For the tourist interesting in getting around during their vacation and viewing the local sites Phnom Penh has a lot to offer. One of the places of interest that most tourists visit is the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. This site is one of the most prolific sites in Cambodia and has left a mark on the history of the country. The Cambodian government urges tourists to visit the site when in Cambodia and has subsidised the prices of the visit to the site for a mere $6.
The tour to the Killing Fields are led by Audio guides. Tourists were headsets and are guided through the fields while they listen intently to the story of the massacre of the innocent women, men and children. Tourists are also allowed to record the session. The tour guide will start by telling you to put on your headphones as he starts to relay the horrific details of the massacre. The tour is led down a pre set path. The tour leads to a central pit where bones of those tortured and killed are still visible. The next stop is at a tree of equal significance to the massacre. Lastly the tour guide takes the group to the final stop where the civilian villagers were put to their end.
A tour to the Killing Fields is definitely not a tourist attraction in true sense of the word "attraction". The tour to the site is definitely not for the faint at heart or for young children on tour with their parents. history buffs will gain a lot from the tour though. The tour is unlike others with a walk through a sanitized museum with artifacts on display. A tour of the Killing fields is walking through actual skulls and remains of innocent people who lost their lives.
While on the audio tour in the Killing fields one can also enjoy the signs put up at each place of importance. Though these signs do not give too much of an insight into the history they compliment the narration of the tour guide. Tourists are also allowed to take pictures of the pictures put up at the tour sites.
Tourists are known to have had emotional meltdowns when at the grave sites or as they go through the tour. The entire scene is horrific and if you are faint of heart ensure that you have tissue paper with you. At the grave site tourists are permitted to leave momentos like bracelets and friendship bands or tokens of love as an offering to those who lost their lives. Flowers and incense is offered at the grounds by most tourists as a peace offering.
Booking a tour of the Killing Fields can be done at most hotels. Inquire at the Front Desk or Reception of the tours offered. Most hotels have associated with this tour and will be able to offer guests a great deal. Alternatively, one can book a tour at the site itself. The tour grounds are a mere 30 minutes ride by tuktuk from the city centre (where most tourists hotels are located). Once at the site book a tour with the guide or with at the booking office.
While at the site beware of locals who often beg at the grave sites or at the fence. While this does take away from the tour it also is a reminder of the lives of the locals and the poor lifestyle prevalent to date. The entire tour lasts for 1.5 hours to 2 hours for those who choose to go through the entire tour and soak in all the details. The tour is offered in several different languages so one can rest assured that they can enjoy the narration of the tour in the language they are most comfortable in.
The tour of the Killing Fields though one of the most common and popular tours booked by tourists is not a typical tour that leaves one in high spirits after; however it is one that offers an insight into reality of the recent past. Tourists travelling from the Americas and Europe and those who live generally sheltered lives surrounded by non violence tend to have a deeper sense of depression and apathy for the massacre and loss Cambodia suffered.