Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Choeung Ek Killing Fields)
Explore the graves and memorials, including a collection of victims’ clothes and a tree where babies’ heads were bashed to save bullets. An audio guide available with admission features testimonies from victims and one perpetrator and is available in several languages.
Many Phnom Penh city tours include a stop at the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, as well as the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia, and Wat Phnom. To learn more about this dark period of Cambodia’s history and leave plenty of time for reflection, consider a Cambodia genocide tour that visits just Choeung Ek and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21), a prison where many victims were held and tortured.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Choeung Ek Killing Fields are a must for travelers who would like to understand Cambodia’s dark history.
The Killing Fields are not appropriate for young children.
Please dress respectfully, covering arms and legs, and avoid disrespectful behavior such as laughing and posing for selfies.
Choeung Ek entry is free for Cambodian citizens.
Cambodia is a challenging destination for travelers who use wheelchairs. With flat, compacted sand paths and an adapted bathroom, the Choeung Ek Killing Fields are relatively accessible, but the museum and stupa are accessed by stairs.
How to Get There
The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek sit to the south of Phnom Penh, about 6 miles (9 kilometers) from the Royal Palace. With no public transportation, the site is easiest to see on a tour or with a private driver to avoid negotiating with motorcycle taxis, “cyclo” rickshaws, or “remork” (Cambodian tuk-tuks).
When to Get There
The Choeung Ek Killing Fields are open from early morning until late afternoon, seven days a week. It’s worth getting up early to beat the big bus crowds and experience the site in peace and quiet. The site is busiest on weekends.
Cambodia’s Other Genocide Sites
As commemorated in the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields, Khmer Rouge operatives used the killing fields to murder and then bury untold numbers of Cambodians—generally by beating or hacking to save the cost of bullets. Besides the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, other Khmer Rouge genocide sites include Wat Thmey, near Siem Reap, and the “killing caves” of Phnom Sampeau, outside Battambang.
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