Day 2 – Killing Fields, Genocide Museum, Russian Market, Royal Palace

Today was our last day in Phnom Penh so we had quite a lot to see. We hired a tuk tuk driver for the day for $30US and made our way to the first stop, the Genocide Center (Killing Fields).

The Genocide Center is about a half hour from our hotel. This tuk tuk ride was amazing as we were able to experience both the city and slum areas. Riding through the city shows slums right next door to million dollar estates, the roads are also extremely busy with lots of pollution. We ended up purchasing a face mask from a pharmacy to help with the pollution from the hundreds of motorbikes and trucks.

The Genocide Center is a must see to gain an understanding into an extremely important part of Cambodian history. It is confronting walking around the mounds where so many people were killed, listening to the audio tour and gaining a greater understanding of the terrible history of this site. As we walked around we noticed a large amount of cloth starting to come to the surface, this was a sign of more mass graves which had not yet surfaced. There was also clothes making their way to the surface along with more bones. A large memorial at the entrance displays a huge amount of human skulls, all of which have been uncovered from the mass grave sites. The cost of entry was around $6US and if you want to learn more about Cambodia’s history and can handle the confronting nature of this site, is well worth the trip. I would also highly recommend the audio tour.

After the Genocide Center we headed back into town to the Genocide Museum. This is a very full on stop which makes you truely understand what happened in the Khmer Rouge regime. The Genocide Museum is the site where the victims of the Killing Fields were held and tortured before being transported to the Killing Fields for execution. The site is an old Highschool which was converted into a prison. Walking around the site shows pictures of staff and victims, weapons used to torture victims and cells used to house the victims in. The balconies to the buildings are encased in barbed wire to prevent suicides and the fences to the site are lined with tin sheets and rows of barbed wire to prevent escape or break ins. Displays show human skulls with fractures and breaks from being hit in the head and other torture devices. Although the history of this site is interesting and gives a further understanding of the Killing Fields, it is extremely confronting and is hard for some people to complete the full tour.

Our tuk tuk driver then took us into the Russian Market. This market was quite big but also quite uninteresting, the prices were very expensive and each stall was extremely similar. Not something I would recommend unless you had some spare time to kill.

The next stop was the Royal Palace. This amazing site is lined with gold everywhere! There is gold on the roof, the light fittings, the fence, the gates… everywhere. The buildings have amazing architecture and the gardens are immaculate with shaped trees and extremely green lawns. Entry cost is about $10US per person and is well worth checking out.

We went out to an amazing restaurant called Khmer Surin for dinner. If you are in Phnom Penh it is worth checking out, the food and atmosphere are amazing at the prices very affordable.

That is our daily wrap up, i’m off to bed so that we can rise early for our 6 hour bus trip through Cambodia to Siem Reap.