War Museum Siem Reap – All you need to know

Going to the War Museum Siem Reap? Get all the info you need to visit the only War Museum in Cambodia, learn about the Khmer Rouge, and see or handle old war machines.

Siem Reap War Museum

While we were in Cambodia, Thomas wanted to visit the War Museum Siem Reap. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly psyched to go, but I went there with an open mind.

The War Museum – not to be confused with the Landmine Museum – is on the outskirts of the city. We simply took a tuk-tuk for a few dollars.

If you’re interested in Cambodian war history or simply want to know more about the country, the War Museum is a good place to start. Here’s all you need to know to plan a trip there.

Read next: 12 things to do in Siem Reap

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Join a tour of the War Museum Siem Reap

From Siem Reap, you can join a day tour of the War Museum.

You’ll start at Phnom Kulen National Park, taking in the River of a Thousand Lingas and swimming beneath a waterfall.

Following this, you’ll visit the Wat Thmey Killing Fields and the War Museum in Siem Reap.

Book here – Kulen Mountain, Killing Fields, and War Museum Tour (⭐ 5/5)

What to expect inside Siem Reap War Museum

Once you reach Siem Reap War Museum, you’ll pay for entrance and be assigned a tour guide if you want. You can also join a day tour here.

They’re not just ordinary guides. Each one has experienced the war firsthand as a soldier, so he’ll also tell you his personal history and experience during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Inside the war museum, you’ll find a unique collection of war machines and a minor gallery with rare photos of landmine victims and the war. 

Siem Reap War Museum
Siem Reap War Museum

A soldier’s story: The Cambodian genocide

At first impression, Siem Reap War Museum didn’t look like much.

The military equipment was damaged and in poor shape. There were no visitors. And the guides didn’t seem that interested. It wasn’t until we came to the landmine section that our guide gave us a personal perspective of Cambodia’s tragic war history.

That changed the whole experience for me.

Our guide was a former soldier who lost his leg in the conflict. He had experienced firsthand what the Khmer Rouge had done to his country, and he had the battle scars to prove it: a missing leg, several gunshot wounds, and a bullet still inside his chest.

He told his story and that of Cambodia with dignity and emotion, but never expressed anger or resentment.

Listening to the history of the wars and atrocities in Cambodia over the last three decades of the 20th century touched me deeply.

Siem Reap War Museum

A unique collection of war machines

We walked around the outdoor museum after that. Although the Siem Reap War Museum is spread out in a relatively small area, there are still many things to see.

In the center, there are rows with heavy armor including T-54 tanks, a helicopter Mil Mi-8, the jet fighter aircraft MiG-19, and the field artillery gun 85-mm divisional gun D-44. You will also see artillery pieces, anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers, and piles of disarmed mines, bombs, and shells.

The weaponry and artillery are displayed under the canopies of fruit trees.

Aside from the weathered collection of weapons, tanks, and gear, there is also a deep pit – the site of a former mass grave from the Cambodian Civil War.

Siem Reap War Museum
Siem Reap War Museum
Siem Reap War Museum
Siem Reap War Museum
Siem Reap War Museum

Gallery of Khmer Rouge Victims

At the museum, we also saw war photographs of landmine victims, skulls, and armed children.

Every photo was a reminder of the horrible Khmer Rouge regime and Cambodia’s dark past, where millions of innocent people were killed under Pol Pot’s leadership.

Siem Reap War Museum
Siem Reap War Museum

Why you should visit the War Museum Siem Reap

Visiting the Siem Reap War Museum can definitely be a learning experience if you manage your expectations.

This isn’t the place to get in-depth knowledge of the history of the Khmer Rouge and specific war facts. But on a personal level, it provides lessons we must never forget.

I can only speak for myself, but listening to the personal stories of a former soldier was the draw for me and it’s the main reason to visit. 

As they state on their website, the purpose of the museum is to keep the memory and history of Cambodia alive and to preserve the unique collection for posterity.

Siem Reap War Museum

Important info about the War Museum

If you want to know more about Siem Reap War Museum, check out the local website

  • Opening hours: 8 AM – 5.30 PM
  • Entrance fee: $5
  • Free tour guide but donations are appreciated
  • Tour duration: 1 hour
Siem Reap War Museum

Siem Reap War Museum

Planning on visiting the war museum? Ask me anything in the comments!

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  1. Interesting post, prob not something I would have visited, so cool I can experience via you. Not really into war, it makes me sad, especially seeing people that have been really harmed.

    1. Yeah, I felt the same. It makes me sad, but somehow I feel it’s nessesary to know the background. Several years ago, I went to Theresienstadt and even though it felt horrible, I didn’t regret going. It helps us remember and never repeat it.

    1. It was definitely the highlight of the experience. Talking to locals always gives better insight into culture & history so I always make sure to interact when I travel.

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