Phnom Penh was our first stop off in Cambodia, we only had a couple of days here as we were on a tight schedule so that I could meet up with Charlie later on in Siem Reap.
Our first day wasn’t all too exciting, we found a hostel, dumped our bags and went out for a stroll around Phnom Penh to get our bearings a little bit and try and sort out a trip for the next day to get us to The Killing Fields and the S21 prison. We walked into the first ‘tour agent’ we could find and booked a full day tour with pick up and drop off for about £7($15) for the next day.
We got up bright and early the next day and walked to the tour agents as that was where our pick up was arranged. A coach picked us up, and I spent the next couple of hours chatting to an American guy that was on a short break from his job working on a mine in Saudi Arabia (turned out he had been to an event about 1 mile away from my house back in the UK – coincidence) This made the journey fly-by and in what seemed like no time we were there.
The Killing Fields is a fascinating and devastating place all in one. It is a number of fields where around 2 million people were killed and buried under the Khmer Rouge regime, a stance made by the communist party at the time, led by a man called Pol Potts to murder anyone in Cambodia that they thought had any connection with the previous government or any foreign government at the time.
When we arrived we opted for the audio tour which I would highly recommend as it provides so much detail about what happened. At times I kind of wish I hadn’t heard some of the things I did but I learnt a lot more from the audio guide than I would have if I’d just plodded around without it. Our guided tour around the killing fields took a couple of hours and after that we went to the S21 prison.
The S21 prison, now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a former prison used by the communist party at the time to imprison people again under the Khemer Rouge Regime. An estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned here in total with around 1,000-1,500 people at one time. More so than other prisons I have visited it had a very eerie feeling whilst walking around, seeing all the cells in which people were kept and the remaining blood stains on the floor sent a chill right down my spine!
If I’d have had more time in Phnom Penh I would have liked to visit The Royal Palace and The National Museum but for me, trying to get to Siem Reap at the same time as Charlie was more important meaning we only had 2 days here.
Accommodation – Budget hostel from £2 ($3) and hotels from £5($8)
Food – meals from around £3 ($5)
Getting around – Easy enough to walk around but tuk tuks are cheap enough
Things To Do
The Killing Fields – Admission is around £4 ($6) for the audio tour (highly recommended)
S21 prison – Admission £1 ($2)
National Museum – Admission £3 ($5)
Royal palace – Admission £4 ($6)
Silver pagoda – Included with entrance to royal palace