Phnom Penh, Cambodia




National Museum of Cambodia
Street 13, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh (opposite the Royal Palace). Open: Daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission: USD5.
The museum contains an excellent collection of art from Cambodia's "golden age" of Angkor and a lovely courtyard at the centre. A main attraction is the statue of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1219) in a mediation pose. Other exhibits worth seeing include graceful statues of Hindu gods, ancient stelae (tablets) inscribed in Sanskrit and Old Khmer and artefacts from a prehistoric burial site.
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Unfortunately, no photos may be taken inside the museum, although photography is allowed in the central courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard is the original statue of the "Leper King" (actually Yama, the Hindu god of death) from the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Archaeological Park. The pleasant little park in front of the Museum is the site of the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony, at which the success (or otherwise) of the coming harvest is determined.

National Museum of Cambodia by Dtfman

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)
Street 113, Boeng Keng Kang 3, Chamkar Morn. Open: Daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission: USD2.
A school converted into Cambodia's most important prison in 1975. As many as 17,000 people were tortured before being killed here or at the Killing Fields. The museum is easily accessible and a must-see for everyone interested in Cambodia's horrific past of the 20th century. The infamous "skull map" has been dismantled, although there are still skulls stacked in cabinets, implements of torture and disturbing photographs of people dying.

Prisoners held at S-21 stayed here for 2-3 months but many high-ranking Khmer Rouge who were later imprisoned themselves were held longer. The torture at S-21 was to make the prisoners confess to whatever crimes their captors wanted them to admit. Prisoners were given little food and regularly tortured with various devices. Only 8 prisoners survived at S-21 when the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia. Some Cambodians believe the former prison is haunted by the ghosts of the prisoners.

Genocide Museum by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

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Phnom Penh

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