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After arriving from Vietnam in Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh. We decided to visit the S21 Prison or Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which was a high school until 1975.

Pol Pot the dictator of the Khmer Rouge regime, turned it into the security prison and interrogation center (S21) until 1979 when Vietnam took Phnom Penh.

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Visiting S21 Prison

Tuol Sleng Genocide museum opening hours were between 9-5 and the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum price was $3 without audio and $6 with audio(best option).

S21 prison had four main buildings (A, B, C, and D). Building A housed the special prisoners with had large cells while Building B holds galleries of photographs of the prisoners when arrived at S21 prison.

Building C has the small prison cells and finally, Building D holds torture instruments. The buildings were encased in electrified barbed wire and the windows were closed in with iron bars.

S21 prison Rules

Prisoners were beaten and tortured with electric shocks, searing hot metal instruments and hanging, performed medical experiments on, had their fingernails and other body removed while pouring alcohol on the wounds, holding prisoners’ heads underwater, and women were sometimes raped by the interrogators.

Prisoners’ families were often brought into S21 to be interrogated, tortured, and later killed. An estimated 20,000 people were imprisoned and tortured, with only 12 survivors.

I hadn’t included pictures of the various tortures used on a prisoner on display in the museum as there are fairly graphic.

s-21 Prison beds
S21 Prison Small Cell
S21 Prison encaged by barbed wire

Khmer Rouge regime was responsible for killing over 2 million people out of 8 million people. This was over a quarter of the population.

This could have been higher if the Vietnamese Army had not toppled the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

The reason for all of this is that they wanted to turn Cambodia into a self-sufficient, classless society. Schools, hospitals, factories, and banks were all closed. Cities were completely emptied with the entire population sent to work camps.

Those who were rich, and well educated. Or anyone with the slightest ability to undermine the regime was taken to torture camps.

With their families and prisons where they were forced to confess to treason, resulting in their execution.

S21 Prison General Information

Tuol Sleng Genocide museum opening hours were between 9 to 5 and the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum price was $3 without audio and $6 with audio(best option).

Wrapping Up

And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on my visit to the S21 prison in Cambodia has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there are any more places to visit in Cambodia.

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