Workers Build a $40,000 Outhouse for Thai Princess's Short Visit to Cambodia

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Today, Thailand's Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn arrives in Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri Province for a celebrated three-day visit. Instead of merely rolling out the red carpet for the Thai monarch, The Guardian reports that local officials have built her one luxurious lavatory.

Chakri’s freestanding, 86-square-foot outhouse is thought to have cost as much as $40,000, though "it is unclear who is footing the bill." The pricey privy is constructed from all-modern materials “of the very highest quality," one of the construction managers on the project told The Cambodia Daily. It boasts air conditioning, interior lighting, and a view of Yeak Lom Lake, a popular tourist attraction just outside Banlung City, the capital of Ratanakiri Province.

Workers from Thai construction firm Siam Cement Group were specially flown in to Cambodia to build the tricked-out toilet facilities. They took 19 days to complete the project and were specially requested by the princess for her three-day stay at the lake. Once the Princess leaves the area, the toilet itself will be removed from the spacious facility, and the room will be converted into a building for officials. Although the monarch will have likely used the facilities only once, "normal people can’t use [a royal] toilet,” a construction manager named Mr. Pursat told The Khmer Times.

The Princess will spend the remainder of her time in Cambodia visiting schools, presiding over a groundbreaking for a technology center, opening a health center, and dining with King Norodom Sihamoni, local media outlets report.

As The Guardian points out, the restroom costs 66 times the average annual salary in Cambodia—a nation where, as outraged critics note, many people don’t have a toilet at all. However, it’s still not the most expensive lavatory in the world. According to Time, that honor goes to a Russian-designed toilet NASA bought for the International Space Station for $19 million. It works in zero gravity, dries solid waste to zap bacteria and odor, and it even filters urine into drinkable water.

[h/t The Guardian]