Cambodian Genocide Museum and Killing Fields, Phnom Penh
Extremely emotional, but a must-see
Posted on: February 22, 2010 at 4:34PM
S21 is the national genocide museum where you get a true sense of the Khmer Rouge, a devastatingly traumatic event that still is very much alive in Cambodia (as this regime was so recent). The worst part that you must prepare yourself for are the gruesome photos of tortured prisoners on display.
I would definitely recommend going to the museum and then visiting the killing fields, in that order as it will do a better job at telling the complete story. If possible, meet some locals and have someone take you. Someone who can share their story with you and help you better understand the magnitude of this time.
When I visited both S21 and the killing fields, I was volunteering at an orphanage and took some of the staff as well as some older kids with me, as most of their families had been taken from them during this time. Hearing how the Khmer Rouge directly affected people that I learned to care very much for definitely hit home and made the experience that much more real.
Visiting these two places will help you to understand the history of Cambodia and what makes it such an amazing country today.