You just can’t come to Cambodia and adopt a kid…sorry, I mean to Cambodia and not visit the War Museum here in Siem Reap.L ocated on the outskirt of Siem reap, North of Cambodia. It is a unique museum and quite a sad place to a reminder of the horror that took place.

It offers visitors a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century. It gives also visitors an excellent opportunity to learn more about what actually occurred during Cambodia’s ‘war years’.

After paying the entrance fee, I am given a guide to explain and help me understand about this tragic time in history. “Mean Sokhom”;,my guides name, has himself been a victim of landmines when he was just 14, causing him to lose his arm in the process.

All of the tour guides lived through the genocide and had army experience. He is a great man and I can only be humble towards his dedication to show us foreigners what the war was like here.

Throughout the open air museum, you see war machines like the tank T-54, the jet fighter aircraft MiG-19, the helicopter Mil Mi-8 and the field artillery gun 85-mm divisional gun D-44.

Before used in Cambodia, some of these war machines have even seen action during World War II. Among the collection there are also many sorts of landmines and rare photographs from the defined period of time in Cambodia.
You are encouraged to touch and hold many types of guns, from a M16 or a AK-47 (Kalashnikov) till a machine gun like the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). You can even hold a rocket launcher! And you can even stand on tanks!

This very ‘hands on’ exhibition makes it even more interesting. That is counting a snake too, who thought it’d be a good idea to wander around amongst the visitors! But all good and baby Kittie is here to follow you, but maybe not protect you as this snake ate his mummy just a week ago…I wonder if I should keep this rocket launcher as protection?…Anyway, moving on!

While the majority of museums in the world have a long history, the War Museum Cambodia is a young museum; being built In February 2001.

The War Museum was built on 2 hectares of land by the Ministry of National Defense and in 2013 the War Museum Cambodia has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award.

In the same year the first foreigner worked for the War Museum Cambodia. Richard Esselaar started to work as director assistant and marketing manager for the museum.

During this time improvements were being made in the museum (e.g. descriptions were being made for the photos hanging in the museum with the help of the first volunteer working for the museum), internal organization changes had been applied and working conditions for the personnel had been improved. Marketing was introduced in this period of time and visitor numbers rose significantly.

Of course Siem Reap is more famous for the Angkor Wat, but you would truly benefit about a visit to this place.


If you enjoyed this and wish to know more, it is highly advised to visit the Kmher Killing Fields in PhnomPenh called Choeung Ek: http://www.phnompenh.gov.kh/phnom-penh-city-choeung-ek-memorial-139.html