Perhaps nowhere in the world can make tourists more heartbroken and frightened than Choeung Ek – the Killing Fields in Cambodia.
General information about the Killing Fields in Cambodia
Located 14.5 kilometers from the capital Phnom Penh and just taking 30 minutes by car, Choeung Ek killing fields is one of the must-see destinations that attracts the largest number of tourists in Cambodia. This place brings visitors most realistic picture about what happened in Cambodia under the rule of Pol Pot.
At first, Choeung Ek killing fields was simply an orchard. But then, it was Pol Pot who turned this site into the witness to the bloody massacre of Cambodians. Nowadays, although this place becomes a tourist destination in Cambodia, almost all the people that enter the killing fields feel suffocated when witnessing countless collective burial sites. Some of them are nameless and many others bring the atmosphere of death.
According to statistics, in Choeung Ek, there were over 20,000 people killed by the Khmer Rouge. From Cambodia liberation day until now, only 8985 bodies have been found out. It is sure that the names of tombs such as “Grave of 100 infants and mothers,” “Mass grave of 450 victims”, “Grave of the 166 dead bodies without heads,” and “Grave of 87 people without hands and feet”, make everyone felt in great torment.
The description of the Killing Fields in Cambodia
Besides, the instruments of torture and pieces of music that Pol Pot turned on to drown the cries and the screams of victims was revived in the ruins to make tourists have a more realistic view of the genocide.
Just covering an area of a soccer field, Choeng Ek contains quite a few collective graves. Tourists need to have light steps because beneath the land may be dead bodies. According to tour guides, in the rainy season, white bone fragments are still washed out and exposed.
At the center of the killing fields is a memorial to unfortunate victims. Inside the memorial, there are approximately 8,000 skulls, many of which preserve traces of cruel torture with the instruments like knife, axe and log. This savage method is applied aimed at avoiding the waste of ammunition. Children were killed in a brutal and inhumane way that they were beaten on the tree trunk to death.
In the journey of discovery of the Khmer Rouge’s crimes, visitors can not ignore Tuol Sleng prison. Before the beginning of the Pol Pot regime, Tuol Sleng had been a high school, but then it became a torture camp, a prison and an execution center. Seen from outside, Tuol Sleng was not different from any other schools in the world. However, inside the school is packed with weapons of torture, skulls, blood stains and the image of thousands of killed people.
The Killing Fields in Cambodia today
Today, the Tuol Sleng is the museum that shows crimes of the Khmer Rouge. At the entrance of the museum is the sign of “No Smile” that is aimed at asking visitors to maintain the great compassion for the killed innocent Cambodians.
In the annals of the horrors during the 20th century, Cambodia was ranked in the top. The preservation of the images of the painful past help to remind next Cambodian generations of the dark period of the nation. In addition, nowadays, the vestige of the past becomes a historical site in Cambodia that draws a lot of travelers from different areas.