Category Archives: Updates

Travel to Sihanoukville for the Cambodia Sea Festival

Do you have any plans later this month? If not, you might want to check out the Cambodia Sea Festival, which is to be held in from December 23 to 25, 2016 at Sihanoukville.

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What is the Cambodia Sea Festival?

Every year, thousands gather to the seaside provinces in order to celebrate the Cambodia Sea Festival. This year, the said event is to be hosted at Preah Sihanouk Province. As early as October, several preparations have been made, including the relocation of some vendors.

During the event, parties, concerts, water sports, racing, and fireworks are to be expected. In addition, the event will be graced by the Prime Minister himself to kick off the festivities.

Why join the Cambodia Sea Festival?

For many, this is a chance to enjoy the sea along with the many parties and festivities that are expected to happen. Many others may still want to head over to the islands of Koh Rong for a more relaxing experience. However, there are still many things to enjoy in the main island itself.

Travelers who seek a more peaceful and relaxing getaway may not want to go to Sihanoukville during this time. Instead, it may be wise to check out other destinations such as Kep, Battambang, or even Siem Reap.

BookMeBus gives discounts!

If, however, you do plan to join the fun and activities at Sihanoukville, you are in luck!

BookMeBus is offering 10% discount for tickets headed to Sihanoukville, in time for the Cambodia Sea Festival. To avail of this discount, you can click on the link below.

BOOKMEBUS CAMBODIA SEA FESTIVAL DISCOUNT

Whether your path leads you to Sihanoukville or any other province in Cambodia, since it is December, you might as well try to pave your own adventure.

Messages from BookMeBus team

We at BookMeBus are excited about 2017. In 2016, we’ve been hard and smart at work to serve our growing number of customers who use BookMeBus. Everyday, we serve hundreds of customers, helping them to book bus tickets easily. The website, www.bookmebus.com, has been one of Cambodia’s most favorite websites for travelers to get bus trip information, schedules, and even prices. In addition to the website, we also launched the mobile app, which is available on both App Store and Play Store.

To conclude 2016 in style, we’d love to share some thoughts from our team members:

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Lorselle, CDMO
At BookMeBus, 2016 was:
In a word, “whirlwind.” I believe it has been a challenging year, but has nevertheless been FUN. BookMeBus has grown massively in just one year.
In 2017, my 3 wishes for BookMeBus are:

  1. To become the primary provider of bus tickets in Cambodia.

  2. To win more awards for its ingenuity and technological advancements.

  3. Energy for Langda to continue leading BookMeBus to higher heights and achieve his vision.

tharum bun cio

Tharum Bun, CIO
At BookMeBus, 2016 was:
Tremendous! New territories to explore and exploit. Some great things to bring with to the new year. Being the winner for the Cambodian ICT Awards, we really feel the pride.

In 2017, my 3 wishes for BookMeBus are:

  1. To win more awards locally and internationally. And to get into the front page of The New York Times.

  2. To sell many many more bus tickets than 2016 by 10x.

  3. To be known as a Cambodian startup that is a model for young Cambodian entrepreneurs that they can start here and even expand successfully in Southeast Asia.

Some selected highlights of the year that was:

Bus ride in Cambodia

Customers’ satisfaction is one of BookMeBus top priorities. At BookMeBus, we always want to make it super easy for anyone in Cambodia to book bus tickets for an enjoyable ride. Early this month, BookMeBus CEO, Chea Langda, had a good chance to get latest updates on the road safety and government policy at an informal dinner meeting, presided by H.E. Sun Chanthol, the Cambodian Minister for Public Works and Transport.

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At Himawari Hotel, about 30 people from the public and private sector discussed road safety and ways to improve.

One of the key takeaways from the meeting and discussion, initiated by a group of Cambodian Professionals (also known as Campro), is how BookMeBus.com can help contribute to a better bus travel experience. While the core business of BookMeBus is online bus ticket booking, the information and feedback from the customers, through the online platform, will play an important part to help both bus operators and travelers themselves. For instance, most of customers always ask for information about which bus company is good, better, or the best. During the meeting, Langda pointed it out that BookMeBus’s online customer review/rating after their trips “would help a lot since bus companies have to offer better services to compete for more customers. I can see the example of how hotels around the world treat Trip Advisor.”

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BookMeBus CEO mentioned that more information from bus travelers will help bus company to do better.

These are some highlights from the conversation:

  • To minimize traffic jam, road maintenances take place during night time rather than day time, whenever possible.
  • By the end 2016, the Ministry will introduce a new, improved way to obtaining driving license through computer-based test
  • Speed up the process of renewing driving license. Starting a few months ago, Cambodians can quickly get their renewed license at an office inside the Aeon mall in Phnom Penh.
  • An introduction of a new online registration of vehicle ownership plate numbers
  • No longer just in Phnom Penh, vehicle checkups can be done across Cambodia.
  • To minimize the road damage caused by overloaded trucks, a new measure is in place to penalize the driver and the company owners.
  • Distribute free reflective stickers to vehicle owners in rural areas with limited lighting at night.
  • New road and bridge construction: Stoeung Trang bridge, four-lane express road from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (Kampong Som)
  • From Kampong Cham’s Skun to Siem Reap, there will be a tuk tuk lane.
  • A new road to be built from Veal Veng to Koh Kong
  • Introducing mobile teams of pot hole fixers, who will quickly help with road maintenance.

Read more:
Cambodian Professionals Forum (CamPro) discussed road traffic safety, transport and infrastructure development

BookMeBus Water Festival 2016 Promotion

As many people head for Phnom Penh during the Water Festival 2016, BookMeBus would like to offer travelers with a little discount to help you on your journey. Get 10% discount on bus tickets purchased while the promotion lasts during the season.

water festival 2016

Water Festival 2016 Promo

As a token of thanks and a gesture of good will, BookMeBus is offering its loyal customers with a discount coupon. This would enable travelers to travel to Phnom Penh for the Water Festival events, or for travelers going to the countryside.

If you do not have plans for this season, this discount should at least help you reconsider. You might want to go out with friends and family to where the fun is. Or travel to Phnom Penh to completely enjoy the festivities of the Water Festival.

How to Avail of the Discount?

There are two ways that you can avail of the discount:

  1. Visit our website and book as usual. Then redeem the discount using use the Water Festival code: happy-water-festival
  2. Or, you can go directly to this LINK, and make your purchases from the page.

We hope that you enjoy this discount, and have an awesome celebration of the Water Festival in Cambodia.

The journey of Cambodian tech startups and the road ahead

Jesse Orndorff is an author of Startup Cambodia. In a recent email interview, he told me that “Over the last five years we’ve seen a major shift in how Cambodians use technology. In the urban areas, the smartphone penetration rate is very high with the under 35 age group, and we’re seeing a major shift into how this new generation consumes content, makes purchases, and engages with businesses.” He added that “the startup scene has grown tremendously.” Jesse wants to use his book to promote the inspiring stories of Cambodians that have taken the startup journey.

Last month, I moderated a startup talk (Smart Travel & Living with Mobile Apps) at Emerald Hub, one of Phnom Penh’s co-working spaces. Five startup founders/co-founders admitted that one of the biggest challenges is changing customers’ mindset. Digital payment is relatively new to the majority of the Cambodian population. As Jesse pointed out “The most exciting thing that I would like to see is an easy and accessible way to accept mobile payments. Right now accepting digital payments is very challenging and that’s stifling a lot of the market in Cambodia.”

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Five Cambodian startup founders talked about their startup journeys to a group of audience at Emerald Hub.

At the startup talk session, the Cambodian tech entrepreneurs (Chea Landa, BookMeBus CEO; Uch Sarath, pengpos Co-Founder; Soliya Kong, Joonak Delivery Founder & CEO; Malypoeur Plong, Stops Near Me Founder; Bong Chhlat, Co-Founder) told the audience about how they started out their startups. All the speakers have one thing in common. Frustrated by the lack of a convenient way to book a bus ticket to visit his home town Battambang, Chea Langda launched a website that list bus operators, departure schedules, and prices. Currently, it’s becoming a rising startup star as well as an excellent example of building a successful startup in a country like Cambodia.

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The audience at the event ‘Smart Travel & Living with Mobile Apps’

While most of the startups focus mainly on the Cambodian market,  there are also new, untapped opportunities as well as critical challenge. “In the next five years, I think we’ll see growth in the sector, larger investment deals, and startups from Cambodia moving into other markets in ASEAN,” said Jesse who has been in Cambodia since 2010.

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At Comm.On co-working space, BookMeBus’s Chea Langda talked to Red Herring’s correspondent.

Lately, global media outlet Red Herring featured BookMeBus in its story: Cambodia’s Tech Scene Needs Private Money, But It’s On The Up. “Southeast Asia has been racing towards tech in recent years, and several formidable ecosystems have appeared across the region. For Cambodia, one of its smaller nations with a population of just 15 million, progress has been slower: infrastructure is underdeveloped, and funding still comes primarily from NGOs.”

Companies are beginning to thrive. BookMeBus, founded by puckish programmer Langda Chea, began to solve the problem of convoluted transport booking in Cambodia. “I thought it was very simple: get a website of all the companies’ information so everyone can see all the timetables,” he says. “Then, when I started, I saw something bigger.”

Now BookMeBus processes 2-3,000 tickets per month and $38,000 in revenue. It is one of very few privately-backed tech firms in Phnom Penh.