Pick up at your hotel in Phnom Penh, and heading to Teul Slong was simply a high school building in central Phnom Penh. But during the Khmer Rouge era in Cambodia, from 1975 to 1979, it became an infamous interrogation prison known as S-21. Today, the building remains as a genocide museum, telling the tragic story of the thousands of innocent Cambodians who were tortured or killed on its grounds.
Walking through the narrow corridors and former classrooms of the buildings will give you an insight into Cambodia’s turbulent past. Hear the stories of some of the victims and see the interrogation devices used to inflict suffering on the local population. Hundreds of the haunting, black and white photos of prisoners are now on display in the museum.
While this may be a somber experience, it is an excellent way to gain a new understanding of this important chapter in Cambodian history. From Toul Sleng, drive 10 miles (17 km) from Phnom Penh to visit Cheung Ek, the site of a mass grave and a field made famous by the movie The Killing Fields.
Today, a large memorial commemorates the thousands of victims who died in these fields under the reign of the Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot. This journey into Cambodia’s past will provide you with a background on the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime.
After visiting this and hearing story of the Cambodian people, you will know how to appreciate life at home.