Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Killing Fields)

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Tags : Cemetery

Timings : 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Time Required : 2 to 3 hours

Entry Fee : 6 USD

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Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Killing Fields), Phnom Penh Overview

Choeung Ek Genocidal centre is located outside the city of Phnom Penh. Infamously known as the Killing Fields, this is a mass grave site built to commemorate the death of thousands of civilians during the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1978. Tourists can get to know the entire dark history of this period on tours where they can see thousands of skulls and bones.

It is one of the most disturbing places to visit in Phnom Penh that showcases the mass murders of people who were held as prisoners in S-21 prison.

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Killing Fields History & Significance

Choeung Ek Genocidal centre or the Killing fields was earlier the location for the mass execution of prisoners during the Khmer Rouge which lasted for three years. The victims, mostly innocent civilians, consisting of over 17,000 people including men, women and children were imprisoned and tortured at the secret S-21 prison(now Tuol Sleng Museum) after accusing them of the crimes they didn't commit. After enduring brutal times, these people were terminated on a mass scale where there were hit in the skull, and their throats slit. The atrocity went on for three years, where the bodies were buried together. There were killing fields constructed all over the country, and Cheung Ek located close to the capital was the largest.

In 1980, the site was discovered when over 8000 skulls were recovered from the fields. Extensive research led to more findings of the horrors committed by the Khmer Rouge, which is considered to be one of the notorious killings in human history. In 1988, a stupa was erected at this site, which houses skulls of about 10000 people along with human bones and bits of clothes. Visitors get to witness the genocidal terror when they visit over 100 graves.

Killing fields tips

  • Since it is a disturbing place of interest, it is better to avoid visiting the killing fields if you are traveling with young children or those sensitive to violence and crime.
  • It is expected to dress appropriately and respect the graves, and no inappropriate photography is allowed.
  • There are not many options for refreshment near the centre. So carry enough food and water when you plan your trip.

How To Reach Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Killing Fields)

Located about 15 km, it takes about 1 hour to reach Cheung Ek from the city centre of Phnom Penh. You can hire a motorbike for about 10 USD per day to enter. You can get there by renting a Tuk-Tuk for about 15 USD for a round trip which can be shared and includes waiting charges.

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