Killing Fields | Phnom Penh Politics: History and Present



Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh is worth a visit for two reasons. Firstly, it’s historical importance. This is where visitors can witness the 1960s – 90s atrocities of the dictator, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime’s genocide through visiting the high school turned torture prison, now museum – S21.

The natural next steps in a Phnom Penh itinerary would be a visit to Cambodia’s Killing Field where Pol Pot murdered 20,000 of the 1.5 million Cambodians who died during his communist reign by chopping their heads off and letting the bodies fall into mass graves. If you are interested in history, politics, and culture, the very recent sombre past events of Phnom Penh has a lot of offer – check out our article on museums in Phnom Penh.

Secondly, Phnom Penh is not just about the past, a lot of hard work has gone into developing the city and this is evident in the various charity projects that run throughout and on the outskirts of the city. We visited two, and you can read about them in our post on nonprofit work in Phnom Penh, a real eye opener and appreciation of how people live (I still discuss this part of our South East Asia trip with my junior students, three years on).

We extended our stay from three to five days which gave us the chance to check out the more unusual things to do in Phnom Penh, including going to see a film at the cinema from the comfort of a red velvet bed!


Angkor Wat is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sights that I am sad we missed out on. Angkor Archaeological Park is 400 km2, it’s big however you can see the three main temples in one day if short on time. Do try to see a sunrise or sunset, weather permitting!

Angkor Wat Cambodia


The Cambodian riel is the official currency in Cambodia but the U.S dollar (note form) is the second unofficial currency!

Cambodia can be reached by economic airlines such as Air Asia from other Asian countries. The cost of living is relatively cheap (not as cheap as Vietnam but not as costly as Thailand). Accommodation in Cambodia is economical. Hotels in Phnom Penh start at around £29 and those with a pool £37, whereas a dorm bed in a hostel can cost £2 for 8/10 rating! Airbnb operates in Cambodia with the average entire home rental cost coming in at £51 whereas a private room is cheaper at £31 and go as low as £10. Sign up using our referral code for money off, we’ll get credit too so thank you!

Local food can be cheap (£3) but Western-style food is more expensive, this is the case for many Asian countries. Local beer comes in at a mere £1 for 0.5 litres. Tuk-tuks operate in Phnom Penh and cost a couple of dollars.

Environmentally cautious but don’t want to get sick? Check out our review of purifying and filtering water bottles

Have wanderlust but don’t know where to start? This is how we do it – as Montell Jordan says

Children in Phnom Penh Cambodia