On Cambodia’s Infrastructure


Despite to what some people say there are traffic rules in Cambodia. They are, as it is the case almost everywhere in the world, according to the international traffic rules. So far the theory.

In practice it means little or nothing. In all-day-life the Cambodians just drive as they like. They don’t waste a thought for any rule and drive as they would walk, just impulsive and following their feelings. They cut curves, also at crossroads, they drive right-hand or left-hand as it is just comfortable, they enter main roads coming from side roads without checking if somebody is approaching. At crossroads drivers use their horns as a warning and drive on without checking any further or slowing down. The use of the horn is done extensively in Cambodian traffic. And so on, and so on…

On Cambodian roads there is a hidden hierarchy established. As bigger a vehicle is, as more powerful it is and as more rights it has. The second weakest participants in traffic are bicycle drivers and the very weakest are pedestrians. Pedestrians are generally supposed to give space to anybody on a vehicle. Status thinking in it’s purest kind projected into traffic affairs.


Electricity is mostly unstable in the provincial capitals, towns and other places. There are usually daily several short interruptions. Mostly they are for a few seconds only. In remoter places they can last some hours. Phnom Penh therefore is said being equipped with a stable electricity.

The cable connections for electricity look not seldom adventurous. Many of them are made by the neighbours themselves. Interruptions can appear when local people manipulate the system. I personally observed the most interruptions when there are parties in the neighbourhood (the notorious marriages, funerals, births, new house inauguration etc). I suppose the party organizers implement cable connections for their entertainment electronics and there might go what wrong, here and there. The professional electricians tend to make installments the easiest way, not being worried too much concerning sustainability.


Water supplies are another problem in Cambodia. First, the tapped water is not drinkable, as in the most countries in the world. Second, out of the bigger places the water supply is mostly poor or non-existent. Many Cambodians have wells outside their houses where they get their water from. Many people collect raining water in tanks, barrels and tubs. When there is no rain for a time, they run out of water. Particularly clean drinking water is a problem for many people.


In the provincial towns there are internet connections. For travellers most of the guesthouses and hotels have internet (free wifi) and it’s normally okay; not too slow and relatively stable. Sometimes it’s too slow and instable. Out of the towns there is normally no internet available. There is a number of providers operating on the Cambodian market.

An alternative to a conventional cable-connection can be USB modems. It’s not cheap and the contracts are very restrictive and tricky, but they are sometimes the only possibility to establish a connection outside a town.


This is part of the illustrated article ‘Cambodia’. Read here the whole article on Cambodia.

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Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender

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