Tech in Cambodia: Exnet app review
I was told that there was no technology in Cambodia. There may be some mobile apps in Cambodia but they are probably not that effective and not even worth trying.
However, after engaging with the tech community, I realized how much progress was being made –– fast.
I have Khmer friends building mobile applications and putting their hearts and souls into solving everyday problems that Cambodians face. Initially, I thought the holy grail for Cambodia would be getting outside companies to understand Cambodia and then invest in Cambodia and bring their offices and services to the country. However, so many Cambodians are already empowered to solve their own problems that I decided to try a few of the applications that my friends have been so passionate about building.
Plus, I think it’s important for the rest of the world to see how innovative Cambodia is and to get a glimpse into the tech scene in Cambodia.
First off, I tried the ride-hailing app, Exnet Taxi (Cambodia), which my friends have been raving about.
I downloaded the app easily (no need to put in your cc info since cash is king!) and shared my location so that I could call a taxi to my apartment. I was still packing up my bag and assumed it would take at least 5 minutes for my taxi to arrive. To my surprise, it arrived within 30 seconds.
I don’t have a Cambodian phone so I freaked out and rushed to pack my bag since I had no way to let my driver know I would be another 30 seconds and I wasn’t quite sure how long he would wait.
1 minute later I was downstairs and so was my taxi. I got in and enjoyed a leisurely, air-conditioned ride to my destination. I normally pay about 4$ for the same distance in a Tuk Tuk so I hoped I wouldn’t rack up a crazy bill.
The taxi is just like your traditional meter taxi, so at the end of my ride, I was able to see that it was about $5.50. Totally reasonable for a 30 minute trip on the other side of town. My driver didn’t get lost once and I didn’t have to give any directions (which is good because my Khmer is not that great.)
I paid my driver in cash and thanked him.
There are of course motos and tuk tuks available to get you from point A to point B in Cambodia. However, haggling with the drivers is a pain and sometimes they will trick you and charge you more than a taxi. I have had tuk tuk drivers ask me for $6 for the same trip!
The taxi is air conditioned, but most importantly, it is safe. Bag snatchers are common, especially in my area, so if I’m traveling solo at night, I would definitely prefer a taxi.
There’s so much traffic in Cambodia that your trips will take around 30 min or perhaps even an hour, and a taxi is a great place to send a few emails or make a few calls. You can’t do that with other forms of transportation. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive, but if you want to stay safe or get some work done, or just stay cool during the dry season, try a taxi –– and use Exnet to call it.
Exnet was created by two local entrepreneurs and the prices are fairly reasonable. Minimum fare is $1 and Exnet charges the driver about $0.25 for each request they take as well as 10 percent of the total fare. The drivers are registered within Exnet’s system, which means they must posses a valid driver’s license.
Verdict: Better than Uber
I’ve only used the app once, but based on this sole experience, I would definitely use Exnet again… and recommend it to a friend! :)