Lifeless eyes stared back at me from the other side of the glass, their hollowed and blackened recesses screaming out in anguish. A web of fissures radiated from a dime-sized hole in their stained and hairless temporal lobe.

A second pair of empty sockets to the left, another to the right, another above, another below. Stepping back revealed thousands of soiled skulls, each defaced in similar fashion – the remains of entire villages. Beneath my feet, bone fragments, teeth and clothes leached up through the muddy soil, gruesome evidence of a horrific chapter in the annals of a small country in South-East Asia. This was Choeung Ek, the most notorious killing field of the Khmer Rouge and the final resting place of 8895 innocent Cambodian souls.

No story about Cambodia would be complete without mention of Pol Pot and his genocidal regime which, in the second half of the 1970s, murdered as many as two million of its own citizens. But I had come to embrace where it is today, absorb its vibrant and animated culture and delve into what its future holds – while exploring its rich back-country aboard a fleet of Land Rover Defenders.

Read the full article in the May issue –


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