Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chasing Cars, Cambodian style, February 2011

  • Deaths on Cambodian roads only make the news if there are many. Phnom Penh Post (20 Feb.) reports 5 dead after a truck with musicians (!) collides with a tuk-tuk with gasoline.
  • Cambodia's traffic makes international headlines. An article in the Guardian (15 Feb.) echoes the underlying flow of this blog:
    'Everything you want to know about Cambodia's city society is found in the traffic of Phnom Penh – social conformity mixed with anarchic individualism, the confidence of young Cambodian women, the indifference of the police, the motorbike as an extra limb attached to the body, the inability of old cultural ways to cope with the modern world.

    If I were a Cambodian policeman, I too would just stand and watch'.

  • How weird can it get? A former official (who should be have been in jail at the time) manages to create an accident in Ratanakiri province. Solution? Pay a pittance for disabling lifes (PPP, 27 Jan.).
  • Lot's of flight information so much so that the Cambodia Mirror (21 Jan.) has a special on Cambodian Airlines (note that most do not operate anymore ....).
    Other airworthy news: Cambodian Angkor Air will start breaking Bangkok Air's monopoly (though there must be considerable profits falling to Cambodia) between Siem Reap and Bangkok (
    PPP, 4 Feb.). CAA will actually start to fly more flights out of Siem Reap. The article in the Phnom Penh Post (30 Jan.) includes the insinuation that Bangkok Air are making huge amounts of cash on this flight. A response, points out that per km Siem Reap - Phnom Penh (serviced only be CAA) is actually more expensive, while CC believes that Phnom Penh - Saigon is even more expensive (only operator is CAA's major share holder Vietnam Airlines).
    In response the Thai are emboldend to demand their share of the spills (
    PPP, 11 Feb).
    Tonle Sap Airways takes off (
    PPP, 7 Feb.) as will Indochina Airline.
  • Despite all the war like situation with the Thai, Cambodia's PM can go out of his way to lean on a freight company for
    'claiming its trucks often caused collisions on Cambodia’s roads and bridges'. (PPP, 24 Jan.).
    Mystified? Soi seems the company in question:
    'So Nguon Group chairman So Nguon said yesterday that the company had been upgrading its vehicles in recent months, adding “I don’t know who instigated Samdech [Hun Sen] to be angry with us like this.” The firm, thought to be the biggest trucking firm in the Kingdom, had bought 60 new trucks to be used for frieght transportation in recent months, he claimed, and said it had sold most of its older vehicles'.
  • Tourists though take aim at busses. Tripadvisor's forum includes a warning concerning Paramount:
    'We had a lot of material damage and medical costs but even after dozens of mails (and visits to their office) they don't respond. Even their insurance company, (Caminco Insurance) stopped responding. Almost 6 months later they are still not taking their responsibility!'
  • Take a boat instead. PPP (7 Feb.) has an article on Compagnie Fluviale du Mekong company. It's not cheap:
    'a typical 10-day cruise can cost about US$4,000 for a double cabin'.
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