Pay homage to the thousands of men, women and children who lost their lives at this haunting site located outside Phnom Penh.
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center commemorates a tragic but important time in Cambodia’s history. Between 1975 and 1978, scores of innocent Cambodians were detained, tortured and killed at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime. Of the nearly 17,000 victims who passed through the site’s gates, only seven are thought to have survived.
In 1980, the remains of nearly 9,000 victims were exhumed from the grounds of this former orchard. Of the 129 communal graves discovered here, 43 remain untouched.
A visit to Choeung Ek Killing Field is a sobering one, given the horrors this site has seen. However, it has been respectfully transformed into a peaceful place in homage to all the lives lost. Pay your respects at the Memorial Stupa. Here, see the skulls of thousands of the victims behind clear panels. The skulls are arranged by sex and age.
Inside the museum, learn about the history of the Khmer Rouge through a series of exhibits. The regime kept chillingly comprehensive records of its prisoners, including photographs. Many of these are on display, showing the faces of the victims of the crimes committed here.
The Choeung Ek Killing Field and accompanying museum have an admission fee that includes an audio tour, which is available in several languages. Hear stories from survivors of the Khmer Rouge, along with a horrifying narrative from a Choeung Ek executioner.
Reach the center easily from Phnom Penh. It is located about 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of the city. Taxis from the city center are very reasonable. The site is signposted in English.
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is open daily. Visit on May 9, when a memorial is held to honor the victims. No matter when you arrive, appreciate this sobering reminder of the horrors that evil powers have committed against humanity.