On my last day in Siem Reip I visited the Cambodian War Museum.
This museum covers the last 3 decades of the 20th century. If you are interested in military equipment then you have hit the jackpot here, even if it does not tell the history of Cambodia and some of the tanks are a tad bit rusty.
I love this shit however, as does my war historian buddy Aiden Casey. So even if this is a bit of information for him, to consider this as a future trip and some cool photo’s to look at then I’m happy with that. What is an added bonus is, some of the money from the $5 entrance fee and any tip you want to give for the free guide who tells you a bit of history, goes to a fund to remove tons of landmines that are still in the country and for those affected by them.
Crazy to think that I could go for a cycle one day off the beaten track and decide to cut across a field and step on a landmine. The chances are very slim, but it’s not impossible.
This museum is open air, so all of the large equipment is sitting outside in the open air, hence why it may rust. There is a mix of Chinese, American and Soviet military hardware such as tanks, airplanes, helicopters, landmines and small arms as my photo’s hopefully shows.
What was cool is they allow you to pick up the guns, though my guide was not too happy with me pointing the rocket launcher at him and tellin him to run. Just a bit o fun neebs.
I had to consider whether some of my shots were distasteful, considering the damage done by most of everything on show. I think that’s its beauty however and what makes it so unique and more importantly, so emotional. In its simplest form, it does not give you too much information, it enables you to look at each piece, maybe read a short bit if there is a board, but from the photo’s, gain a perspective of what damage it could and had done.
My guide told me that most of the tanks are empty shells, because people had raided the metals to sell. Why not I think? I later found a website, that advertises the museum and had photo’s of my guide when he was 16, early 80’s, in jungle with his gun.
Pol Pot was a dick by the way.