Young Pioneer Tours

Dark Tourism Guide to Phnom Penh

As the capital and most important city in Cambodia Phnom Penh is a great place for tourists on the bamboo trail. There is also a whole other side to the city, we present our dark tourism guide to Phnom Penh.

Despite what many think Cambodia is not only now very much at peace, but is also a truly growing power Both economically, as well as touristically and culturally. Despite this though there is still very much a dark underbelly to the city, as well as its Khmer Rouge related history which make it a perfect place for dark tourism.

Dark Tourism in Cambodia

Dark Tourism in Cambodia is largely centered around the Khmer Rouge, as well the insurgency before and after this, as well as its time under communist rule.

Outside of the capital main site include Battambang, Anlong Veng, as well as Bokor Hill, not to mention numerous border and other areas. The main sites though can be found in Phnom Penh.

Dark Tourism sites in Phnom Penh

As the centre of power in Cambodia Phnom Penh has played a key role in almost every political aspect of Cambodia, even that of the Khmer Rouge, despite being evacuated.

We have listed some of the main dark tourism in Phnom Penh spots, as well as some lesser known ones.

S21– This site is most well known as the main prison camp during Democratic Kampuchea and is one of the main tourist attractions of Phnom Penh. Quite often some of the few survivors are here selling books.

Choeung Ek Killing Fields – Another site that is one of the most important in Cambodia, as well as with regards to the Killing Fields. This truly macabre site is essentially if you want to understand contemporary Cambodian history. An easy day trip from downtown Phnom Penh.

The Royal Palace – Not exactly a dark tourism spot per se, but a must when visiting Phnom Penh regardless. Interestingly during the Killing Fields Sihanouk was holed up here in scenes reminiscent if Pu Yi.

Phnom Penh Railway Station – This is just a must for any tourist, as is taking the train itself, with lines to Battambang, as well as Sihanoukville. It was here in one of the rooms that the Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party was renamed the Workers Party of Kampuchea – the forerunner to the Communist Party of Kampuchea,

La Royale – A great hotel to visit, although it is of the more expensive side with regards to places to stay. This hotel was a key element of the events of the movie Killing Fields and its historical nature make it a real window into the past.

French Embassy Phnom Penh – Another site worthy of visiting and indeed a mention. Again a pivotal part of the events that went into the evacuation of westerns from Phnom Penh following the victory of the Khmer Rouge.

There are of course other worthy places to visit, such as the Win-Win monument, but we will not list absolutely everything here. This is though a list we will be looking to add to.

Phnom Penh Nightlife

With dark tourism out of the way you can now enjoy the nightlife of Phnom Penh, which for all intents is bustling now. Currently everything is on offer from rooftop bars to the seedy underbelly of the city at the riverside.

Somewhere in the middle though there is Street 172, and places such as the Big Easy, here one can truly get a feel for contemporary living in the history filed capital of Cambodia.

You can check out our Cambodia tours here.

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