Motoring madness, Cambodia

In an earlier article I mentioned the traffic chaos that engulfed me upon my arrival in Phnom Penh, with vehicles coming from seemingly every direction.

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This actually is as it should be, as there is essentially no highway code. The main rule – and this makes somewhat obvious sense – is not to hit anything, and thus make sure nobody hits you. So, at crossroads, vehicles go fairly slow, blaring their horns to ensure people know where they are, and where they are heading. Bizarrely, although I wouldn’t suggest following such approaches on the M25, it seems to actually work.

In Cambodia regardless of the traffic rules, the motorbike though is king with couples, young people – even entire families travelling on board the small seat. This is partly due to cost – cars and fuel are expensive in what is a very poor country, but also partly due to practicalities; many of the roads – particularly in the countryside bring massive problems to cars, even 4x4s.

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The following day I explored the city by tuk-tuk, the taxi version of the motorbike famed throughout South-East Asia. I got talking to one of my drivers about life in Phnom Penh,

‘I like it here as I can earn some money. But ideally I’d like to move. The police can cause hassle here. I’m not sure though if young people like it here – I don’t think so’.


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