Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is a very interesting city, having such a dark history in the past several decades. The city was the center of the Khmer Rouges reign and saw the brunt of the genocide and atrocities that occurred in the country under Pol Pot. At the same time, modern Phnom Penh is very much full of life and has a culture all of its own. The city is a must visit in anyone’s lifetime. I can’t think of many other places where you can visit bustling markets, shoot an AK47 or RPG, visit a genocide museum, hit the clubbing scene and visit a silkworm farm all in one day. In saying that, I suggest spending a few days exploring the city. The center city evening food market is an amazing experience and will allow you to try all aspects of Khmer cuisine, all while enjoying a seat on the ground and listening to local live music. One of any of the city’s shooting ranges is worth visiting to be able to use weapons that most other countries will not allow.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Tuol Sleng is the location that prisoners were taken, interogated, tortured and often killed before being taken to the mass killing and burial sites throughout the city. The most notorious of these sites is Choeung Ek. I highly recommend visiting the prison complex/museum before the mass graves, both in order to fully understand what occurred in the city and to prepare yourself for what is to come. If you are faint of heart, then you may struggle with both locations, as graphic images are present at the museum, along with the photos and clothes of those killed, including men women and children.

Choeung Ek (The Killing Fields)

Choeung Ek is a haunting place, a testament to the darker side of humanity, a glimpse into what we are truly capable of. If you are feint of heart, this may not be the place for you to visit. If you want to truly understand what occurred in Cambodia, then I suggest that you do visit this place. For the same reason that Auschwitz is important to visit and remember, so too is Choeung Ek. Be prepared to see former mass graves, along with a very large amount of human remains and to read about what happened to those who lost their lives in this terrible place.

Russian Markets

The Russian Markets are a lighter-hearted  attraction, these are worth visiting to get an idea of what a Cambodian marketplace is, while this is one of the more touristy markets in the country, it is still a great experience and a chance to try more local food.