Knowing When Your Number’s Up

How I wish this had citations. Still can’t find a definitive explanation regarding the inconsistent numbering of the streets or the logic behind why they are non-sequential – both geographically and historically. If they were numbered as they were developed then those in the French Quarter (north of Street 108 and South of Highway 6A) around Wat Phnom should be numbered beginning with Street 1. Which according to Google is some distance from the city. Street 5 however is the closest North-South street to the river :

From Lonely Planet’s Cambodia guide:

” Navigating the streets of Phnom Penh should be straightforward thanks to the grid system put in place by the French. The total and utter lack of an effective house-numbering system, however, makes some guesthouses, restaurants and offices that bit harder to track down. The long years of war, abandonment and reoccupation destroyed the old system and as residents begane to repopulate the city they seem to have picked numbers out of the air. It is not uncommon to drive past a row of houses numbered 13A, 34, 7, 26…. Worse still, several different houses might use the same number on the same street…”

While the transfer of land ownership post-Khmer Rouge in some way supports this idea that house numbers were ‘picked out of the air’ I do wish I could find something more substantial than conjecture.


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