Asia Cambodia

Cambodia – The dark history of this beautiful country

Yesterday we arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This city is a lot more quiet than Bangkok, and after we checked in at the hostel we walked around the streets to take in the vibes of this city. A city, and a country with a very dark past.

A little bit of history…
At April 17th 1971 The Khmer Rouge, followers of the Communist Party of Kampchea, invaded Phnom Penh and forced everyone living in the city to move to the rural areas to work on the land. The Khmer Rouge was led by Pol Pot who wanted to restore Cambodia as an agricultural country. Everyone who seemed intelligent was seen as a threat to Cambodia and the Angkar (literally ‘The Organization’) and was killed. Having soft hands, wearing glasses or speaking a foreign language was enough to appear intelligent and to be killed. The Cambodian Civil War lasted for three years and eight months, in which over 2 million Cambodians were killed, meaning one fourth of Cambodia’s population was murdered by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge.

The Tuol Sleng Prison.
We started our day with a visit to the Tuol Sleng Prison. This former school building was used by the Khmer Rouge as a torture prison for everyone who could be a possible threat to the Angkar. As Pol Pot said “it’s better to kill an innocent man, than to spare the life of someone guilty”. Also, they did not only murder a single member of the family, but the entire family, in case someone might ever want to take revenge.

If you go to the prison, make sure you get the audio tour, for it does not only tell you about the horrors you witness inside of the buildings at Tuol Sleng, but also tells the chilling stories of survivors. Inside the buildings you’ll find prisons, torture devices, and hundreds of pictures of innocent men and women who were unlucky enough to fall into the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

The Killing Fields – Choeung Ek
After our visit to the prison we went to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, just outside of Phnom Penh. Prisoners of Tuol Sleng were taken here to be killed in brutal ways. Because bullets were too expensive and the sounds of bullets could be heard outside the Killing Fields, the v
ictims were bludgeoned to death with a bamboo stick, shovel, branch of a tree, or anything you can think of. When they died they were thrown into mass graves, having their throats slit just to make sure they were really dead.
The most horrifying part of the Killing Fields is the Killing Tree, against which small babies and children were taken by their legs and beaten to death.

At the Killing Fields the people of Cambodia have built a memorial which holds hundreds of scalps and bones of murdered people. And while walking at the fields, you’ll see bones and rags of clothes coming to the surface everyday.

The National Museum of Cambodia
To end our day with something a little lighter, we visited The National Museum of Cambodia. At this museum you’ll find many great and beautiful statues from centuries ago. If you don’t have the time to visit Siem Reap, it is advisable to visit this museum as it gives you a glimpse of the beauty of Ankor Wat.

It was a very depressing but beautiful day. It is deeply disturbing and depressing to see what Pol Pot and his men did to this beautiful country, but it is also amazing to see how the Cambodians got on with their lives and live it the way they do now. The people of Cambodia are kind, warm and greet you with welcoming smiles. They will never ever forget what happened to them, but instead of looking backwards they are looking forward which has brought them better and brighter days. We’re off to the local market now to enjoy some local dishes and soak up the wonders of this lovely country, with even more respect for its people.

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January 10, 2016
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3 Comments

  • Tineke

    Indrukwekkend wat jullie gezien en gehoord hebben over het regime van polpot ik neem aan dat jullie blij (en trots) zijn dat jullie in Nederland zijn opgegroeid!

  • Cambodia – Ankor Wat – Eef Explores

    […] few days ago we learned about the dark history of Cambodia (read my blog about The dark history of this beautiful country), so today it was time for a more happy adventure. We made aquantaince with Cambodia’s great […]

  • Cambodia – My trip through the land of The Khmer – Eef Explores

    […] – an absolute MUST visit when you go to Cambodia. I’ve been to Phnom Penh a year ago (read my blog here ) so this time I only spent a couple of hours in this […]

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  • Smile, it's Friday!
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But that's not the reason I'm smiling from ear to ear in this photo. The reason was being in the outback and finally seeing Uluru! This place was high up in my top 5 of destinations I wanted to visit soooo badly. The other four are Fiji, Sri Lanka, The Philippines and the Aussie East Coast from Brisbane up to Darwin.
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Which bucket list destination have you visited this year? ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
#wayoutback #uluru #ayersrock  #NTaustralia #australia @ausoutbacknt @australia
  • Isn’t this place just gorge-ous? - pun intended 😆
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Only a stone’s throw away from @wayoutbackaus’s campsite you’ll find the Glen Helen Gorge. It’s the ultimate spot to cool off and relax after a day of hiking and exploring the outback!
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#wayoutback #partner #NTaustralia #australia @ausoutbacknt @australia
  • Ehhh, I thought I was in the desert?🌵🐪
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When I think of the desert I think of loads of sand, a burning sun and not much greenery. Well, @wayoutbackaus showed me there’s much more! This little oasis is found in the heart of Kings Canyon and is the perfect spot to take a well deserved break from your hike in the heat :)
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What comes to mind first when you think of the desert? ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
#wayoutback #partner #kingscanyon ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
📷 by my tour buddy @lanizaragoza
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  • Can you paint with all the colors of the wind? ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
On day two @wayoutbackaus took me to Kata Tjuta to go on the Valley of the Winds walk. During this walk you’ll wander between the domes and are treated to the most stunning views. Take this one for instance. In love with the outback 😍.
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#wayoutback #NTaustralia #northernterritory ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
#gopro #outback #outbacklife #goprogirl #goproselfie #NTaustralia @ausoutbacknt #australia @australia #australiagram @australiagram #beautifuldestinations @beautifuldestinations #wonderful_places @wonderful_places #living_australia #seeaustralia #exploreaustralia #visitaustralia #discoveraustralia #wanderaustralia #ig_australia #wow_australia #ig_discover_australia #australia_shotz #just_features #milliondollarvisuals #thetravelwomen #iamtb
  • It is so good to finally meet you, Uluru! ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
Ever since I came to Australia I’ve been dreaming of going to the Red Centre to visit the magical Uluru. Thanks to @wayoutbackaus this dream came true - and the adventure has only just begun. The next five days @wayoutbackaus will show me the hidden treasures and most beautiful spots of the Australian Outback. Stay tuned as I’ll take you with me on my Instagram Stories whenever I can find some phone reception ;).
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📷 by @wayoutbackaus’s own @joe_gracie, edit by me 🙅🏽
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#wayoutback #partnership #outback ∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘∘
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  • So much ♥ for you, Brisbane!
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After having lived in Brissy for nearly 4 months it's time to say goodbye. But ohhh, how I'll miss this place. I'll miss the stunning sunsets in Kangaroo Point, I'll miss the friendly faces at my favorite coffee place, I'll miss the man-made beach where I spent many hours worshipping the sun, I'll miss the people I met and the friends I made, but above all I'll miss working at @breezelodge. Meeting travelers from all over the globe plus having the best boss and colleagues a girl could wish for made me go to work with a huge smile on my face day after day. Except for those early morning shifts maybe ;) Brisbane, it was my pleasure and hopefully one day I'll be back! .
#byebrisbane #thisisbrisbane #visitbrisbane

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