Want to see Pol Pot's grave or his broken toilet seat? How about a visit to the house of a feared Khmer Rouge commander known as “The Butcher”?
Welcome to the town of Anlong Veng, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold which hopes to become the next must-see destination on Cambodia's dark tourism trail, but which faces calls not to glorify its role in the country's bloody past.
Anlong Veng is in the area of the Dângręk
Mountains, in the far north of Cambodia. It
is located 125 km north of Siem Reap and
close to the international border crossing
with Thailand (have a look at
the map of
Cambodia). There is a dam just north of
Prepare to be underwhelmed! A tin roof and a
sign urging visitors to keep the area clean
are all the tribute given to Brother Number
One by his country.
For an organisation famed for its secrecy,
one shouldn't be surprised that the exact
circumstances behind Pol Pot's detah remain
murky. Depending on who you talk to, he was
murdered by his erstwhile comrades, poisoned
by the Thai military, suffocated due to
illness or died in his sleep -- just to name
some of the better known theories.
What is known is that once he died in April
1998, his body was cremated on a pile of old
car tires bringing to a close the life of
one of history's worst genocidal maniacs --
The grave is a simple affair, though take a
close look and you'll see the metal wire
that would have been part of the tires.
There is also a small shrine here recently
added by a Thai businessman, who, upon
paying homage to Pol Pot, dreampt the
correct lottery results and won a mozza.
Note the small statues of Pol Pot and his
wife inside the shrine.
Towards the rear of the enclosure there is a
pile of smashed porcelain - Pol Pot's toilet
Overall, it is one of the more bizarre
attractions in Cambodia, odd yet telling
that the grave has not been vandalised in
any way whatsoever.
A Thai lottery winner has erected a spirit
house on the site in honour of the former
Khmer Rouge leader, who, he claims, appeared
to him in a dream with the winning numbers.
A small pack of children often materialises
when visitors arrive.
The remains of Pol Pot's bunker
Pol Pot's House: Not
much left here but a shell of a house,
overgrown with foliage and 'decorated' with
profane graffiti. Water storage tanks, an
underground chamber and a nearby pond round
off the excitement.
Walking through the brush the guide leads me
to the spot where Pol Pot lived his final
months. After his purge, he was placed under
house arrest in a simple dwelling where he
remained until his death on April 15, 1998.
The house is gone now. While some reports
say it was hit by an RCAF shell, my escort
tells me a simpler tale. After Pol Pot died,
the house was stripped, the materials taken
elsewhere. The only signs of past habitation
are a slab of cement, a broken toilet, and a
few medicine jars and other personal
effects. I ask my escort if they'll let this
toilet disappear. "No, then there will be
nothing left for the tourists to see," he
tells me. But he offers me a token piece of
broken toilet. A souvenir of Pol's last pot.
A few meters away from the
home site is a pile of ashes with a couple
sticks on top. It is Pol Pot. His body,
thrown on a pile of tires was most
unceremoniously cremated here. My escort
reaches into the ashes pulling out what he
tells me is a bone fragment. He offers it to
me. A souvenir of Pol Pot!
Read about Pol Pot
Read about the "Killing Fields".
Read about the genocide Pol Pot.