One of the biggest challenges when visiting Siem Reap, is finding way’s to get from A to B. If you are not planning on renting a bicycle, motorbike or electric bicycle, you’re options are limited to walking, hiring a tuktuk, call a taxi or use a hailing app like Grab or PassApp. While most people are familiar with Grab, PassApp will be something new for you, because PassApp is only available in (the bigger cities of) Cambodia.
What’s a PassApp?
PassApp is a ride hailing service developed in Cambodia and very popular among the locals. It’s cheaper than Grab and (probably because it’s a local service), there are more drivers connected to PassApp than Grab. Using PassApp is easy, cheap and the only thing you need is cash money and a mobile phone!
Just like any other service, PassApp has its own pros and cons:
- It’s cheaper than hiring a tuktuk. – Even a 20 minute drive will cost you no more than $2
- It’s fast – There are more PassApps available than Grabs. In generally you won’t have to wait more than 2-3 minutes for your PassApp driver to arrive;
- You enter your destination on a map – No need to explain the route or destination to the driver. You can optionally enter the destination on a map.
- You get an invoice – When you register you have to enter your e-mail and after your trip an invoice is send to your e-mail address.
- It’s scam-proof – At the end of the trip, the fee will appear on your mobile phone. There is no way for the driver to influence the fee. If you have entered the destination on the map, you can even check the shortest route.
- No pre-orders – You can only use PassApp via instant booking;
- Only cash payments – There is no option to connect a credit or debit card to your PassApp account. You have to pay in cash to the driver. You can pay with local currency or in USD.
- The map locator is not always accurate – The app gives an indication of the time it takes for your driver to arrive. This feature, however, is not always accurate.
How to start with PassApp
Local SIM or not?
If you don’t plan to use a local phone number, you need to downoad and install the app before you come to Cambodia. There are no roaming charges, but you do need to confirm your phone number. If you’re planning to use a lcoal SIM, then you can download and install it when you are in Cambodia.
Download & Install
Using the PassApp service doesn’t require much. You first need to download the App, which is available for Android as well as iOS. After installing the app, you have to create an account.
Create an account
It’s advisable to use a nickname and not your real name, because the driver will be able to see your details. For security reasons don’t upload your photo and don’t use your real name, but enter a nickname that will not indicate that you’re a foreigner.
How to book your first PassApp ride?
1. Set a pickup
After installing the app and creating your account, you can make your first booking. Open the app and click the ‘Set pickup’button’
2. Select what kind of vehicle you want to use
You can select different types of vehicles, all related to PassApp. The fastest are the rickshaw and tuktuk option. We recommend the rickshaw (easier, faster and safer).
3. Confirm your booking
After you’ve selected a vehicle, you can enter your destination. It’s an optional feature. You may also wait for the driver to arrive and try to explain where you want to go. If you enter a destination, the app will give you an estimated price for the trip. After entering your destination, click the ‘Conform booking’ button and wait for a driver to accept the booking.
4,. Estimated time
After a driver has accepted your booking, the app will show the time it will take the driver to arrive at your location. This is not always accurate so give the driver a minute extra. You can see the vehicle on the map, but (again) this is not always accurate. If it really takes to long, you are able to cancel the ride and try to find another driver.
5. Check the registration number
Every registered PassApp has a number on the front window. When your driver arrives always check if the number on the window corresponds with the number on your app. If not, don’t get in and wait for the right driver to arrive.
6. Don’t be alarmed when the driver goes of course!
PassApp drivers know their way around Siem Reap and may take another route than suggested by the app. There is no need to be alarmed. You will arrive safely and the fee will be near the estimated fee in the app.
7. Pay your fee
When you arrive at your destination the driver will tell you how much you have to pay. The fee is also visible in the app on your phone, although it will take a couple of seconds longer to appear on your screen. The fee will be in Cambodian Riel, but you may also pay in USD. One USD is 4000 Cambodian Riel.
Should I give a tip?
Yes, we recommend you to give a tip. Although tipping is not mandatory in Cambodia and locals will normally pay the fee given by the app, foreigners are kind of expected to leave a tip. A reasonable tip is 500 or 1000 Riel and if you are very satisfied with your driver 2000 Riel will definitely make the driver remember you.
Keep in mind that drivers don’t make a huge profit. A driver who works from 9 am to 5 pm probably makes around 5 to 8 USD a day. PassApp charges 15% of their daily earning and the gas will cost them around $4 per day. Tipping may not be mandatory, it’s definitely very much appreciated.
The driver is calling you?
If you just hired a PassApp and get a call, it’s most likely the PassApp driver. Basically there is no reason for the driver to call you, unless there is a problem. He will be later, can’t find your destination or (if you did not enter your destination) it’s likely he wants to know where you’re going.
Some drivers speak English, but most driver don’t. We leave it up to you to decide if you want to answer his call, but in our experience, a driver who makes a call, is never a good sign.
Is using PassApp safe?
Using PassApp in Siem Reap is as safe as it gets. There are some known scams when it come to the use of PassApp, but they are more common in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. We never encountered them in Siem Reap.
While using PassApp there are a number of safety tips you may keep in mind:
- If you travel alone, sit in the middle of the PassApp;
- Keep your belongings on your lap or on the floor in front of you;
- Don’t hold your mobile phone outside the PassApp to take pictures or make a video;
- Don’t make small talk with the driver. He needs to keep his eyes and thoughts on the road;
- When leaving the PassApp check to see if you didn’t leave any belongings behind;
- When leaving the PassApp, check for upcoming vehicles.