tomb names such as "Tomb of 100 infants and their own mothers," "Having most corpses tomb with 450 dead bodies", "Tomb of 166 corpses having no heads," "Tomb of 87 corpses having no hands or legs". Besides, a piece of music that Pol Pot used to drown the cries of victims and several tools for torture are recreated here to help tourists have a more realistic view of the genocide.

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the bed was used to torture victims
The bed was used to torture victims.
 
the tooth of victims are scattered on the ground
The tooth of victims are scattered on the ground

Only located in an area equal to a football ground but there are many mass graves were found in Choeng Ek. Tourists who visit the field often walk with light steps because it maybe still have bodies of unfortunate victims under that land. According to the tour guide, in rainy season, fragments of white bone are still washed and leaked out of soils.
 
Monuments for the unfortunate victims
Monument for the unfortunate victims

the tree that Pol Pot army used to kill Khmer children
The tree that Pol Pot army used to kill Khmer children
 
At the field center, there is a monument to commemorate the ill-fated victims, it has approximately 8000 skulls piled up inside, many of them still kept traces of torture by a knife, axe, trunk. This is cruel method that Pol Pot used to save bullet because they didn’t want to waste too much in massacring civilian. For children, the extremely inhuman killing way was beating their bodies into the trunk of this tree until they died.
 
 Lots of savage tortures were applied by Khmer Rouge
A lot of savage tortures were applied by Khmer Rouge 
 
When discovering the crimes of Khmer Rouge, visitors cannot ignore Tuol Sleng prison. Before Pol Pot regime was established, Tuol Sleng used to be a high school, then became a torture camp, a prison and execution place. Looking from outside, Tuol Sleng is as same as any other school in the world, but inside is full of torture tools, skulls, blood and the image of thousands of people killed.
 
Toul Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh
 
Toul Sleng Prison 
Toul Sleng prison
 
Nowadays, Tuol Sleng becomes a museum to exhibit all crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Right at the entrance, the museum hangs the doorplate "No Smile" - "No laughing," to ask visitors to keep the totally anguished attitude to ill-fated victims and the pain that Cambodians were suffered.
 
the death's head is shown in Toul Sleng
The death's head is shown in Toul Sleng
 
In the annals of the most horror events in the 20th century, Cambodia was ranked at high level. Keeping images about a painful past is the way of Cambodians to remind following generations to remember the dark time in the past. That pains is also the way for Cambodia to develop history tourism forms that visitors can rarely refuse.
 
           In the Killing Field, you can hear historical stories from living witnesses who have been tortured under the Khmer Rouge regime. In it, there will be the story of Him Huy, a prison guard talking about how they used to kill women and children. Although the Killing Field is a worth visiting historical landmark, we still want to warn you if you decide to come here because of the terrible obsessions it brings even though it happened only 50 years ago.             

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