Higher fees for foreigners are being charged at museums in Phnom Penh. The hike will hopefully be used for the expansion of the National Museum, which is in dire need for a renovation and expansion as only 15% of its collections are today visible.
Since July 1st, foreign visitors to museums in Phnom Penh have to fetch higher fees for entrance. Cambodia Ministry of Economy and Finance as well as Cambodia Ministry of Culture confirmed that new entry fees are now US$5 for Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (instead of US$3) and US$10 for the National Museum (instead of US$5).
The increases were originally slated for January but were delayed to help travel agencies to adjust their prices. For children up to 10 years, the fee for the National Museum is fixed at US$5. Local Cambodian visitors pay a fee of 500 Riels, the equivalent of US$0.15. On January 1st, fees for foreign visitors already increased for the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, from US$6.25 to US$10. Prices were also raised for the visit of Angkor temples.
Inaugurated in 1920, Phnom Penh National Museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of Cambodian art with some 14,000 items from prehistoric times to the early 20th century. However, according to the museum’s own account, only 1,877 works of art are on display in the museum galleries with a further 12,320 items secured in the basement storeroom. This represents only some 15.2% of all artifacts. The museum has been partially modernised in recent years with temporary exhibitions being also held regularly since a decade.
However, there is now a project to expand the facilities of the museum. In March, the government announced to relocate the Royal University of Fine Arts, located next to the National Museum in historical buildings constructed during the French colonial time in 1918. The government will spend at least $12 million to relocate the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) and build a cultural center on four hectares of land in Chroy Changvar district. No information has been given about the expansion of the National Museum so far.
Tuol Sleng Museum recalls the tragic cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime. Formerly the Chao Ponhea Yat High School, the five buildings of the complex were converted in August 1975 into a prison and interrogation centre by the Khmer Rouge. Within the school compound transformed into a prison and torture chambers, Khmer Rouge imprisoned and murdered an estimated 17,000 people until 1979.
After the invasion of Cambodia by Vietnamese troops, the prison was reopened in 1980 as a memorial museum to remember the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime and remind people of the barbarity of the Pol Pot Regime. It is one of the most emotional museum to be visited around the world. Some three million of Cambodians (a third of the population) perished during the Khmer Rouge regime…