Choeung Ek Memorial: Rising amid 129 mass graves (43 of which remain untouched) is a blinding white stupa memorializing the approximately 17,000 people executed here by the Khmer Rouge between mid-1975 and December 1978. Displayed on shelves behind the stupa’s glass panels are over 8000 skulls found during excavations here in 1980 – a moving reminder of Cambodia’s dark past.

Some of the skulls still bear witness to the fact that their owners were bludgeoned to death for the sake of saving precious bullets.

Certainly, wandering to sounds of joyful children playing at a nearby school and spotting human bone and clothing poking from the churned ground startlingly brings home the striking contrast of Cambodia today to the dark abyss of its recent past.