Cambodia’s abandoned airports

This is a part of our Cambodia forums to chat about anything Cambodia-related. This discussion forum is at the top of our site because it's usually the busiest part of the expat community chatter with random topics on just about everything, including expat life, Khmer politics, Cambodian blogs we have or have come across, or whatever else our members want to discuss. Whether you're an expatriate, tourist, Cambodian or random traveler just passing through South East Asia, you are welcome to talk about anything or start new topics yourselves.
User avatar
Kung-fu Hillbilly
Expatriate
Posts: 1833
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 11:26 am
Reputation: 1407
Location: Behind you.
Australia

Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:48 am

Image
Battambang's old airport serves as an informal market during the evenings. Charlotte Pert

The forgotten legacy of Cambodia’s abandoned airports

By Moeun Nhean

Cambodia’s aviation sector continues to grow, with airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville serving both domestic and international flights. Yet historically, this small country once had an even bigger network of domestic airports. Today these abandonded airstrips lie desolate and forgotten....

In total, at least 15 airports have been built and operated since aviation first arrived in Cambodia with Japan’s brief military occupation in the 1940s. The Japanese are said to have used forced labour to construct small air strips throughout the country, including the site that would later serve as Phnom Penh’s airport.

Some of the country’s more notable old airports include:

full https://www.phnompenhpost.com/supplemen ... d-airports
The idea that seeing the world is going from place to place to look at obvious things is an illusion natural to dull minds.
User avatar
CEOCambodiaNews
Expatriate
Posts: 26146
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:13 am
Reputation: 1046
Location: CEO Newsroom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contact:
Cambodia

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:52 pm

Kampong Chhnang Airport
The abandoned airport is a strangely intact remnant of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime.


The military airport was the product of forced labor under the horrific governance of the Khmer Rouge, followers of the communist regime that ruled Cambodia during the second half of the 20th century. Construction on this military airbase began in 1977, but it was never completed—the project was abandoned in 1979 when Vietnamese forces captured Phnom Penh.

Though never used for any actual aviation, the land holds several abandoned roadways leading to shells of old buildings, water tanks, and the vast airstrips themselves. Adjacent to the runway is a small control tower-type building. The site is an impressive one, but it remains a sobering example of the atrocities committed here.

Thousands of workers died while building the airport. They were forced to work in inhumane conditions under the reign of the radical regime. Many of the laborers were members of the military who had been sent to work at the site as a punishment. Their work was overseen by engineers from China, as the Chinese government had a keen interest in helping build the airport.

Know Before You Go

While the roads leading to decaying buildings are easily accessible, there is a guard posted at the runway. They may be unconcerned by your presence, or you may not be allowed to pass. Alternately, some visitors have been required to pay a "fee." Going with someone that speaks Khmer is the least stressful way to access the site. Additionally, it appears locals might be using the control tower and additional buildings for their own purposes, so it is best to maintain a respectful distance .
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kam ... ng-airport
Cambodia Expats Online: Bringing you breaking news from Cambodia before you read it anywhere else!

Have a story or an anonymous news tip for CEO? Need advertising? CONTACT US

Cambodia Expats Online is the most popular community in the country. JOIN TODAY

Follow CEO on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Instagram
User avatar
AndyKK
Expatriate
Posts: 2023
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:32 am
Reputation: 396
Cambodia

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by AndyKK » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:55 pm

Above a quote about possibly going with a Khmer. The old airport at Battambang is one of them whom does strictly enforces payment. Go along with a Khmer, walk drive or ride up to the two or more military guards on the gate and offer your payment. Watch the reaction of your Khmer friend when the guard waves you in, due to it being free entry fee for westerners. But there the Khmer will be stopped to pay 1000reil.
User avatar
John Bingham
Expatriate
Posts: 6136
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:26 pm
Reputation: 2033
Yemen

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by John Bingham » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:53 pm

Back in the old days every provincial center had an airport, back in the 50s/ 60s when the roads were barely existent outside of town. Later on with wars and what not going on they were the only way to get around. If you look at old guides to Cambodia in the early 90s flying was the only way to go. With the improvements in security and infrastructure it is no longer essential to fly so obviously a lot of provincial airports have decayed.
kiwiincambodia
Expatriate
Posts: 4266
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 1:06 pm
Reputation: 462
Korea North

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by kiwiincambodia » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:06 am

CEOCambodiaNews wrote:Kampong Chhnang Airport
The abandoned airport is a strangely intact remnant of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime.


The military airport was the product of forced labor under the horrific governance of the Khmer Rouge, followers of the communist regime that ruled Cambodia during the second half of the 20th century. Construction on this military airbase began in 1977, but it was never completed—the project was abandoned in 1979 when Vietnamese forces captured Phnom Penh.

Though never used for any actual aviation, the land holds several abandoned roadways leading to shells of old buildings, water tanks, and the vast airstrips themselves. Adjacent to the runway is a small control tower-type building. The site is an impressive one, but it remains a sobering example of the atrocities committed here.

Thousands of workers died while building the airport. They were forced to work in inhumane conditions under the reign of the radical regime. Many of the laborers were members of the military who had been sent to work at the site as a punishment. Their work was overseen by engineers from China, as the Chinese government had a keen interest in helping build the airport.

Know Before You Go

While the roads leading to decaying buildings are easily accessible, there is a guard posted at the runway. They may be unconcerned by your presence, or you may not be allowed to pass. Alternately, some visitors have been required to pay a "fee." Going with someone that speaks Khmer is the least stressful way to access the site. Additionally, it appears locals might be using the control tower and additional buildings for their own purposes, so it is best to maintain a respectful distance .
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kam ... ng-airport
Been out there once the guards didn’t even ask when we went through and zoomed up and down the runway in an old land cruiser just for shits and giggles.

We did get stopped when we tried to go on the other side towards the “mountain”. The guard on the gate said it’s a quarry and that’s where a lot of the stone came from to build the airport. Sounded like bullshit at the time. Does anyone actually know what they are hiding over that way?
Check out my website for all things Kiwi in Cambodia at https://tiny.cc/j410iy
User avatar
John Bingham
Expatriate
Posts: 6136
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:26 pm
Reputation: 2033
Yemen

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by John Bingham » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:20 pm

kiwiincambodia wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:06 am


We did get stopped when we tried to go on the other side towards the “mountain”. The guard on the gate said it’s a quarry and that’s where a lot of the stone came from to build the airport. Sounded like bullshit at the time. Does anyone actually know what they are hiding over that way?
It's got a tunnel with rooms that were hacked out by slave labor in the Pol Pot, maybe used as a prison or a bit.
willyhilly
Expatriate
Posts: 1378
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:11 am
Reputation: 221
Location: Australia
Albania

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by willyhilly » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:10 pm

I have been there many times. The tunnel is pretty big but the times I have been there it has been flooded a few metres in. The amount of concrete used around there is incredible.
The strip was used, there is a photo somewhere online of Chinese fighter jets parked there. I have also seen photos of provincial airports with Fokker Friendships looking like provincial airports in NZ at the time.
explorer
Expatriate
Posts: 1561
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:37 pm
Reputation: 523
Australia

Re: Cambodia’s abandoned airports

Post by explorer » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:55 am

Some runways have trees growing on them. Some could be used to land a plane in an emergency.

I think in the future, some of these will be repaired, updated and used.
## I thought I knew all the answers, but they changed all the questions. ##
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post