Phnom Penh: Other sites & sights

I used Phnom Penh as a jumping off point for getting down to the southern coast, the CPOC volunteering gig, and Siem Reap, so I was there a total of 3 nights, but never consecutively.  PP is incredibly hot in April, which made doing anything in the city a real drag.  It was almost unbearable to be out and about between 10am and 6pm.  Since those are the hours when I tend to be most active, I don’t have much to show for my time there.  But I did manage to make it to the Royal Palace/Silver Pagoda (which are part of the same complex), Sisowath Quay (the historic riverfront area), and I saw (but didn’t enter) the National Museum of Cambodia.

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Phnom Penh: Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21) & the Killing Fields

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“It’s better to kill an innocent by mistake then to spare an enemy by mistake.” – Pol Pot
Between 1975 and 1979 nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population died in the Khmer Rouge genocide.  Led by a man nicknamed “Pol Pot”, the Khmer Rouge set out to create an agrarian society virtually overnight.  They forced people out of the cities and into the rural areas of Cambodia, forced them into slave labor, and executed thousands of men and women who were believed to be intellectuals, political leaders, religious believers, or minorities.  They also arrested and executed family members of their victims, known as “arrest by kinship.”  It is estimated that anywhere from 1.7 to 3 million (or 1 in 4) Cambodians died from malnutrition, disease, torture, and mass executions.  Religion and arts were forbidden.  Wearing glasses or speaking with an accent could get you arrested and murdered.

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