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Driving in Sihanoukville

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Sihanoukville.

1. Understanding the Traffic Culture

Driving in Sihanoukville, can be a unique experience. The traffic rules are not strictly followed, and the roads can be chaotic. It’s common to see motorbikes, bicycles, tuk-tuks, and cars sharing the same road. It’s important to drive defensively and always be aware of your surroundings.

2. Vehicle Recommendation

Most expats and locals prefer to use motorbikes or scooters for daily commuting. They are easy to maneuver in traffic and are more affordable. However, if you prefer cars, a compact car would be a good choice due to the narrow and sometimes congested roads.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in Sihanoukville can be challenging, especially in busy areas. However, parking is generally not expensive. Some restaurants and businesses offer free parking for customers. It’s always a good idea to check the parking situation before you go somewhere.

4. Driving License Requirements

Foreigners can drive in Cambodia using an international driving permit for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a Cambodian driving license. To get a Cambodian driving license, you will need to apply at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in Phnom Penh. The process involves submitting the required documents, passing a medical check, and passing a written and practical driving test.

5. Road Conditions

Be prepared for varying road conditions. While the main roads in Sihanoukville are generally in good condition, some side streets and rural roads can be rough and unpaved. During the rainy season, some roads can become muddy and difficult to navigate.

6. Safety Precautions

Always wear a helmet when riding a motorbike or scooter. Not only is it the law, but it’s also a crucial safety measure. Also, be aware that drunk driving is a serious problem in Cambodia. Never drink and drive, and be extra cautious when driving at night.

7. Be Patient and Respectful

Patience and respect go a long way when driving in Sihanoukville. The traffic can be frustrating at times, but getting angry or aggressive won’t help the situation. Always be respectful of other road users, even if they are not following the rules.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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