Soksabike is a social enterprise that seeks to restructure Cambodia’s tourism industry by giving more control to local communities.
Their bicycle tours offer travelers an immersive insight into rural life, with slower-paced stops allowing tourists to interact with local families and businesses.
The organizers strive to reduce environmental impact by using reusable water bottles and organizing smaller group tours (max 6 people) so as not to disrupt the communities they visit.
Going Beyond Tourist Stereotypes
Established in 2010, Soksabike is a social enterprise pioneering responsible travel in Battambang, Cambodia. Committed to community development through tourism, they offer sustainable bicycle tours around the city’s rural countryside where guests can experience Cambodian life first-hand by visiting families and businesses.
Soksabike employs university students as guides for their tours, with the responsibility of informing guests about rural Cambodian lives while also ensuring their tour fees make a meaningful contribution to the local community. On these cycle tours, visitors have the chance to visit small family-run businesses producing cottage industry items like rice paper, bamboo sticky rice and dried bananas.
These types of tours not only give guests an authentic Cambodian experience, but it also allows them to learn about the country’s history and culture in a more intimate setting. With its slower-paced cycling pace, visitors are able to connect with locals and gain insight into how people live their daily lives.
The tours are run by Soksabike Social Enterprise, which is affiliated with Kinyei Cafe (see above). Kinyei promotes youth-driven social entrepreneurship and educates young people in hospitality and responsible tourism practices.
All guides are local university students, providing them with invaluable work experience in a culturally-relevant setting. By acting as interpreters and translators, they can elevate their status within their communities and gain access to professional networks created through working with travelers.
In addition to its tour business, Soksabike also has several initiatives that demonstrate its dedication to community development through tourism. They support local schools and host workshops about environmental protection and heritage preservation, encourage small business growth in Battambang, and donate a portion of their profits back into the communities visited during tours.
Soksabike is one of the Tree Alliance’s most active partners, and their tours serve as a prime example of how tourism can be utilized for positive community development. To reduce their environmental impact, they use reusable water bottles on tours and run them by bicycle rather than tuk tuk.
Engaging with Local Communities
In destinations like Cambodia, where a large proportion of tourists lack local knowledge, Soksabike is striving to bridge this gap through an educational bicycle tour that engages rural communities. It has developed a business model which ensures all money received by the company goes back into community projects and staff training schemes.
The social enterprise also employs local university graduates to run tours and manage the business, while providing scholarships for foreign language study. By giving these guides confidence and skillsets, Soksabike can continue its successful trajectory into the future.
Another way Soksabike has engaged with its local community is by donating a portion of each tour fee to families and small businesses. This provides these communities with income that would not have been possible without tourism.
Local families often struggle to provide for their children’s education or employment without additional income sources. Soksabike is making a difference by making sure this extra money reaches those most in need, helping to alleviate poverty in Battambang and its surrounding areas.
As a result, Soksabike was recognized as an honoree in The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, honoring organizations that demonstrate outstanding social change through their initiatives to build capacity within people working in travel and tourism. This award was presented in Bangkok, Thailand in September 2015 by President of WTTC and serves as testament to Soksabike’s dedication to engaging local communities and empowering youth through tourism.
At Soksabike, 41% of their earnings are reinvested back into their community and staff training scheme. They are dedicated to creating employment opportunities and developing local guides in a sector which now accounts for 10% of global GDP. Through training programs and opportunistic jobs, local students gain experience, confidence, leadership abilities and the necessary skills needed to excel in the tourism industry – ultimately equipping them with leadership abilities in their own communities.
Empowering Local Youth
Soksabike, a social enterprise based in Battambang, has created an educational bicycle tour which uses tourism as a vehicle to promote responsible travel. Led by local university students on these tours, travelers get to cycle through Battambang’s rural countryside while visiting family farms and businesses while learning about Cambodian life and culture.
Soksabike strives to transform tourism practices in Battambang by fostering traditional businesses and giving more agency to local entrepreneurs. This allows these individuals to maintain their livelihoods while preserving the economic and cultural significance of their communities.
They also emphasize vocational training for local youths, including young graduates of the college that runs their tour program. This provides them with a stable source of employment to aid in their studies and prevents them from finding work in dangerous or exploitative industries that would require them to leave their families and country behind.
Tour guides are local university students passionate about showing visitors around their community. Through sharing their love of the region and its people with guests, these tour guides create an unforgettable experience that you’ll want to recommend to friends.
Pum, who originally arrived at Soksabike as a shy college student with limited English abilities, has since blossomed into an independent and confident young guide. His infectious smile and positive outlook continue to motivate both guests and local families alike!
He also has a passion for the environment and sustainability. To reduce his tours’ environmental impact, he strives to find methods such as reusing water bottles, using eco-friendly bicycles, and running small groups.
Another aspect of Soksabike’s mission is to support the local community by investing 41% of earnings back into initiatives that benefit Battambang residents. This includes vocational training for youth, creation of sustainable community development projects and employment opportunities for local individuals.
Soksabike also prioritizes capacity development for their local team to equip them with the skills to propel their business forward and have a meaningful impact on the community. For instance, they sent two local owners to attend a Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism boot camp, where they learned new technologies for bike maintenance and safety.
Riding Towards a Sustainable Future
Soksabike, a social enterprise based in Battambang, provides tourists with an unforgettable cycling experience through Cambodian countryside and visiting local villages. Additionally, the company works closely with students from nearby universities to develop tours and employ them as guides for these outings.
The company invests 41% of their profits back into local community projects and staff training schemes, with a substantial portion going towards scholarships for their guides. This provides them with an array of skills such as leadership and entrepreneurialism, plus the assurance to make an impact within their own communities.
As a result, many staff have become actively engaged in community development initiatives after graduating from tour guide programs. This puts them in an advantageous position to continue their work and progress within the social enterprise world.
Another key initiative is the use of solar tuk tuks, manufactured and maintained in Battambang to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This makes them one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable transport options available in the country.
In addition to offering sustainable transportation, Soksabike strives to improve the lives of local families by supporting microenterprises located within local cottage industries. These small businesses manufacture items like rice paper, bamboo sticky rice and dried bananas.
By supporting local family businesses, Soksabike helps ensure local families have a sustainable source of income and stay connected to their heritage. This is especially crucial in rural areas where families may be uprooted from their homes and must seek work outside the home.
Soksabike offers a selection of tours that explore the traditional culture of Battambang. These include visits to local schools, markets and temples as well as multi-day cycling adventures that let guests fully immerse themselves in the local lifestyle.
These tours provide an exclusive insight into rural Cambodia, without polluting the environment. Bicycles are the most common mode of transport here and provide a great opportunity to explore the countryside and connect with local people.