After A 6 Hour Bus Journey We Made It!
Arriving in Phnom Penh you could instantly see this was the capital and different in so many ways from Siem Reap…
- A lot more western/ touristy
- Actual busy roads with actual cars on
- That city smell was back
We knew we only had a limited time here and after hearing of others saying the same thing that you only need 2 days here really as a backpacker we soon realised that was more than enough!
We had an itinary set out for the main day spent in Phnom Penh to visit “The Killing Fields” and the “S-21 Prison”, that is what this blog is mainly about and so I’ll get to that shortly!
The Food In Cambodia!
As a whole the food in Cambodia has nothing on Thailand to me personally, you just can’t beat Pad Thai! Don’t get me wrong the food is still lovely and we’ve had some nice meals but in Thailand we find ourselves saying it about every single meal!
I personally found Siem Reap was a lot better for food for example on the night Markets! In Phnom Penh we struggled to find any amazing Khymer (Cambodian cuisine) restaurants that weren’t super expensive for what they were!
We also found so many Western chains on every street, which yeah it’s a city I suppose but it just takes away all the money from the country that needs it most so we prefer to eat local (I can have maccies, Burger King and Dominos when I come home).
We did have one lovely meal for more of Martyn’s birthday celebrations at a place called “Mok Mony” and if you’re going to visit their famous for their beef rolls, wow I can’t even describe the taste! Go and try for yourself!
So What Did We Get Up To?
Street Food Pizza
So backpackers tend to love street food because it’s it’s A) cheap as chips and B) always amazing! So how can you go wrong with street food pizza? Ok I’ll admit it wasn’t totally cheap, for once this street food was slightly more expensive, the pizzas where $6 (remember Cambodia does everything in dollars). It was a tuk tuk basically but with a wood burner attached to the back of the bike and they set out stools and little tables in the same spot every night! They did everything super fresh and cooked your pizza from start to finish right infront of you and wow it was amazing!!!!! Totally worth going over “budget” for!
Ok so to take it down a tone.. we hired a tuk tuk that took us around for the day! Starting at…
The Killing Fields
There is only so many words you can describe this horrific place! A place where so many people lost their lives due to mass genocide because of one man and his awful followers crazy ideological views! Pol Pot was the leader of the Kyhmer Rouge and he wanted a communist country and decided all people should be totally of the same level and should start with a pure race from year zero!
The ways in which they did this mass murder was truly sickening, they wouldn’t use guns as it was A) too loud B) too expensive, therefore they’d just hit them and beat them with axes, metal sledges, hoes, anything cheap and easy to get hold of that could kill easily! We saw a handful of skulls that had the evidence of holes in their skulls and totally broken up skulls from being beaten, teeth everywhere. And the mass graves where just a number of victims still lay! Because it was so recent when there’s a storm the water is still washing up bone fragments, teeth and old clothes up from the ground!
We saw “The Killing Tree” in which members of the Kyhmer Rouge would hold babies by their feet, and swing their heads against this tree to kill them and beat them against it to death. Then throw them into a mass grave next to it.
When the Killing Fields where found “The Killing Tree” still had blood stains all over it. It’s hard to hear and even harder to see, never mind the poor victims. Heartbreaking!
I think one of the worst things about this tradgey is that it started in 1975 and ended in 1979 and more than 3 million Cambodians and many other nationalities where brutally murdered. No countries believed it was going on so turned a blind eye to it!
Even when visiting Pol Pot and Phnom Penh! It was said even the U.K turned a blind eye, that really hurt to hear on the audio guide I felt a huge feeling of shame! This happened within the previous generation.
Every 1 in 4 people where murdered. Poor families torn apart. It was that recent that some trials are STILL taking place. Most trials ended in 2011 where these evil people are getting prosecuted for “War Crimes” and “Crimes Against Humanity”.
This is another part of the Khmer Rouge take over. The S-21 Prison used to be a school, but it got turned into a torture prison.
We looked around with an audio guide and were shown the rooms in which victims where tortured and killed (there was still dark blood stains on the tiled floor).
There was pictures on display of victims and you listened to the survivors stories on the audio tape.
One part of the tape that really got to me was “Cruch’s” (the leader of the prison) admitted his wrong doing and tried to show remorse, while another man was letting go of his hurt and anger towards Cruch because he killed his brother (both from Australia) in The S-21 Prison, on the tape he is speaking directly to Cruch in court. It was painful to hear.
This part of the trip was upsetting but a very good insight into what happened. It was an experience we won’t forget.
After visiting it was something I felt strongly about, my blogs aren’t usually upsetting but I felt it was such an insight on this trip it should have a blog of its own to really express visiting these places.
On a happier note we did see the most beautiful sunset from the rooftop bar in our Hostel!
We’re heading to Surat Thani by flight and from Surat Thani we make our way from the Pier to Koh Samui by ferry!
I’m excited to have my toes in the sand and the sun on my cheeks!! ☀️