Now, let’s go on a poignant journey through the heart-wrenching history of Phnom Penh Killing Fields with our insightful travel blog guide. Immerse yourself in the country’s past and gain a profound understanding of the nation’s resilience. Travelers can discover the significance of this somber site and plan their meaningful visit with our curated Cambodia vacation packages, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of this historical landmark.

Learn About The Phnom Penh Killing Fields

Approximately 300 ‘killing fields’ are believed to have existed throughout Cambodia, though the actual number may be higher. These sites, serving as execution grounds during the Khmer Rouge’s brutal four-year rule (1975-1979), bear witness to a harrowing history. Among them, Choeung Ek stands out as the most notorious, gaining infamy due to its proximity to the capital city.

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Choeung Ek (Source: Internet)

This former orchard, now a haunting memorial, witnessed the tragic demise of around 17,000 Cambodians. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, and even infants met their fate. Victims faced slit throats or fatal blows, sparing bullets for what the Khmer Rouge considered ‘meaningful’ tasks. Poignantly, within the grounds, a standing tree serves as a silent witness to the heart-wrenching acts where babies were mercilessly battered to their untimely end by young soldiers.

Thousands of tourists flock to this site each year, now transformed into a memorial and open-air museum. Choeung Ek serves as a stark reminder of the profound tragedy etched into the very fabric of its grounds, inviting contemplation and remembrance from those who traverse its solemn paths.

Should I Visit The Killing Fields?

Absolutely, visiting Choeung Ek is a resounding and unwavering yes. While travel often involves enjoying picturesque landscapes and delicious street food, it should also encompass delving into uncomfortable histories. Our recommended Cambodia vacation packages includes the essential ingredients of exploration. Still, the true essence of travel lies in confronting uncomfortable pasts, deepening our understanding of the world, and challenging our beliefs. Choeung Ek offers a profound and authentic experience that goes beyond the surface, urging visitors to engage with the complex layers of history and humanity.

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The Killing Fields (Source: Internet)

Exploring the killing fields or other memorials of Cambodia’s harsh communist era is not a lighthearted experience. It evokes deep emotions and disturbs the soul. Despite its heaviness, such visits are indispensable for comprehending the nation and, more importantly, understanding humanity. Yet, while it draws tourists, it must never be regarded or treated as a mere attraction. This mass grave and memorial demand reverence. For guidance on visiting responsibly and respectfully, we offer additional advice below to ensure a mindful and informed exploration of these sad historical sites.

How To Get There

A Tuk-Tuk Or Taxi

If you prefer not to choose a guided tour or a motorbike, arranging your own transportation to the Choeung Ek killing field from the capital, Phnom Penh, is an option. Standard practice involves finding a taxi or tuk-tuk driver and negotiating a fixed fee for a round trip.

It’s advised to agree on the fare and the waiting time (we suggest around 90 minutes) upfront. But if negotiating transportation seems daunting for you, a hassle-free alternative is to seek assistance from your hotel reception. They are accustomed to arranging transport for guests, ensuring transparent pricing and added security. Many establishments even have a preferred driver they regularly work with, providing an additional layer of assurance for your journey to Choeung Ek.

  • Price: Tuk-tuk – $15; taxi – $23 (round-trip) with waiting time included. Group rates may apply for three or more people.
  • Time: 45 minutes – 01 hour travel time, contingent on traffic conditions.
  • Tip: By informing your driver, consider combining your Cambodia vacation package with Tuol Sleng S21. This can be accommodated, but we anticipate a slight increase in the tuk-tuk price to approximately $20.

Public Bus or Motorbike

Our most recent update shows that the bus service is no longer available. Another option for independent travelers is renting a motorbike, which costs around $6 daily. However, this alternative is suitable only for those comfortable navigating bustling Southeast Asian roads. For added convenience, consider using ride-hailing platforms like Grab and Pass App in Cambodia. While primarily designed for one-way journeys, some travelers have successfully arranged a driver to the killing field through these apps.

In this scenario, the driver agrees to wait at the site. Upon completion of your visit, you will settle the agreed fare directly, often including some extra dollars as a gratuity.

How To Visit The Killing Fields

Make no mistake, this isn’t your typical tourist spot – it’s a solemn site. Acting disrespectfully here is not acceptable. Given its compact size, respect is vital, not just out of regard for the gravity of the past, but for your fellow travelers.

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The Killing Tree (Source: Internet)

While your emotional experience is subjective, there are explicit guidelines and rules posted within Choeung Ek. This ensures a visit to this historically charged location that is not only emotionally prepared but also conducted with the utmost sensitivity and respect.

In addition to using common sense, visitors should also adhere to these guidelines:

  • Dress modestly: Clothing exposing shoulders, back, midriffs, or knees are not permitted. Skin-tight attire, sleeveless shirts, shorts, and crop tops are also prohibited
  • Keep it quiet: Maintain a subdued atmosphere throughout your visit. It’s not about complete silence but instead being mindful of your surroundings while conversing
  • Hands off: Do not take anything from the site, including bones or other items. Respect the sanctity of this place.
  • Shoe removal: When visiting the tower Memorial Stupa, where over 1000 skulls are housed, kindly remove your footwear before ascending the steps. This is to show reverence for the significance of this solemn site.


In concluding our odyssey through the poignant Phnom Penh Killing Fields, the weight of history hangs in the air. As you reflect on Cambodia’s indomitable spirit, consider enhancing your experience with our tailored tours. It goes beyond a mere itinerary; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the stories etched in these fields. By choosing our Cambodia vacation packages, you not only traverse landscapes but also traverse time, leaving you with a profound connection to the resilience and strength of this remarkable nation.

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