Cambodia – S21 and the Killing Fields

I sat down to write this post and I just couldn’t. I kept rewriting paragraphs trying to bring my feelings and thoughts out but I wasn’t ready. Sometimes after experiencing something you need sometime to process. That is exactly what happened during my trip to Cambodia.

On day 2 we visited the S-21 Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. To say these sites were moving doesn’t begin to cover it. In preparation for my trip I read “First They Killed My Father”. The book was enthralling, I highly recommend anyone traveling to Cambodia read it ahead of time. Even after all my research and prep for my trip I was not ready for the wave of emotion that hit me while visiting the S-21 Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.

If you are visiting Cambodia set aside a day to visit both. I am a firm believer that you should always make an effort to learn the history of the places you travel. Learning about the atrocities that took place in Cambodia is upsetting, take your time as you make your way through the self guided tour, reflect on all that you learn. While at the Killing Fields I was a little unsettled, it was such a beautiful memorial but it was hard to reconcile the horrendous acts that took place there with the beautiful landscape there today. The original structures that stood at the Killing Fields during the time of the Khmer Rouge have been demolished.

There is so much to do and experience in Cambodia but it is important to take some time to learn about and pay your respects to the millions of people were killed. I had such an amazing trip in Cambodia, my visit to Angkor Wat was incredible and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was life changing, I can’t wait to go back soon! 

PS: please be respectful when visiting these sites. I saw tons of people ignoring the no photography signs that were posted in certain areas.

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