- William Least Heat Moon
The Killing Fields are one of the Phnom Penh attractions which is located just outside the city, and which is an extremely sobering insight into the brutal and harrowing reign of terror inflicted by the Khmer Rouge during their power over the country. Actually, this is the name given to one 'killing field' which is accessible to tourists, made recognisable worldwide by the film of the same name, however it's actual name is Choeung Ek. The reality is that there were many killing fields found all over the country, places where people were taken to be executed or the bodies of perished victims deposited. Before the regime, Choeung Ek was an orchard and Chinese cemetary before the Khmer Rouge took over the site and executed over 17,000 Khmers over a 4 year period.
Nowadays people can take a tour of the site in an effort to try to comprehend the events that took place here. A stupa has been constructed in which are housed over 5,000 skulls of many of the victims, many of which were given by friends or family members. Mass graves and pits from which bodies were exhumed still exist today, while bones of victims still litter the site in certain places.
ABOUTAsia advise caution before visiting this site as it may be disturbing for young children or anyone who may be easily shocked.
The entrance fee for the site at Choeung Ek is US2. Children under 12 go free.
We'd recommend allowing an hour and a half to complete a tour of the site - it is open from 8am - 5pm..
Nearby is Tuol Sleng and back in the center of town are the Royal Palace, the National Market, the Russian Museum or Wat Phnom for example.
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