Tourists visiting Cambodia always skip the village of Anlong Veng. And to be honest, they are quite right to do so. But historically, Anlong Veng, and especially its surroundings are very interesting. This is the place where the fugitive leader Pol Pot (1925-1998) could hide for almost 20 years after the fall of his regime. And if you know that this man was responsible for the death of 1 to 2 million people, it sounds quite strange. You can visit his shelter and his grave. The grave will cost you 2 dollars. If you would like to visit it, please read on…
History – Pol Pot survives in the jungle
Pol Pot was the leader of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. It is estimated that between one and two million people died under his harsh rule. He fled in 1979 when neighbouring Vietnam invaded Cambodia. The reason for this was that Cambodia had previously tried to take over Vietnamese villages. The Cambodian army was overrun within two weeks. And Pol Pot? He fled, but where to?
Pol Pot left for the jungle at Anlong Veng, near the Thai border. This place was strategic. If the Cambodian army nearly found him, he could always flee to Thailand. In 1998 the army was close by, but then Pol Pot died at the age of 83. He would never be convicted of his atrocities.
Sightseeing – What to do in Anlong Veng?
There are several possibilities to visit the Khmer Rouge sites. First, you can do that by a day trip from Siem Reap. But you can also go to Anlong Veng yourself and arrange for a motorbike guide at the roundabout to take you there. This costs between 15 and 20 dollars. I don’t recommend renting a motorbike. The road to his hideout or that of his companions is pretty bad. I was sweating a lot on the back of a motorbike.
You only go to Anlong Veng for the places that have to do with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. And there are still a number of them:
- Pol Pot’s grave
- The hideout of Pol Pot
- Ta-Mok’s House (in Anlong Veng)
- Ta-Mok’s house
- Statue of the Khmer Rouge
Ta-Mok (1926-2006) was a military chief nicknamed ‘The Butcher’. Mainly because he is held responsible for the many mass murders committed by the Khmer Rouge. Other houses or residences of high-ranking members of the Khmer Rouge can be found in the area. Read here more about Pol Pot’s grave.
Accommodation – Where to stay in Anlong Veng?
Anlong Veng has some accommodation that is generally not found on booking sites. I spent the night in Bot Uddom Guesthouse and paid $8 for it. The owner speaks good English and you can contact him via facebook for availability of a room. But I assure you… there is always a room available.
Next destination in Cambodia?
At the roundabout you can arrange transport for your next destination. There you will find several taxis or bus companies that can take you to Siem Reap (for Angkor Wat) or to Sra Aem for the Preah Vihear Temple.
Do you have more tips, ideas or remarks? Please feel free to leave a message below.