If you are in Cambodia then you should visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum in Phnom Penh. Here you are ruthlessly shown all the facts and actually this is something you do not want to see at all. But this history is unfortunately associated with Cambodia and demonstrates the darkest side of the human mind, which is said to be able to bring everyone to such an extent.
A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum in Phnom Penh!
History of the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum in Phnom Phenh
The Tuol Sleng is also called the S-21 Prison or Security Prison 21 and was used during the Red Khmer regime, from 1975 to 1979. About 13,000 Cambodians were killed in this old school building. It’s not a prison but a destruction camp. During the Khmer regime, this school building was used as a torture and interrogation camp.
The prisoners were often highly educated: doctors, teachers and lawyers. If you had money, had a special skill like speaking a foreign language or were wearing glasses, then you were by definition an opponent of the regime and thus virtually dead. The prison system was simple: get the prisoners to confess to the crimes he is accused of. Does this not work in the good way, then the bad way will apply.
What’s there to see at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh?
In the former Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, there is a museum in which you can see and read pictures and stories. The prison is an old school building and consists of several buildings. You see the torture rooms and the torture tools. Another building is full of black and white pictures of the prisoners.
The Khmer Rouge had the habit of taking a picture of each prisoner before, during and after the torture. Rows of fearful eyes of prisoners staring at you. When viewing these pictures, the regime will no longer be just a story from a history book. You notice how systematically the Khmer Rouge worked.
Survivors of the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh
Almost daily there are also survivors or relatives who would like to talk about this period. Of only twelve people, it is known that they have survived the prison. These people have been saved by Pol Pot. They were sculptors and painters who were in charge of making images and portraits of the great leader. I recommend you try to get talking with these people!
How to get to the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum in Phnom Penh?
This prison is in the center of Phnom Penh. You can visit it through an organized tour, often combined with a visit to the Killing Fields. Self-catering is also easy by arranging a taxi (tuk tuk/motorbike) for a few dollars.
• Location: Corner Street 113 & Street 350
• Admission: $5.00
• Opening times: 8.30-11.00 & 13.30-17.00
Be prepared when you visit this prison. A visit is more than worth it and do not close your eyes to history!
Hotel Phnom Penh
A great place to stay is the Okay Boutique Hotel. The staff is kind and helpful, great buffet breakfast and the rooms are big. It’s really good value for the money. The location is perfect, just across the street from National Museum and Royal Palace complex. The rooftop pool is good and looks over the city, and that’s where the restaurant is as well.
- Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay in Phnom Penh!