While we were in Siem Reap, we made a trip out to visit the Cambodian Landmine Museum. It was about an hour away by tuk-tuk, but the ride itself was worth the cost (about $10USD).
We drove through small towns and villages, and by farms and roadside stands, and I really felt like we got to see a part of the real country of Cambodia, outside of the bustle of Phnom Penh and the tourists in Siem Reap.
The museum itself isn’t huge, it will only take you 35-40 minutes to go through the whole thing, depending on how closely you read all of the information there, but it’s really interesting.
It all started with a man named Aki Ra, who was a child soldier for the Khmer Rouge. As a child, he planed thousands of landmines around Cambodia. He eventually switched sides, and fought for the Vietnamese allies that were fighting against the Khmer Rouge.
Once the war was over, he saw the destruction that landmines had caused during the war, and were continuing to cause, and began finding and dismantling land mines, by himself, using just a stick and his knowledge gained from years working with all different kinds of landmines.
He kept all of the land mines he dismantled. People began to come see his work to learn more about landmines, and the museum was born. It’s been in a few locations, it used to be pretty close to Angkor Wat, but has since moved.
In addition to his work with landmines, Aki Ra and his wife also opened a school for children. They began taking in and educating children who were affected by landmines. All of the proceeds from the museum go towards the school.
As a visitor you aren’t able to visit the school, since it is disruptive to the children, but you can donate goods such as toothpaste, shampoo, shoes, etc to the school for the children when you visit, just check the wish list on the museum website so you can see what they are most in need of.
It was pretty crazy to find out that there are still an estimated 3 million landmines in Cambodia today. I would definitely recommend visiting if you have time while you’re in Siem Reap, you will get a much greater understanding of the war and the genocide in Cambodia.
You can learn more about Aki Ra and the landline museum here.