Wat Thmey(Killing Field)

Attraction Siem Reap, Cambodia Published on: 13-11-2015

30 mins
08:00 AM - 04:00 PM
03:00 PM
03:30 PM
Attraction
0.00 USD

Wat Thmey(Killing Field) is good for

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Good for senior Senior No
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The Wat Thmey Temple is notable for being an area that served as one of the killing fields during the Khmer Rouge regime in the country.

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Why Wat Thmey(Killing Field) is special ?

The Khmer Rouge was Cambodia’s ruling party from 1975 to 1979 and was responsible for one of the worst mass killings during the 20th Century.
Under the leadership of Pol Pot, the dreaded Khmer Rouge brought Cambodia back to the old ages by forcing millions of people to leave the city and work on farms in the countryside. The communists believed that cities were tools towards capitalism. So in order to create the ideal communist society, people had to live and work in the rural areas as peasants. Peasants were viewed by the Khmer Rouge as ideal communists for the Cambodian state as they were simple, uneducated and hardworking.
The evacuation of the city was the first of many radical steps taken by the Khmer Rouge. The organization then dictated the life of every Cambodian citizen with rules on religion, money and private ownership. Communications with the outside world were eliminated and family relationships were dismantled. All rights and responsibilities were eradicated as Pol Pot declared the nation to start at “Year Zero”, signifying the end of Cambodia’s 2000-year history. The Khmer Rouge arrested any person suspected of having relations with the former government or foreign affairs. Many of these arrested people were ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Chams, Cambodian Christians and Buddhist monks.
The assassinations occurred in great numbers as it happened everywhere in the country. Most of those who were executed were buried in mass graves. To save on ammunition, executions were commonly done using hammers, spades, axe handles or sharpened bamboo sticks. Many victims were even forced to dig their own graves. The Khmer Rouge killed almost 25% of the country’s population. Almost 2 million people of Cambodia were massacred or died from diseases, starvation, exhaustion and forced labor.
The Khmer Rouge command was finally overthrown in 1979 by the invasion of the Vietnamese troops after many violent border confrontations. In the years that followed, Cambodia went through a process of healing and reopening to the international community. Survivors told their stories as the 1980s Hollywood movie “The Killing Fields” brought the Khmer Rouge victims to worldwide attention.
The Wat Thmey Temple is a live monastery where a large Stupa memorial can be found. The stupa has glass sides filled with the skulls and bones of those who died during the Khmer Rouge. These have been diligently gathered by local residents in memory of their families and friends. The Wat Thmei Temple is the spot of one of the terrible killing sites where hundreds of Cambodian civilians were tortured, killed and buried. The mass of bones and skulls at the stupa shows the cruel behavior of the Khmer Rouge at the time.

What to explore at Wat Thmey(Killing Field)?

Today, the monastery serves as an orphanage and school that is often visited by several tour buses. Although the temple remains a startling sight, visitors will hear the laughter of children and the sounds of daily Cambodian life in the background to remind visitors that life has certainly moved on from the once dreaded killing field.

More than just a holocaust tourist spot, many have come to the Wat Thmey Temple to pay homage and to remember those who lost their lives in the Cambodia Killing Fields. It is a reminder of a dark chapter in recent Cambodian History that will always remain marked in the minds of those who had to endure it.

How to get to Wat Thmey(Killing Field)?

It's near the Angkor Wat ticket office so you can easily access by tuk tuk or walking. Just ask the driver and he will direct you. 

Selling points

  • Worth a short visit.
  • Sad historical place
  • Saddest day in Cambodian history
  • Good to know but so much pain.
  • Worth a visit to understand history
3 days with friends in Siem Reap

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Duration
3.0 days
Estimated
457.90 USD
Total travel distance
km
Number of places
25 places

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Location

Address

Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Tips for you

  • There are information boards in English with photographs explaining the history and the background of the Khmer Rouge, its leaders and the atrocities carried out.
    Equipment
  • Note that there is another Killing Field in Phnom Penh. This one is smaller.
    Other
  • This place is not too far from Angkor Park ticket office”
    Location
  • The best way to explore this place is to visit with a guide who can explain more about the information for you. A tuk tuk driver who can speak English is also a good option.
    Experience

Reviews

TripAdvisor View more

We had read about some of the horrors that the Cambodian people have been through. Nearly every Cambodian citizen's life has been touched by the reign of the Khmer Rouge. This spot is one small memorial to the people that were killed. Remains of some victims are housed in a shrine of sorts where I felt like I could look into those hollow eye sockets and imagine what horrors those people went through.Read up on it a little before you go, and it will have a lot of meaning.While there, go into the temple where there are beautiful colorful Buddhist paintings covering the walls.Along the front wall of this site is a line of gods using a snake in a kind of "tug'o'war," a common theme that's seen at the area's temples.

TripAdvisor View more

The visit to Wat Thmey was the very first place of tourist interest (historical importance / significance) that I visited in my visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia.It was a very emotional moment for me, as my tour guide described the events in the period 1975 - 1979.And to see the museum in person ... Mildly said, it was a nerve wracking experience.

TripAdvisor View more

We visited here at the end of a long day sightseeing. Our tuk tuk driver also turned out to have a good command of English which was a real bonus. As the day passed, we chatted and little by little he began to tell us about himself .....Both his parents and all three of his siblings perished at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. At ten years of age, he was already working 18hr days in the rice fields of nearby Battambang - guarded by armed teenagers only a few years older than himself - and witnessing horrors that no one, let alone a child, should ever have to see. He now works part time with an NGO in Siem Reap that helps children, including orphans, through a number of programmes. On the way back to our guesthouse, he first took us to visit the local NGO school for blind & deaf children and then to Wat Thmey, which was close by. This visit, to a small temple and stoupa containing skulls and long bones of Khmer Rouge victims of the immediate area, was a sobering experience. By contrast, the temple grounds in which we stood were filled with the laughter of children playing happily after school. Evidence of hope for the future of this beautiful country and its wonderful people.

TripAdvisor View more

We had read about some of the horrors that the Cambodian people have been through. Nearly every Cambodian citizen's life has been touched by the reign of the Khmer Rouge. This spot is one small memorial to the people that were killed. Remains of some victims are housed in a shrine of sorts where I felt like I could look into those hollow eye sockets and imagine what horrors those people went through.Read up on it a little before you go, and it will have a lot of meaning.While there, go into the temple where there are beautiful colorful Buddhist paintings covering the walls.Along the front wall of this site is a line of gods using a snake in a kind of

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