When visiting Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on your Vietnam tours, one cannot overlook the haunting history of the Khmer Rouge regime, particularly the notorious S-21, the security prison turned into the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum stands as a chilling reminder of Cambodia's dark past, where thousands of Cambodians endured unimaginable suffering and cruelty at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. The museum, located in the former Tuol Svay Prey High School, now serves as a memorial site to honor the victims and educate visitors about the atrocities committed during the regime's rule.
The museum's preservation of S-21's tragic legacy offers a glimpse into the harrowing experiences of survivors who were detained, interrogated, and subjected to appalling torture methods. At S-21, the regime's strict policies and brutal interrogations aimed to extract confessions from alleged adversaries of the Khmer Rouge, leading to the imprisonment and subsequent execution of countless individuals. Today, the museum is open to the public, allowing visitors to witness the horrifying instruments of torture and the grim living conditions that prisoners endured within the confines of the prison.
As visitors walk through the museum, they are confronted with the grim reality of Cambodia's history, from the barbed wire fences that once confined prisoners to the haunting photographic documentation of the detainees. The museum offers a poignant insight into the legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime and the resilience of Cambodian survivors who have persevered through the unimaginable horrors of the past. It stands as a vital testament to the enduring spirit of the Cambodian people who have sought to rebuild their nation in the aftermath of the genocide.
Formerly known as Security Prison 21, or S-21, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum holds a significant place in Cambodia's history as a symbol of the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge era. The museum meticulously documents the harrowing experiences of the prisoners who were taken to the interrogation center, where they faced relentless brutality and dehumanization at the hands of their captors.
The museum also sheds light on the wider context of the Cambodian Genocide, providing a comprehensive portrayal of the Khmer Rouge regime's campaign of terror, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1.7 million people. By exploring the museum's exhibits, visitors gain a deeper understanding of the historical and political factors that led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot and the subsequent suffering inflicted upon the Cambodian people.
As a somber testament to the Khmer Rouge's brutal rule, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum serves as a poignant reminder of the suffering endured by the Cambodian people. Its role in preserving the historical truth and honoring the memory of the victims reflects Cambodia's commitment to seeking justice and reconciliation in the aftermath of the genocide. The museum stands not only as a memorial to those who perished but also as a tribute to the resilience and strength of the survivors who have bravely shared their stories to ensure that the atrocities of the past are never forgotten.
Bou Meng is one of the few survivors of S-21 prison. He is a living witness to the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge and his paintings depicting the horrors of S-21 are displayed at the museum.
He is now known as a symbol of hope and strength for those who have been victims of human rights violations. Bou Meng was born in 1951 and was one of the few survivors of the S-21 prison camp, which was used as a detention and torture center by the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979.
Bou Meng's story is one of incredible resilience and courage. He was arrested in 1977 for being suspected of being an enemy of the state by the Khmer Rouge. He was taken to S-21 where he endured horrific conditions and torture for two years before he managed to escape in 1979. After his escape, Bou Meng found refuge with a family who helped him get back on his feet.
In 2003, Bou Meng opened up about his experiences at S-21 and became an advocate for human rights issues in Cambodia. He also became an ambassador for the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21), which was established to commemorate those who were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime. The museum serves as a reminder to never forget what happened during this dark period in history and to honor those who lost their lives.
Bou Meng has become an important figure in Cambodia's history, as he is one of the few survivors from S-21 who has spoken out about his experiences. His story has been told around the world, inspiring many people with his courage and strength despite all that he had endured. In 2004, Bou Meng received an honorary doctorate from York University in Canada for his work promoting human rights and justice in Cambodia.
In addition to speaking out about his experience at S-21, Bou Meng has also become involved with various organizations that are dedicated to helping victims of human rights violations around the world. He has worked closely with Amnesty International on various projects aimed at raising awareness about human rights issues throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.
Bou Meng's connection to S-21 and its museum is both personal and profound - it serves as a reminder that no matter how dark times may seem, there is always hope if we stand together against injustice. His story is one that will continue to inspire generations to come - reminding us all that we must never forget what happened during this dark period in history so that it may never happen again.
The museum was established in the 1980s, following the liberation of Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge regime. It serves as a memorial to the victims of the genocide and a reminder of the country's tragic past.
Visitors will encounter the preserved prison cells, torture rooms, and haunting photographs of the prisoners. There are also testimonies, artifacts, and documentation that provide insight into the atrocities committed during the regime.
The museum is now dedicated to preserving the memory of those who suffered under this brutal regime. Visitors will be able to see firsthand the horrific conditions that prisoners were subjected to during their time at S-21. The walls are lined with photographs of victims, many taken shortly before their deaths. There are also displays of shackles and other instruments used for torture.
The museum also houses a memorial room dedicated to Vann Nath, a prisoner who survived his imprisonment at S-21 and went on to become an artist and activist for human rights in Cambodia. His paintings depict his experiences at S-21, providing visitors with an intimate look into what life was like there.
The museum also contains documents such as letters from prisoners and their families, as well as records from interrogations and confessions made by prisoners while they were detained at the prison. These documents provide insight into how prisoners were treated during their time at S-21.
In addition to these artifacts, visitors can also visit several outdoor exhibits located on the grounds of the former prison. These exhibits include a monument dedicated to those who perished during the Khmer Rouge regime, as well as replicas of cells used for solitary confinement during this period.
Visitors can also take part in guided tours led by survivors or former guards from S-21 who share their personal experiences with guests. This provides visitors with an even more intimate look into what life was like under this oppressive regime.
The museum serves as a documentation center, preserving the history and testimonies of survivors, and educating visitors about the crimes and atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime. It plays a crucial role in keeping the memory of the genocide alive.
The Killing Fields, such as Choeung Ek, were execution sites where S-21 prisoners were taken to be killed. The connection to the museum lies in its role as a memorial site that pays tribute to the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.
The term “Killing Fields” was coined by journalist Dith Pran in 1979, and refers to the many sites across Cambodia where mass executions and burials took place during this period. It is estimated that between 1.7 and 2 million people were killed under the Khmer Rouge’s rule, with many of these deaths taking place in the Killing Fields.
The Killing Fields are now a memorial site, and are visited by tourists from around the world every year. The most famous of these sites is located at Choeung Ek, which is about 17 kilometers outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. At Choeung Ek, visitors can see mass graves, as well as a memorial stupa filled with the skulls of victims who were killed there. The stupa stands as a stark reminder of the brutality that occurred during this period in Cambodian history.
In addition to visiting the Killing Fields, tourists can also visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. This museum was formerly known as Security Prison 21 (S-21), and was used as a prison and interrogation center by the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. During this time, thousands of prisoners were tortured and executed at S-21 before being taken to one of the Killing Fields for burial. Today, the museum serves as a memorial to those who died at S-21 and elsewhere under Khmer Rouge rule, and includes photographs of victims as well as displays about life under Pol Pot’s regime.
The Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum are closely related because they both serve as reminders of what happened during this dark period in Cambodian history. Visiting both sites gives visitors an understanding not only of what happened during this time but also how it affected people’s lives then and now. By visiting both sites together, visitors can gain a better understanding of how violence affects people throughout history – an understanding that will hopefully help prevent similar atrocities from happening again in future generations.
The Extraordinary Chambers, also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, are a special court established to prosecute the crimes of the Khmer Rouge era. The court's efforts align with the museum's mission to seek justice for the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable.
Visitors can honor the memory of the victims by approaching their visit with solemnity and respect. They can pay tribute by learning about the history, listening to survivor testimonies, and reflecting on the tragic consequences of the Khmer Rouge regime.
The entrance fee is $5 USD for adults, $3 USD for children under 12, and free for children under 6.
The museum is open from 8am to 5pm every day except public holidays.
Safety is always a concern when visiting any museum or historical site, but at Tuol Sleng there are no safety risks to worry about. The museum is well-maintained and staffed by friendly staff who are there to help you get the most out of your visit.
When it comes to dress code, visitors should wear clothing that is respectful and appropriate for a museum setting. No shorts or tank tops are allowed in the museum; instead, visitors should wear long pants or skirts and shirts with sleeves. Shoes should be closed-toe; flip flops are not allowed inside the museum grounds.
As far as fitness level goes, there isn’t too much physical activity involved in visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. There are several buildings onsite that visitors can explore at their own pace; however, some parts of the grounds may be difficult for those with limited mobility due to uneven terrain or stairs. In general though, most people should have no problem navigating around the museum grounds without any difficulty.
This 2-week Vietnam and Cambodia tour visits the regional highlights which have drawn tourists for many years, including Hanoi, Halong Bay, colonial Hoi An, the Mekong Delta and Angkor Wat. We also include 2 overnight home-stays.
This two week family adventure takes you from Hanoi in the North to Saigon in the south, visiting Hoi An en route. Paced to suit families with children this tour is packed with adventure to keep the children occupied throughout.
Need some travel inspiration or looking for some handy travel tips? Our blog provides excellent insight into our travel destinations - from tour updates to country guides, packing lists to little known things to do, you'll find it all in our travel blog.
Discover the haunting past of Cambodia at Choeung Ek Killing Fields and Genocidal Center. Unearth chilling truths about Khmer Rouge, S-21 Prison, and the genocidal history.
Discover the rich heritage of Cambodia at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, the official residence since 1866, showcasing Khmer grandeur along the riverfront.
Discover the Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo) and Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Explore Khmer heritage with the Emerald Buddha statue and exquisite Baccarat crystal at Preah Keo Morakot.
Experience the unique and vibrant atmosphere of Skun Market in Cambodia, the world-famous spider market. Shop for exotic souvenirs, traditional food, and handmade goods from local artisans.
Discover the rich history of Phnom Penh with must-see attractions like the National Museum, Silver Pagoda, and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Explore things to do in Phnom and Cambodia.
Explore Old Quarter of Hanoi on a unique 2-hour Cyclo Tour. Ride through the streets of Vietnam, relax, and take in the highlights locally and traditionally.
Discover the rich Vietnamese history of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the capital city.
Embark on the best Halong Bay cruise for a mesmerizing journey through the stunning landscapes and captivating junk tours in this Vietnamese paradise.