Southeast Asia

Cambodia’s Dark Past

I’m gonna warn you now, this post is rather grim. Plus there are spiders.

So today we are taking a look at Cambodia’s dark past including the genocide in the 1970’s which occurred under the communist rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

Vlog #8: Contiki Big Indochina Adventure: Phnom Penh,Cambodia

The Killing Fields

Our first stop is at the Killing Fields, one of the hundreds of places where the horrific executions of the Cambodian people took place.

Killing Fields - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A memorial for the lives lost.

I had to hold back and tame myself for this video.  It was very difficult not to include all the information our guide was giving us since I for one didn’t know much about what happened in Cambodia during that time.

Killing Fields - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

126 mass graves,  8985 corpses uncovered.

Killing Fields - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia had a population of 7 million at the time; 3 million were killed in a span of 4 years, almost half the population. It’s crazy to even think about how such a thing was even allowed to happened. Human nature has always been something that puzzles me: wars, genocides, murder.

Killing Fields - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

After the Killing Fields we stopped at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: previously a high school that was converted into cells and used to torture prisoners.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This was one of the rooms they held their “VIP” prisoners: all the high educated people.  It actually made me sick to my stomach when the guide was explaining the types of torture the Khmer prisoners went through.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The most disturbing thing from both places visited today was the images on the walls. Pol Pot made his officers take photographs of the deceased prisoners to show to him as proof that the prisoner was indeed dead. This is one example of the photos they took.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Phnom Penh, Cambodia


To put everyone in a bit of a lighter note we ended up going for dinner at a restaurant called Friends. The great thing about this restaurant is that it employees street youth and teaches them how to work in the hospitality industry a wonderful cause!

Mith Samlanh (“Friends” in English) is a local organization working with Cambodian street children, their families and the community to develop creative projects that effectively support the children to become in independent and productive members of the community.

Here we had some of the best food on our tour; it was absolutely fantastic! Plus, they cooked up a special bunch of tarantulas for us to try.

They weren’t too bad. As soon as you got past the fact that they are spiders, they honesty just taste like deep fried chicken skin.

Bon Appetite!

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