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Tourism Boost for Anlong Veng

There is to be a huge tourism boost for Anlong Veng, the small Cambodian border town with Thailand and former hometown Pol Pot and the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge.

The tourism boost for Anlong Veng comes from the work of the Cambodian Documentation Center (CAM-DC) and NGO who in charge of a number of the sites related to the Khmer Rouge, particularly in Anlong Veng.

Dark Tourism Sites in Anlong Veng and beyond

The tourism boost in Anlong Veng comes from CAM-DC renovating a number of touristic sites in the town that up until now had not really been looked after.

These include the homes of Ta Mok, Pol Pot’s grave and bunker, as well as a number of other peripheral sites in the town. Anlong served not only as the last holdout o the Khmer Rouge, but also as their last rump state.

CAM-DC also control a number of other sites related to the Khmer Rouge across Cambodia, all of which are also set for some form of renovation.

What is the tourism boost for Anlong Veng?

Essentially CAM-DC are either renovating, or improving transport to a number of sites in Anlong Veng, with some projects actually being near completion.

Principal among these is the bunker of Pol Pot, as well as Khieu Samphan, which were both previously only accessible via a dirt track from the Peace observatory. This required riding a dirt bike through fairly difficult terrain, as well as asking directions. This has now changed as a road, which is car worthy leading directly to the bunker.

It is though another project that has not even started that is perhaps of the most interest. Said project is to renovate the crematorium site, as well as the trial site of Pol Pot. Currently this is little more then a dusty wreck with few signage, but the plans are to not only cover it, but also include a garden and tourist information.

Now before this sounds a bit like mausoleums off other communist leaders CAM-DC are not about promoting the Khmer Rouge, but rather warning a generation – who are quickly forgetting about the potential dangers regimes such as Angkar can bring.

What will the tourism boost for Anlong Veng mean for tourists?

So, what will this mean for tourists, as well as the hapless locals and dependents of the Khmer Rouge. Well firstly it will put these sites on an importance and acceptability level to rival that of S-21 and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields.

More importantly though it will make these Anlong Veng sites accessible for tourists, give them a reason to travel to the area and hopefully spur places such as bars, hostels and hotels making an appearance in the area.

It should also take away the stigma that currently exists with regards to travelers wanting to come and visit sites that are related to the Khmer Rouge, something that government have seemingly also been only too happy to perpetuate.

And that can only be good for us often maligned “dark tourists”.

You can check out our next Cambodia Dark Tourism Tour here.

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