Discover the history and horror of Phnom Penh’s past on this half-day, small-group tour. Follow the path of one of the most tragic times of the 20th century – the rise and fall of the Khmer Rouge – and see how the country has been rebuilt.
Phnom Penh was once a jewel in the crown of Indochina and a bustling outpost of French colonialism. Discover how that all changed with the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the beginning of the darkest, most tragic period in Cambodia’s recent history.Your tour starts as you learn about the fateful day of April 17, 1975, when Phnom Penh was taken by the Khmer Rouge. See where journalists camped out to witness the fall of Phnom Penh.Visit the infamous Tuol Sleng High School, which was turned into the S-21 prison camp. It was here, at this unassuming high school in the heart of the city, that the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime unfolded. It was a detention center for prisoners of the regime, where detainees were tortured and executed on a regular basis. The school is now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and as you tour the museum, you’ll discover the brutality of the Khmer Rouge documented in the photos and memorabilia, including torture instruments.Next, you’ll visit Choeung Ek, one of the most well-known sites of the Killing Fields. The Killing Fields are several sites in Cambodia where masses of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge. Choeung Ek was home to large graves filled with bodies of those executed at Tuol Sleng. The pits no longer remain, but a large stupa (shrine) filled with more than 8,000 human skulls acts as a memorial and a grim reminder of the atrocities of war.Finish the tour on a happier note – by sampling local snacks and learning how the country is moving forward into the future. Although this tour is confronting, it offers great insight into Asian political history and the struggles of the Cambodian people.