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The Killing Fields (Cheung Ek)
The Killing fields are an impressive if not a desperately depressing tour in Phnom Penh. As depressing as it is you should and must visit whilst you are in Phnom Penh if you truly want to understand what Cambodia went through during the Khmer Rouge regime. There is an excellent audio tour that will guide you around the Killing Fields, you are requested to remain silent out of respect during your tour.
Tour prices range from $15-20 depending on the number of people, and will take you to both S21 and the Killing Fields. You get your own audio tour in your own language and there are 18 different stations to stop at and listen to different commentaries.
About The Khmer Rouge
On April 17, 1975, Phnom Penh fell under the control of the Khmer Rouge, the communist guerrilla group led by Pol Pot. They forced all city residents into the countryside and to labor camps. During the three years, eight months, and 20 days of Pol Pot’s rule, Cambodia faced its darkest days, an estimated 2 million Cambodians or 30% of the country’s population died by starvation, torture or execution. Almost every Cambodian family has lost at least one relative during this most gruesome holocaust.
Tuol Svay Pray High School sits on a dusty road on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 1976, the Khmer Rouge renamed the high school S-21 and turned it into a torture, interrogation and execution center. Of the 14,000 people known to have entered, only seven survived. Not only did the Khmer Rouge carefully transcribe the prisoners’ interrogations; they also carefully photographed the vast majority of the inmates and created an astonishing photographic archive. Each of the almost 6,000 S-21 portraits that have been recovered tells a story shock, resignation, confusion, defiance and horror. Although the most gruesome images to come out of Cambodia were those of the mass graves, the most haunting were the portraits taken by the Khmer Rouge at S-21.
The Killing Fileds were the notorious area where many Cambodians met their end in mass graves after being subject to the Khmer Rouges genocide.