Friday, 10th September 2010

Woke up the next morning early-ish because we had hired a taxi for USD25 to take us out to the Choeung Ek killing fields which was about 15km away, the Russian market, and also the S-21 Tuol Sleng Gencide Museum. So we got ready, and headed out to have our breakfast which was already included with the hotel stay. We were served with 2 kinds of bread, butter and passion fruit jam, choice of coffee or tea, and also a juice.

Although 15km, the roads in Phnom Penh are still quite small and most of the time, they are single lanes each way, so, it took us about 30 mins to get there. Expect to pay USD2 per person to get in. For those who don't know, the Cheung Ek killing fields was and is still is the grave for thousands of people who died during the Khmer Rouge era. Reason I say "is still a grave" is because out of the 129 graves, only about 86 has been excavated. This totals to 8,985 bodies recovered. Apparently there was a total of 17,000 who were executed during that period.

Bf in front of the Memorial Stupa. The first thing you see as you walk in through the entrance. Built in 1988 and holds all the bone fragments of the bodies excavated behind glass panels. Said to have about 17 levels housing the clothes of the victims in the lowest level, and skulls in the next few levels, and the various other body parts in the top few levels.

Photo of the skulls close up

These skulls were belonged to females 15 - 20 years old... 

Area where they have already excavated the graves. Can't really tell from the photos but basically there are holes on the ground. Bodies were just dumped into these holes and just covered up later.

Pieces of bone fragments after the excavation

This was once a grave for more than 100 women. Most of which they found naked when excavating. 

Random plot on the ground. Unsure what this was but found it quite interesting. It had little bumps on it. Only thing I could think of was could this be the graves for the babies they killed?

Mass grave with 166 bodies found - headless. If not mistaken these people were the ones who were traitors to their own kind. 

The tree which was used by executioners to beat the children to death. 

Once we done with our rounds outside. There was a seperate building where they had more information regarding the place - kinda like a museum in which they had a video room where they had would showcase a documentary of what happened. 

After this, we headed to the Russian Market. It was about another 20 minute ride. Again, this place ended up like another mini version of Jatujak. Although we did not want to shop, we thought that since we were there, we should just walk around anyways. Bf did manage to get a back scratcher for about USD3 I think if I remember correctly. It was made of nice dark solid wood though. 

Next, we headed to the S-21 Tuol Sleng Gencide Museum - formerly a school which was then turned into a detention/torture centre. Place was divided into 4 buildings - A,B,C D. 

Photos from entrance in. There was kinda like a court yard in the middle.

Building A was pretty much for jailing, interrogation, and torture. I did not dare that any photos of the actual rooms/cells because I was actually quite eerie-ed out and was worried that I might see something with my camera. But inside these rooms were all the old bed frames and also photos of the dead - after being tortured. 

Building B. Can't quite remember what they used this building for but I don't think it's very different. :S  Building was all barbed wired so that the prisoners could not try to escape especially from the 2nd/3rd floor to try and get the easy way out. 

Building C was where they kept all the prisoners. Ground floor was made out of bricks, 1st floor was made out of wood and 3rd floor was the mass detention rooms. Again, barb wire was used to prevent victims from commiting suicide. 

One of the only photos I took INSIDE the rooms. Only did it cause I saw this white lady snapping away on her camera. Each cell had a chain attached to the floor.

And building D had become a memory/actual museum. They had all the photos of all the victims. Most before but some after torture. They also showed us some of the instruments used for torture. 

Once we were done, we got our driver to take us back to near-ish our hotel for food. We tried this place called Tamarind bar which again happened to be on the Lonely planet. Food was not bad and the portions were decently sized that we could not finish and had to take away. It was close the 'The Shop' with the bread, so we decided to get some bread to eat with our left over later.

We went back to hotel to rest a little and waited for the sun to come down so that we could hang out in the pool area. Btw, me and bf finished the whole season 4 of Dexter while we were on this trip. Haha! Okay, maybe not all, we were left with like 2 episodes or something. :P 

At night, we decided to check out the biggest and the only casino hotel in Phnom Penh called Naga World who is apparently own by a Malaysian. We decided to go have dinner at this Fusion place. Once we got in, only did we realise that they were doing a buffet dinner. Me and bf decided to go for it. It cost us USD16 each! *ouch* rite? Like so expensive. But me and bf said, "what the hell, we're on a holiday". Food was only so-so. There weren't as many choices as we thought they had but okay la. At least ate till we were busting in our pants. :P Then, we headed down to the casino where we played the 10c roulette machine table! Haha! We lost about USD10 in the end but that lasted us about 1.5 hours! 

By the time we left and got back to the hotel, it was about 11 ish. And 1 thing we realised was that pretty much the streets were empty! To get into our hotel, we had to get the security guard to come and open up the main door because it was locked!

Anyway, then it was wash up and time to sleep... :D  

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