Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (R), inspects a guard of honour as she is accompanied by Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L), before a meeting at the prime minister's office in Phnom PenhPring Samrang/Reuters

A $40,000 (£28,000) luxury toilet has been built exclusively for the use of Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who is on a three-day visit to Cambodia. The bathroom has been constructed on the banks of lake Yeak Laom in Ratanakiri, one of the least developed provinces in Cambodia.

According to reports, the eight-metre square toilet took 19 days to construct for the visiting royal, who will spend just one night in the province. The toilet, constructed by Thai firm SCG, has a white tiled floor, a silver railing and is fully air conditioned.

Local officials claim given the number of workers and material used came from Bangkok, the amount spent on the toilet was too low, the Khmer Times reported. SCG workers said the toilet had cost "more than $40,000 to construct", Ven Churk, head of the Yeak Lom lake committee, which is helping to coordinate the royal's visit, said.

The royals could have spent "$1,000 or $2,000 on a good bathroom and then given the rest to the communities and villages", Channy Or, the director of the Cambodian Rural Development Team, said. He said the royal toilet cost around 130 times more than a standard public toilet for the region.

After the royal's visit concludes, the toilet will be disassembled and the building will be converted into an office for local officials. "Normal people can't use a [royal] toilet," a manager from SCG, identified only as Pursat, said.

The lakeside bathroom is "an insult to the Cambodian people", Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a former journalist and author of the book on Thailand A Kingdom in Crisis, said. "Most Cambodians have limited access to modern sanitation," he said. "For the cost of Sirindhorn's toilet — to be used just for a single night — whole Cambodian villages could have been provided with proper sanitation," he added.