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Phnom Penh - Cambodia

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Phnom Penh was the first stop in Cambodia. Cambodia is somewhere I had been really looking forward to but was also quite apprehensive. It was somewhere that in all honesty I knew relatively little about, plus it was the first place we had been advices to take our malaria tablets. Arriving in Phnom Penh at night by coach to be greeted by a small Cambodian man with Mr. Smith held over his head on a piece of paper. The hostel had kindly offered a pick up service and hilariously we all crammed onto this TukTuk and bombed though the traffic. That evening we went out for a meal after having a wonder around the night Market.

The following day we organised with a TukTuk driver who worked from the hostel to take us to the cheerfully, but honestly named Genocide Museum, then onto the Killing Fields. The Genocide Museum is located in a suburb of Phnom Penh. Before the Khmer Rouge seized power of Cambodia it was a large school, but it was converted into a prison to interrogate people who Pol Pot belived was scheming or against his regime. The fact that the Prison had been left almost exactly as it was found after the regime was overthrown was a little difficult to comprehend. Some of the makeshift cells even had spot of blood on the tiles and manacles and chains connected to the floor. In other areas were rooms where beds had been left with implements of torture. It was a particularly depressing place! In one of the building where they we exhibiting some of the items found at the prison were all of the pictures that had been taken of the inmates that had been taken to the prison. It was had to believe how recently these acts of horrendous treatment had occurred. Between 1975 and 1979 20% of the population of Cambodia lost their lives at the hands of the Khmer Rouge!

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(Just one of the many frames with pictures of the inmates tourtured in the prison)

After the Museum we headed out of the city to the Killing Fields. There were Killing fields located all over Cambodia but this was know to be the largest of it's kind. The fields are located in a rural area which actually had been used as a grave site by Chinese people living in Cambodia years before it was taken over by the Khmer Rouge. Included in the priced of the ticket was an audio guide which was fantastic at helping someone understand what they were seeing. It's a strange to say but the place was amazing peaceful and actually quite beautiful which set a strange contrast against the horrendous atrocities that happened! It's a place that needs no explanation, if anyone is more interested in what happened at the killing fields I think it's important that people learn for themselves, it's almost too difficult to put into words.

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(during the rainy season, bones and rags of cloohing that have not been retrieved yet surface from the mud!)

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(this tree was used for actions that are too terrible to explain)

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One evening we had out we made friends with some a group of Cambodians. The following day I went along with them to their house for some beers and then we met up with the guys we were travelling with for a night out which proved to be very funny, all of us dancing a progressively getting more drunk! It was really fun to mix with the locals and it gave us a taste of how friendly and hospitable some Cambodians can be!

After the horrors and joys of Phnom Penh we decided to move on to a seaside resort for a bit of relaxation. Next stop Sihnoukville!
 

Posted by Christian25 23:08 Archived in Cambodia Tagged travel cambodia phnom penh Comments (1)

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