Cheung Ek Killing Field

Welcome to Cambodia, a land rich in history and culture. Among its many historical sites, the "killing fields" hold a somber significance. We'll take you on a journey to one of the most renowned of these sites: Choeung Ek Killing Field, also known as "The Killing Fields" in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

Unveiling the Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek, located in the village of Choeung Ek, Phnom Penh, stands as a haunting testament to one of history's darkest chapters - the Khmer Rouge regime's atrocities. Over a million innocent Cambodians lost their lives here, making it a must-visit seeking to understand Cambodia's past.

There are many things to explore when you visit the Killing Fields. It’s more horrific than Tuol Sleng. You will walk in and listen to your guide to understand a beacon of memory to the lives lost here.

Read more: Best time to visit Cambodia| Best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia| Solo travel in Cambodia

A Glimpse into History

From 1975 to 1978, the Khmer Rouge subjected 17,000 individuals, including men, women, children, and even infants, to unspeakable horrors at S-21 prison (now the Tuol Sleng Museum). They were later transported to Choeung Ek for execution, a chilling strategy to conserve precious ammunition.


cambodia the killing fields

The Memorial Stupa: A Sobering Reminder

Choeung Ek houses the remains of 8,985 victims, many of whom were discovered in 1980 in graves scattered across an orchard. Today, 43 of the 129 communal graves remain untouched, serving as a poignant reminder of the horrors that unfolded. The Memorial Stupa, a 17-story structure erected in 1988, contains over 8,000 skulls organized by sex and age, visible behind clear glass panels. These panels also reveal the grim remnants - broken bones and the tools used in these heinous crimes.

The Heart-Wrenching Killing Tree

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching sight at the Killing Fields is the infamous "killing tree" or Chankiri tree. Here, children and infants met their tragic end, victims of their parents' alleged crimes against the Khmer Rouge. Prisoners transported from Tuol Sleng endured an agonizing 24-hour wait before facing a brutal blow to the head and having their throats slit.

the killing fields

The Largest of Its Kind

While there were numerous killing fields across Cambodia, Choeung Ek stands out as the largest. Annually, on the 20th of May, a ceremony is held near the stupa to honor the spirits of the deceased. Today, the site serves as a Buddhist memorial, offering solace to the victims. In Phnom Penh, Tuol Sleng houses a museum dedicated to commemorating the genocide. The memorial park at Choeung Ek surrounds the mass graves of thousands of victims, mostly Khmer Rouge members executed after interrogation at S-21 Prison.

the killing fields tree

A Symbol of Hope and Peace

Choeung Ek Killing Field is not just a place of tragedy; it's also a symbol of hope and peace. Its history is a testament to the resilience of the Cambodian people in the face of unimaginable suffering.

How to get there

Choeung Ek Killing Fields are open daily, with mornings being the ideal time for a peaceful visit. It's located about 10km south of Phnom Penh, near the Royal Palace. Since there's no public transportation, your best options are hiring a tuk-tuk or booking a private car/tour. Depart from the Dang Kor Market bus depot, taking Monireth Blvd southwestward until you reach the bridge near 271 Street, which is just 8.5 km away.

In conclusion, visiting Choeung Ek Killing Field is a poignant experience, shedding light on a dark chapter in Cambodia's history. It serves as a stark reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of remembering the past to prevent such atrocities in the future.

Our tours you may like: Thailand Vietnam Cambodia tour| Cambodia Vietnam tour| Vietnam Laos Cambodia tour