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Princess Photographs, Doesn't Use Her $40K Bathroom

It was built for Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's visit to a Cambodian province
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 6:46 AM CST

(Newser) – Most rural residents of Cambodia's Ratanakkiri province have no access to a toilet. So when Thailand's Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn chose to visit Yeak Lom Lake, officials were told to make her as comfortable as possible. Over 19 days, a Thai construction company built an 86-square-foot bathroom specifically for her use, complete with air conditioning, a white tiled roof, white-washed steps, and silver railings, per the Independent. The cost: $40,000, or the equivalent of 160 school toilets, reports the Telegraph. And Sirindhorn didn't even use it.

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During a two-hour visit on Monday, "she did not go inside the bathroom, she just looked at it from outside and took some pictures," a community leader tells AFP. She then flew to Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh, reports the Cambodia Daily. Residents hoping to benefit from the new bathroom are now out of luck. Officials say the toilet—specially imported from Thailand—has been removed and the building will be used by local officials. The bathroom "can't be kept because it is for royals," the provincial governor says. Though Thailand footed the bill, a former journalist who has written a book on that country notes that for $40,000, "whole Cambodian villages could have been provided with proper sanitation." (Read more Cambodia stories.)

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