BANGKOK — Southeast Asia is one of the world’s busiest travel destination today. And with the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Economic Integration moving forward, more and more tourists will find their way to Southeast Asia.
But while the dynamic region proved to be an attractive tourist magnet, it is also one the most difficult to navigate.
Travel isn’t just about booking your plane ticket and hotel. Planning for a trip entails a tedious research on your destination and how to get there. It goes down to the very intricate details of finding transportation to move you around the city or transfers to other places or if you are in the well-connected Asean, your next country of destination.
And with Southeast Asia still being fixated with traditional modes of transportation, moving around Asean can be quite difficult for inexperienced foreigners. Timetables and route schedules are not published and you can barely find them on the internet.
There are language barriers and dealing with operators and ticketing agencies can be cumbersome. Or worse, you can be scammed or overcharged by scalpers taking advantage of tourists.
A multi-awarded startup wants to challenge that.
Here comes 12Go.Asia (pronounced like “want to go”), an e-ticketing platform for all forms of public transportation across Southeast Asian countries.
Founded in 2012, Singapore-based 12Go.asia is now operating in at least eight Asean countries namely, Malaysia, Thailand Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and the Philippines. Its main operation is in Bangkok, Thailand, a bustling travel and tourism hub in Asia.
Since its founding, the e-ticketing platform, which targets 95% of Westerners, has served 500,000 travelers already.
The platform works with over 400 railways, ferries, buses, flight, transfers and vans, and other tour operators.
Making the traditional efficient
12go.asia hopes to build from the tricky traditional mode of transportations in Asia by helping it become efficient by infusing technology and building data systems.
While the locals may be adept with the traditional routes and transport systems in their respective countries, the system or the lack of system can be confusing for foreign visitors.
At present, the platform allows users to book intercity transfers and international connections ahead of their of time or at least a day before departure. This makes travel planning easy.
For example, one can arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and visit Singapore as well by booking an international bus for as low as P 622.00 or $ 12.8.
In Bangkok, considered to be an major transportation hub, one can go to cities in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam by booking direct or combination of different transportation modes such as trains and VIP buses.
Flights can also be booked on the platform, making it a single entry point passengers, operators and agents.
“Our ultimate goal is to connect door-to-door the whole ASEAN region from transfers to flights under the same standard ticket. This is why our team is managing and connecting operators from many countries Asia with customers from all over the world,” said in a statement.
Just show up
Booking is easy. Just log on to 12go.asia and choose your departure city and destination. Click on the dates and presto, you will be provided with transport options to choose from. Payment can be through credit cards or Paypal.
The platform allows users to book in their preferred language and currency.
After a successful payment, you will receive a voucher which you will use to claim your seat or ticket depending on the mode of transportation. For buses, you may just present a printed copy of your voucher or show the e-ticket on your smartphone or tablet.
However, some transportations modes like trains in Bangkok for example still require the physical ticket. But worry not, 12go.asia secures it for you and you may claim the ticket in their office at the railway stations.
With more operators working with 12go.asia and more passengers booking, the young company hopes to build an efficient transport network in Southeast Asia that traveling easy for locals and tourists alike.