The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek Description:
The Khmer Rouge was a communist regime that that came to power in 1975 after the Cambodian Civil War. Over the course of four years, the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot systematically imprisoned, tortured, and executed an estimated 1 to 3 million Cambodian citizens.
Those connected to the former French colonial rule in Cambodia where the first to be imprisoned at sites like S-21, now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. As Pol Pot’s reign continued, the educated and skilled were targeted as part of the Khmer Rouge’s attempts to return Cambodia to a purely agrarian society. As the prisons swelled, the Khmer Rouge began transporting prisoners to sites across the country for mass executions. The extermination camp of Choeung Ek became known as the Killing Fields after Pol Pot’s fall from power, and is believed to be the largest concentration of mass graves from that bloody era.
Some 17,000 people, many of them women and children, were executed at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek between 1975 and 1978. Most of them were beaten to death with blunt objects to conserve ammunition. In the 1980s, the remains of almost 9,000 people were exhumed, but slightly less than half of the 129 mass graves were left uncovered but intact. Visitors to this genocide memorial can stroll through the former orchard where the grounds are punctuated with shallow pits filled with bones while listening to audio recordings from the few survivors, and a handful of guards that managed to leave the execution camp alive.
A Buddhist shrine was erected at the center of the memorial in the late ‘80s. The skulls of 8,000 victims, arranged by relative age, are encased in glass panels as a reminder of Cambodia’s conflict ridden recent past.
Best Time to Visit The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek:
Cambodia’s weather is the most temperate during the dry season that runs between December and May. The monsoon season begins in June, and is marked by high temperatures that permeate the country through November. Short bursts of powerful rains are common in the mornings and afternoon during this period, which provides cooling relief, and resuscitates the country’s plant life.
How to get to The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek:
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is located just a few miles south of Phnom Penh. Guests on our luxury tours of Cambodia can reach the memorial grounds via our private vehicle services while staying in the city.
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek Highlights:
The Cambodian government encourages tourists to visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. It provides visitors with a necessary look into the recent history that has shaped Cambodia.
Western-style clothing choices are fine when visiting the memorial, but dressing modestly is advised as a sign of respect for the dead.