Choeung Ek Genocide Center and Beyond Phnom Penh Week 5 28th May 2011
More paddy fields on the way from Phnom Chisor.

Very peaceful (to us) in the morning light.

We went searching for Tang Yab villages.

At the top of Phnom Chisor, where we'd paid a couple of US$ for entry, we received a tourist brochure describing the attractions in Takeo Province.

Tang Yab is a silk weaving center and villages that have maintained a traditional lifestyle.

Sadly, we couldn't trace it. Though we did see someone through a window working at a loom.

We settled for buying some bananas (2000 riel a bunch, about US$0.50) and a walk through a very crowded market.

And across the paddy fields a magnificient wat.
We saw a few dugouts. Used for navigating the waterways.
Sometimes driven as a punt .... without falling out or getting the pole stuck.
A truck, a motorbike with trailer, a motorbike, and a tuk tuk.

And it all magically parted as we overtook.

We were looking for the Killing Fields.

Hadn't a clue about sensitivities. So we asked anyway.

It was the only English they knew.

This has so far been the only time when someone has thought of drawing a map in the sand. Ali looking on (and remembering).

The Killing Fields is officially called Choeung Ek Genocide Center.

We haven't figured out if it was morbid curiosity or some higher intellectual need which caused us to visit.

Perhaps just something one does while in the area.

During the Pol Pot years of 1975-78 there were about 3 million, mostly Khmer, executed.

Choeung Ek is about 16km South of Tiol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. After people had been imprisoned and tortured they were trucked to Choeung Ek for execution.

A total of about 20,000 people.

After the Khmer Rouge were overthrown the bones exhumed from mass graves were at first housed on shelves in a wooden shelter.

This more permanent stupa has since been built. 

Skulls are arranged on the lower shelves. Arm and leg bones higher up. Hips, shoulder blades etc. further up.

The skulls bear marks showing the manner of execution.

The associated museum is simple and tasteful.

A simple presentation of facts. Seeming without judgement, but of course one only has to read a bit to come to one's own conclusion about the inhumanity of it all.

I found the whole area, of execution site and mass graves, somewhat sobering and confronting.

I hope I will never cease to be amazed at what people can do to other people.

The Mekong and the Sap rivers meet just North of Phnom Penh. There are other tributaries arrive as well.

There is really no alternative than to drive through the middle of Phnom Penh.

This is the first roundabout encountered when arriving from the South.

Not too bad. Its a Sunday.

Yes, that's an ANZ Bank in front.

The independence memorial forms another roundabout.

Mildly terrifying as we believe "give way to the left" is correct, but evidence occasionally suggests otherwise.

Wat Phnom forms another roundabout.

Getting the hang of them by now!

We crossed the Sap River.


Our map is apparently a little out of date. The bridge across the river was exactly where it should have been. Unfortunately it had a height restriction of about 3m.

With the help of a very generous person in uniform we reversed through very busy traffic for about 25m then took a side road and turned left when we met the river (memo for future - trucks can't swim).

Fortunately there is a nice shiny new bridge just a km or so upstream. Very obvious and very easy to find. And its a toll bridge.

Drying chillies in the front garden.
And making bricks.
Believe it, or believe it not, this is a rest area.

A very large, but surprisingly customer free, restaurant.

We stayed the night.

North Along the Mekong Week 6 29th May 2011