BREAKING CAMBODIAN NEWS: The $40,000 temporary Throne

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A royal flush: it is not clear who is footing the bill for the toilet. Photograph: olneystudio/Alamy

A toilet estimated to have cost up to $40,000 has been built for the personal use of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand when she visits Cambodia, officials have said.

The toilet – a freestanding outhouse measuring 8 sq metres – is fully air-conditioned, took two weeks to build and cost 66 times the average annual salary in Cambodia. Thai building firm SCG Cement-Building Materials was tasked with the job, bringing in contractors and special materials from Thailand. The final touch will be added on Monday when a special imported commode will arrive.

The toilet is located near Yeak Lom lake in Ratanakiri province, where the princess will begin her three-day visit to Cambodia on Monday. The royal itinerary includes opening a new health centre, breaking ground on the site of a planned technology institute and dining with King Norodom Sihamoni. Ven Churk, head of the Yeak Lom lake committee, which is helping to coordinate the visit, said SCG workers had told him the bathroom had cost “more than $40,000 to construct”. It is unclear who is footing the bill.

Tin Luong, the chief of Yeak Lom commune, told local media he had seen the outhouse and was impressed. “I would estimate that they spent about $20,000 to $30,000 for the bathroom’s construction because all of the materials are very modern,” he said. Once the princess leaves Ratanakiri, her special commode will be thrown out and the building will be converted into an office for local officials. A manager from SCG, identified only as Mr Pursat, said: “Normal people can’t use a [royal] toilet.”