International Travel

Driving in Cambodia

Frenzied, frantic, and scary are just a few ways to describe the white knuckle driving experience in Cambodia.  Yet, it seems like orchestrated chaos with everything from oxen driven makeshift trailers to 18-wheelers on the roads.  There are tuk tuks and motos (motorcycles or mopeds) everywhere.

I loved zooming through Phnom Penh in a tuk tuk.  If you don’t know what that is, a tuk tuk in Cambodia is like an auto rickshaw.  It’s a cart pulled by a motorbike.  You can get up to 6 people (we did!) in one.

On the drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, I loved watching the countryside go by and passing small towns along the way.

About halfway between the cities our driver stopped for lunch at the most unique rest area I’ve ever been to.  Check out my blog on Unexpected Paradise of a Cambodian Rest Area to read about our stop.


I noticed blue tarps with something on them.  Our driver told me it was rice drying.  He also thought it was funny that I loved seeing the water buffalo.  They’re not something you see along the road in the United States.  At one, he spotted some water buffalo and pulled over so I could get a good look at them and take some pictures.  He took a few too!

Here are some of my observations about traffic in Cambodia:

They use their horns – a lot.

They don’t really look behind them – that’s what the horn for.  If a car is coming up on a moto, the car driver will honk.

It is possible to get 3 or more people on a motorbike or moped.

Cars and trucks are mostly driven by men.

Flip flops are common moto attire.

They have to watch for everything from kids and dogs to chickens, cows, and water buffalo to potentially dart out in the road.  Yet, you don’t see much road kill.

Very few drivers are on phones.

And I’m never driving in Cambodia!