From Ho Chi Minh we took the bus to Phnom Penh. It was a really nice bus which made the trip way more convenient. Once we arrived at the border we had to get a visa and the guy from the touring company collected all our passports. It didn’t feel right, giving our passports to a complete stranger.. but sometimes you just have to trust. After half an hour we finally got our documents back, including the visa! Although my first and last name were wrong, they were convinced it wouldn’t be a problem. Let’s hope so…

Cambodia is a country with a very rich history. As you might know, the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields are important in telling this story. In the four years that the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia, it was responsible for one of the worst mass killings of the 20th Century. The brutal regime, in power from 1975-1979, claimed the lives of up to two million people. Under the Marxist leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge tried to take Cambodia back to the Middle Ages, forcing millions of people from the cities to work on communal farms in the countryside.But this dramatic attempt at social engineering had a terrible cost. Whole families died from execution, starvation, disease and overwork.

With a group of guys we hired a tuktuk driver for the day to visit the places where we were told more about the story behind all this.

Genocide Museum

Our first stop was the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The site is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge. There was a very informative audio tour which left as all speechless.. I never expected all of this to have such a big impact on me, but it did. We should never forget this tragedy in the Cambodian history. As soon as everyone got back from their audio tour we hopped back in the tuktuk for a drive to the Killing Fields. Another place with a horrifying history..

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Killing Fields

After eating a delicious lunch we were ready to visit the Killing Fields. The Killing Fields are a number of sites where collectively more than a million people were killed. The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. There are still bones and skulls displayed at the site, which make the impact even greater when visiting..

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After this day I’ve realized even more that every country has its own background and history. I’ve gained so much respect for the Cambodian people. How they overcame this tragedy. How they rebuild their lives.

Stay awesome ♥

— Simon

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