Singapore transport start-up Anywhr maps out warn trips for vacationers

SINGAPORE: A vacation in Kathmandu had never been tip on Ms Oh Kai Lin’s ride bucket list yet together with a friend, a 27-year-old trafficked to a Nepalese collateral about 4 months ago and a four-day outing incited out to be a noted one.

Despite a brief stay, a Singaporeans managed to go on a half-day hiking debate and traipsed by a city’s abounding mosaic of birthright sites. It was during one of a country’s UNESCO sites, a famed Pashupatinath temple, where they celebrated a Hindu cremation rite on a banks of Nepal’s holy Bagmati stream – an knowledge that Ms Oh described as “unforgettable”.

The friends also had a float of a lifetime when they spent tighten to 40 mins in an over-crowded micro outpost fit for 9 passengers, yet was instead ferrying 17 people.

The perspective inside a micro outpost – a common mode of ride for locals in Nepal. (Photo: Oh Kai Lin)

But a biggest surprise, as Ms Oh recalled, was meaningful her holiday end usually one week before departure.

Earlier this year, Ms Oh had sealed adult for a outing to an different end with Anywhr, a homegrown “surprise trip” start-up. After indicating her preferences, Ms Oh paid S$700 and was kept in torment about her holiday end until an pouch containing a travelogue arrived a week before her scheduled trip.

“By right, we shouldn’t be opening a pouch until we are during a airfield yet we got a bit too excited,” Ms Oh pronounced with a laugh. “We had a large surprise. We weren’t awaiting Nepal during all given it was such a brief trip.”

The nightfall perspective during Boudhanath church in Kathmandu. (Photo: Oh Kai Lin)

The astonishing vacation in Kathmandu was Ms Oh’s second outing with Anywhr. Her initial reservation took her to Vietnam for a initial time and she spent 4 days in a coastal city of Da Nang.

Apart from a preference of not carrying to plan, Ms Oh, a open menial who is posterior a part-time postgraduate course, pronounced engagement a poser holiday gave her a event to ride outward of her comfort zone.

“I’m some-more of a city person, so if we were to select a place to revisit in Vietnam, I’d go for Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh where I’d feel some-more during ease,” she said. “The impulse we knew we was going to Danang and Kathmandu, it felt like we was severe myself given these are places we wouldn’t select on my own.”

The Boudhanath church in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo: Oh Kai Lin)


And that is what a founders of Anywhr, Ms Zelia Leong and Mr Felix Tan, set out to do.

Launched in January, a online use prides itself on formulating holidays for travellers like Ms Oh, who are open to engagement a vacation though carrying to know where they are holidaying until a 11th hour.

The judgment is simple: Travellers get to prove their interests such as a form of holiday – adventure, getaway, knowledge or a wildcard- as good as their budget, ride dates and other information including dietary restrictions and places they cite not to go to.

After remuneration is made, a start-up starts formulation and within 3 days, travellers will accept a “teaser email” with sum about a weather, make-up list and time to be during a airport.

A week before departure, a customised travelogue with moody and accommodation details, suggested places to visit, as good as S$30 value of a country’s banking will arrive in a mail. Adventurous travellers might opt to open a pouch usually after reaching a airport.

Travellers will accept a customised travelogue and S$30 value of a country’s banking in an pouch one week before departure. (Photo: Anywhr)

Anywhr’s founders explain to be a initial “surprise trip” use in Asia. They declined to exhibit specific total for a series of trips requisitioned so distant and would usually contend that it has been a “three-digit expansion in percentage” given a launch.

Customers have been especially younger Singaporeans, yet a start-up has seen a handful of bookings from Malaysia and Brunei. It has also accommodated special requests such as formulation family trips involving seniors or immature toddlers, as good as post-breakup trips.

Apart from a preference factor, a founders trust that their use appeals to those who are tempted by a awaiting of journey and are peaceful to try over a common traveller destinations.

“We open them adult to less-travelled destinations they never knew existed, as good as ride options or accommodation that no Singaporean has requisitioned before,” pronounced Ms Leong, who would usually exhibit that a start-up has sent travellers as distant as “ancient civilisations and tiny islands” in eastern Europe.

“We guarantee no Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Bali categorical island,” she added.

To safeguard that, a founders are banking on their possess ride experiences, as good as partnerships with airlines, hotels and ride agencies.

“Everything we advise in a travelogue are internal secrets,” Ms Leong told Channel NewsAsia. “We partner airlines, hotels and internal homestays to get a best rate and information. We have internal partners to assistance us do peculiarity checks.”

Founders Zelia Leong and Felix Tan. (Photo: Anywhr)


While a start-up usually began operations this year, a suspicion of a “surprise trip” group emerged dual years ago when Ms Leong went on a solo backpacking outing to Europe.

The 26-year-old had bought a one-way sheet to Stockholm before creation her approach to a Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland and Ukraine with minimal planning.

“The usually formulation we did was for Stockholm where we found a couchsurfing horde for a week and a rest was usually about being alone in places we knew small about. we took a cheapest buses and trains, and found places we never knew existed. It was afterwards we realised a best ride practice are not about visiting touristy places.”

But a try usually materialised after Ms Leong met her co-founder Mr Tan, who was her co-worker during German e-commerce organisation Rocket Internet and also a extemporaneous traveller.

After spending S$300 on website domains, a twin began assembly adult on weekends to build their website.

“We would spend a whole day during Starbucks,” Mr Tan, 26, recalled. 

The website was adult and regulating in 3 months and a twin did not have to wait prolonged for their initial booking.

“The initial greeting was ‘Oh my god, we got a booking!’ It was a solo lady traveller who chose a three-night outing of internal experiences… We still had a full-time jobs afterwards so we were freaking out a bit yet we did it,” pronounced Ms Leong.

As some-more bookings came in, a Singaporeans motionless to leave their jobs a few months ago to turn full-time entrepreneurs. They have also changed into a friend’s bureau in Toa Payoh North.

Just like how their gusto for random holidays have given them astonishing ride experiences, a extemporaneous business suspicion has also led Ms Leong and Mr Tan on to a warn turn in their career paths.

Ms Leong, for one, had never suspicion of apropos her possess boss.

“Everyone says (entrepreneurship) is unequivocally tough yet it can be finished if we unequivocally wish to. we mean, we started off with nothing.”

Both founders pronounced their time during Rocket Internet has given them a headstart in distinguished out on their own.

Mr Tan said: “All a prior practice during other start-ups taught me how to start a association and how to go on a budget. we know all we indispensable was a website… and it’s about achieving some-more with a slightest volume of resources.”

He added: “When we see travellers regulating a hashtag (#GoAnywhr), it feels utterly ‘shiok’ given we finished that outing occur and they favourite it. For me, that’s fulfilling.”

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