(I’m in the midst of describing our first full day in Phnom Penh. However, I thought that we should take a detour to talk about the traffic…)

Traffic in Phnom Penh

I love traffic in Phnom Penh.

Let’s be clear about that.

Nevertheless, I think that I probably freaked out the first time I experienced it.

Well, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but I’m sure that I was a bit nervous.

Eventually, though, you learn to relax a bit. You see that there are some common understandings and some unwritten rules. It isn’t a free-for-all.

And once you’ve relaxed, it’s actually fun to be a passenger and see that everything just sort of flows around – a big river of motos that eventually gets where it’s trying to go.

Most of the vehicles around town are either motos (motor scooters) or moto-derived. Cars are more common than they were ten years ago (especially for people looking to flaunt their status, who are charging around everywhere in their Lexuses), but they are still well outnumbered by two-wheeled transportation. When our family needed to travel somewhere around Phnom Penh, we hired moto taxis, better known as tuk-tuks. If all ten of us (five from the ordinary family, three Guests Complacent, and two parents) needed to go somewhere, we’d get two…


You really have to ride in one of these to get the full experience, but I’ve created a short video to give you some sense of how things might look. I wish that I could offer a 360° perspective.

And here is the traffic at night, as seen from our van (see below) …

Traffic at night - time lapse

One final note (for now) about travel throughout the rest of Cambodia: it didn’t leave quite the same impression on me as our travel within Phnom Penh (although if you had asked me ten years ago, I would have offered a different opinion). When we left the city, we all piled into a passenger van that Mr. Guest Complacent hired for us:

The family van

(That’s our driver on the left.)

This van went with us on three different trips outside Phnom Penh, and also got us to and from the airport. We knew it well by the time we left.

A few more photos of, in, and around tuk-tuks…