Trip to Phnom Penh 24/07/2010

July 25, 2010

On Saturday Ryan and I decided to take a trip to Phnom Penh. We travelled from the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, via TucTuc mini-bus into the city of Phnom Penh. It took approximately 1 hour on the crowded hot bus.

Our first mission was simple, FOOD!
Having no idea what to order, and not knowing the local language (Khmer), Ryan resorted to pointing to peoples plates. I decided to take a more tactful approach, I only wanted a vegetarian dish so proceeded to point at all of the meat and shake my head, then point at the vegetables and gave a thumbs up (international communications was always my strong point :-S )

After lunch we headed off to locate the Royal Palace.

In a lot of places in Cambodia you’re expected to remove your shoes when entering certain buildings, we did this before entering the palace. On leaving the palace we discovered Ryans flip-flops had gone missing, a similar pair had been left though. We assumed someone had obviously taken the wrong ones so Ryan did the only thing he could and slipped on the pair that where left. I didn’t really think too much of this and quickly went back to taking photos. Ryan following with his eyes scanning every persons feet like a slightly demented person, he was rambling on about his flip-flops the entire time. His work did however pay dividends and he was finally reunited with his flip-flops. I think it was a pretty traumatic experience for him.

After visiting the Palace we decided to jump into a Tuctuc and head over to S.21 the Genocide Museum. For $18 we hired our driver for the entire day, he wouldn’t take payment until the end of the day. He was a great driver and spoke excellent english (which came in pretty handy when we went to eat). Our driver was called Sovann Vorn, we discovered that he was training to be a tour guide. If you want to hire him then he is contactable via facebook, or email:

(Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, the former security office 21 in “Democratic Kampuchea” was created on orders of Pol Pot (Sa lut Sor), In April 17, 1975. Office 21 was called S-21 and designed for detention, interrogation, inhumane torture, and the killing after confession from the detainees were received and documented.)

About S-21 Genocide Museum

I found this place to be extremely sad, the amount of innocent lives that where lost here was just awful. I don’t think my photos could ever really show the feeling that are experienced when visiting this place.

These beds where used to torture and murder the detainees at S-21 in the most inhumane way imaginable. Being in these rooms just felt uncomfortable, I sat for a little while alone in this room to connect with my emotions. Outside I could here people laughing and joking, I just couldn’t understand how anyone could have any sort of humour in this place.

Below is a photo I took of a display that was set up. Each prisoner at S21 was photographed. There where rooms filled with so many of these displays, some with women, some with men, others just children. Every one of them had the same look in their eyes, a look of complete emptiness.

After S-21 we went over to the Killing fields. (The Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Vietnam War.

While walking around the Killing fields there where young children begging for money, I couldn’t give them money but I did give them my water.

Phnom Penh is a beautiful city with a lot going on, however a lot of people are simply trying to survive here. When you scratch the surface you can see the struggle the people have to endure, however they are still some of the friendliest people I have ever met.

wishing you all peace & love



2 Responses to “Trip to Phnom Penh 24/07/2010”

  1. Allan Lim said

    Hi there Dan, I really enjoy reading your blog… it is really in depth, meaningful, and heart warming….
    Your photographs are amazing.. and I look forward to reading your future blog entries and of course enjoying your “views” of Cambodia through your photography…

    Look forward to catching up in December…

    and as you like to say

    P & L



  2. muna said

    Dan , you managed to make me cry twice since we’ve met!

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