National

New Japan-funded bridge over Mekong River is a magnet for tourists in Cambodia

by Puy Kea

Kyodo

The latest and largest Japan-funded suspension bridge across the Mekong River has become a popular tourist site, attracting Cambodians from all walks of life.

One month after the Tsubasa bridge was inaugurated, people from across the nation are still flocking to the 2,215-meter bridge day and night, taking selfies or photos with friends and family, and posting them on social media.

Bun Rany Hun Sen, the wife of Cambodia’s prime minister, recently posted on Facebook a photo of her with her mother and relatives at the bridge, which is located in Neak Loeung, about 60 km east of Phnom Penh.

Admiring the view, another visitor, 89-year-old Mak Ngov, said she had never been to such an amazing bridge.

“I’d heard about the bridge for about a month but didn’t have an opportunity to come and see it until my children brought me here today. I want to stand here as long as possible or until security police chase me out,” she said.

When asked why it is so special for her, she replied “It’s very high, very long and of modern construction, with very beautiful scenery on all sides and very breezy. It’s the best bridge in Cambodia.”

Keo Dara, head of the traffic police unit guarding the bridge, said thousands of travelers stop and take photos on it every day, especially in late afternoon, while the number skyrockets on weekends and holidays.

He said that with so many vehicles descending on the bridge at once, he and his colleagues have their work cut out for them, but have been patiently asking tourists to leave the bridge as soon as they can to ease traffic congestion.

A Kyodo News reporter on Wednesday witnessed the occupants of two different luxury cars pay small “coffee money” to the police after being allowed to stop briefly on the bridge to snap photos.

It’s the third large-scale bridge donated to the country by Japan so far, and it was built at a cost of ¥119.4 billion in aid.