Pchum Ben Staycation: Things to do

As many locals head for the provinces during Pchum Ben, the streets of Cambodia’s urban areas somehow end up being quiet. Deserted to a certain extent. It is during these times that many expats travel outside of Cambodia, due to the long weekends this season brings. However, some do not have the luxury, and often consider having a Pchum Ben staycation.

Although at times it can feel too deserted during Pchum Ben, surely enjoying a staycation is not such a bad idea. What can you do during this time in the big city?

Pchum Ben Staycation: Things to do

  • Immerse yourself in tradition – For sure, there is a neighborhood pagoda which you can visit to observe Khmer tradition. It would be best, though, to go with a friend. That way, somebody can walk you through the process. Note: Please dress conservatively.
  • Biking through the empty streets – During Pchum Bend, the streets are noticeably peaceful and perfect for taking your bike out (or renting one!). While biking is possible during regular days, one often contends with traffic, vendors, among other things. However, during Pchum Ben, the peaceful streets make it possible to have a relaxing time exploring the city streets. Note: Extra caution should be exercised as there are some who drive fast at these times.
  • Go swimming at urban resorts – You do not need to go to the provinces in order to relax. There are many hidden gems in the city, where you can relax and swim, or sit by the poolside and read a book. There are many hotels that open their pools to non-guests at this time for a certain fee. A quick search will often reward you with several options during this time.
  • Have a picnic – Since the weather is nice in the afternoon, there is always that possibility of having a lovely afternoon picnic. Just make sure there is no rain. During Pchum Ben, the parks are often empty so it is possible to have a small spread and enjoy with friends or enjoy quiet moment with a book.
  • Get a massage – End your staycation during Pchum Ben with a nice massage or time at the spa. By the end of day, you will find yourself well pampered, rested, and well relaxed.

While the usual downside is that many shops are closed during this time, there are still several convenience stores that remain open. It is often recommended to stock up on some amenities for a couple of days. Still, this does not hinder anyone from having a much needed vacation. Even if it is a staycation during Pchum Ben.

If it all becomes too boring or quiet, then hop on a bus and visit the many provinces that Cambodia has with BookMeBus. Download our app and check out the many routes available.

pchum ben staycation

Tips to Survive the Rainy Season in Cambodia

If you are planning a trip to Cambodia anytime soon, please be advised that rainy season has started. It is quite rare to have a day without a single drop of rain these days, so it is best to start preparing for rain – just in case. Cambodia rainy season should not stop travelers, from stepping outside.

You can survive. And here are some tips how to:

rainy season cambodia

What to wear in the rainy season

  • Ditch the umbrella – More often than not, rains in Cambodia are windy. If you bring an umbrella along, you often end up with an upturned one in a matter of minutes.
  • Wear flipflops – If you find yourself in Phnom Penh, then chances are, you might waddle into some flood. It does flood in Phnom Penh, despite best efforts to control the waters. Wearing fancy shoes is not really ideal, and you just might end up with soggy shoes and socks.
  • Buy the plastic ponchos – One of the things that is GREAT about being in Cambodia is that there are plastic ponchos sold everywhere. Okay, getting fancy raincoats might come to mind, but if you are just on a trip, then these plastic ponchos are very useful. One plastic poncho is often sold at 2,000 riels or $0.50.
  • Dress appropriately – Moving around can be cumbersome in wet jeans, so shorts are ideal. Most people travel in shorts or pants that are easy to roll up during this time. In most cases, bringing additional clothes to change into is always a good idea.

Transportation during the rainy season

There are many ways to get around during the rainy season. However, if you are visiting a part of Cambodia that is prone to flood, getting around on tuk tuk would be your best option. Most tuk tuk also have covers that will protect passengers from the strong rain and wind. Best way would be by taxi, although it is more expensive.

Bonus tips

  • Get a rain cover for backpacks that are not waterproof
  • Put electronics and important things (i.e., passports and documentation) in plastic bags
  • Remember to have fun!

BookMeBus welcomes Tharum Bun, CIO

BookMeBus has exciting news to share! As we are constantly expanding, we have tapped one of the greatest minds in Cambodia to our team. BookMeBus is proud to announce that we are welcoming Mr. Tharum Bun, CIO, to our team.

Who is Tharum Bun, CIO?

In a nutshell, Tharum describes himself as “a communications rockstar with proven media pitching skills and media outreach experience.

Not a novice to the Internet, Tharum has been blogging since 2004. Since then, he has made his mark in media, working for top names such as InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia. In addition, Tharum’s work has graced well-known publications such as Global Voices Online, The Huffington ost, The Asian Correspondent, ICTWorks, and The Phnom Penh Post, to name a few.

Tharum prides himself in creating stories that are one with a company’s products and mission. His work involves creating narratives, announcements, campaigns, and other write-ups that are attuned to the needs of the company.

You can check out his blog (https://tharum.com) for more of his adventures. Tharum keeps his blog updated with posts regarding events, interviews, insights and much more.

tharum bun cio

Please help us welcome Tharum Bun, CIO, to the BookMeBus community!

Roam Cambodia by Bus

The article below is a guest post by Fie of Travel Chameleon, one of the BookMeBus Affiliates.

travel chamelon blog header

Whenever anyone mentions Cambodia, the first two things that come to mind are Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat, the popular spots for tourists and travelers visiting the Kingdom of Wonder. However, as you get to know the country better, you’ll realize that there’s more to Cambodia besides its’ capital city.

There are 24 provinces in Cambodia that are connected by highways and roads. If you’re like me and plan to visit other parts of Cambodia by bus, then what you’ll need is to read up on the bus schedules, the hotel stay options and figure out things to do when you get there. I prefer this as it’s more stress free and I get to travel with the locals together. The bus would usually stop at a restaurant or a gas station for a quick break before it goes on its way again.

Here are a few places where you can travel to by bus, which is usually the affordable option.

1. Kampong Som (KPS) or known as Sihanoukville

Where is it: South coast of Cambodia.

What is it known for: Premier beaches and islands. Friends have been raving about Sihanoukville, which has beaches like Serendipity, Victory, Otres, White beach, waterfalls, seafood and the island hopping tours to Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloeun. It is definitely a beach paradise for those whole the sun and sea.

How to get there: Buses go to Sihanoukville daily via National Road #4 in a 4 hours journey.

2. Kampot

Where is it: South coast of Cambodia

What is it known for: Kampot is famous for its black pepper and salt fields, which can be seen just a few minutes away from the town centre. You can also cruise down Kampot River on a boat while waiting for sun to set or rent a motorcycle to Kep which is a beach city just 40 minutes away.

How to get there: Buses go to Kampot daily via National Road #4 in a 3 hours journey.

3. Kampong Cham

Where is it: North of Cambodia

What is it known for: The historical bamboo bridge on the south of Kampong Cham can be found on the south of Kampong Cham. This bridge has been constructed and repaired every year by the locals living here. It is made of solid bamboo structure (100%!) for locals to cross the Mekong River to Koh Paen Island.

How to get there: Buses go to Kampong Cham daily via National Road #7 in a 3-4 hours journey.

4. Kratie

Where is it: East of Cambodia.

What is it known for: The journey to the east is longer than the west as the roads there are still in development. This province is known for its live Irrawaddy dolphins, that can be seen in the Mekong River. According to friends, these dolphins are pink in color and lately it has been a challenge to spot them. There’s also the Mekong Discovery Trail, which takes you to village homestays and a chance to spot rare species along the way.

How to get there: Buses to Kratie can be taken from Phnom Penh or Kampong Cham. The journey takes 5 hours (from Phnom Penh) and 3 hours (from Kampong Cham).

5. Ratanakiri

Where is it: North east of Cambodia

What is it known for: The province is known for its lush forests, mountains and lakes, all which are hidden beauties of Cambodia. It’s not surprising that they have the Virachey National Park which has jungle trekking tours. There’s also the 700,000 year old volcanic crater lake called Yaklom that is worth exploring.

How to get there: Buses can be taken from Phnom Penh (a one day journey) or Kratie which is closer.

Get a BookMeBus Free Ride on Pchum Ben

Now is your chance to grab a BookMeBus Free Ride during the hectic Pchum Ben season! As you all know, getting bus tickets during the heavy Pchum Ben season needs strategy. To help you grab the ride you want, BookMeBus is now giving travelers a chance to score a #FreeRide during that season. How? Read on to know.

bookmebus free ride

Scope of BookMeBus Free Ride

BookMeBus Free Ride will kick off on September 9, 2016. During that time, instructions will be posted on the BookMeBus Facebook page at approximately 5:00 p.m.

The exact mechanics of the promotion will be posted on the launch date, so it is best to keep an eye on the page for information.

If you are planning for a trip to your hometown or to any of the provinces such as Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kep, Battambang, and more, then this is your chance to grab a free ticket.

What is Pchum Ben?

For those who do not know what Pchum Ben is, here is a summary regarding this time in Cambodia:

  • It is 15-day Khmer religious festival
  • On these days, Khmer pay respects to their deceased relatives up to 7 generations
  • During Pchum Ben, it is believed that the gates of hell are being opened, and the ghosts are presumed to be active.
  • Traditionally, Khmer travel to their homelands where they will be paying their respects
  • It is a fact that during these times, it is high travel season due to the fact that many locals go home.

These are just fast facts for those who are not so aware of what Pchum Ben is. For travellers, it means that there is much activity in the provinces of Cambodia during this time, and more quietness in the city.

This year, Official Pchum Ben holidays are September 30, October 1, 2, and 3. It would be wise to start planning holidays around these dates.