Kinyei + Soksabike Tours Celebrated as one of World’s Top Sustainable Tourism Operations

Finalists and winners of 2-16 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Founders Katie and Mel are just wrapping up their time in Texas – it’s worth mentioning this is our first time seeing one another face to face in nearly 3 years! – after an exciting week attending the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC) Global Summit, representing Kinyei (Kinyei Cafe and Soksabike) as a finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

The WTTC Summit, held in Dallas this year, covered two full days of speakers, panels, presentations, and networking with an all star group of influential players in global tourism including major hoteliers, airlines, tour service providers as well as government leaders, economists and academics.

While the WTTC Summit mostly represented the interests of these major tourism players, the Tourism for Tomorrow finalists represented lean, fresh and innovative approaches to tourism and sustainability. Kinyei was acknowledged in the top three sustainable tourism organizations for doing outstanding work with people and communities amongst a group of 15 finalists representing 14 countries in the 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards supported by AIG.

Though Kinyei didn’t walk away with the award, we were thrilled to be among such impressive company – Jus’ Sail, a St. Lucia based vocational training operator, and Youth Career Initiative (YCI), a UK based hotel and hospitality training partnership both do excellent work towards improving youth employment outcomes around the globe. Have a read about YCI, the winners in the category here.

It was a jam packed few days that we could go on for hours about but instead we’ve tried to distill a few key insights we walked away with for you here.

  1. Leadership and innovation coming from the little guys – it seems the movers and shakers of new ideas were all the small operators, largely those of us involved in the Tourism for Tomorrow awards. It strikes us how important it is for us to have strong linkages between the big guys and the emerging players for the industry and for the future of the planet. We shared a bus ride with the CEO of Lonely Planet, dined at a table with the former CEO of Disney, and current CEO of a major international cruise liner, but the story we told about the Kinyei and Soskabike teams was always the biggest crowd pleaser.
  2. Something that shone brightly in the Tourism for Tomorrow symposium for us was the collective appreciation and respect for the concepts of tourism that support pride of place, dignity in work, empathy and peace (check out the work of Steve Killelea)
  3. We met our tribe at the Tourism for Tomorrow awards (we spoke the same language and felt part of a broader community) – they are exciting and operating in amazing locations and we want to visit them all! We already know that two of the sailing initiatives will be doing a staff exchange, and we’ve got our own collaborations cooking…so stay tuned!

So, what’s next?

Well, we’ve got an awesomely expanded community, access to cool new tools for impact measurement, and will continue to ramp up our involvement in more ASEAN region sustainable tourism groups and events.
If you’re in the sustainable tourism, social enterprise or a related field we would absolutely love for you to get in touch and share with us what you’re working on. That’s what this collective impact thing’s all about!
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Kinyei shortlisted as Finalist for 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards


All-Kinyei-Logos for blogFinalists in The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been announced, recognizing Kinyei International (KI) as one of three finalists in the People Category for their dedication to sustainable social change.

KI represents Soksabike Tours and Kinyei Cafe; sibling businesses in Battambang, that are youth-focused social enterprises armed with the mission of providing meaningful training in small business management, hospitality, and sustainable tourism practices.

“The recognition from the WTTC takes on special meaning this year for us, given the inclusion of sustainable tourism practices within the new Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and the UN recently declaring 2017 the Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development” – Melina Chan, Co-Founder, Kinyei International

Attracting 157 applications across a number of categories, the People Category recognizes organizations that work exceptionally to enhance the capacity of people, and to support them to enter the Travel & Tourism sector as well as offering fair employment practices. 

KI’s placement as a finalist in the WTTC Awards comes on the heels of another Responsible Travel accolade; KI was named the winner of Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award in the Responsible Tourism Initiatives category in September 2015.

“We are humbled to be recognized on a global stage for our sound tourism practices, particularly by the WTTC as they are such a prominent leader in raising awareness of sustainable travel practices” – Katie Hallaran, Co-Founder, Kinyei International

Kinyei-Top 10-0028

For more information, please contact:

Katie Hallaran   |   +1 203 558 5264   |   |


Our Kinyei family is growing!

Read all about it!!

Our family is growing! @Feel Good Cafe and Coffee Roasters and @Kinyei are new partners and co-owners of @Kinyei Cafe in Battambang. Same wonderful Kinyei Cafe staff and excellent coffee, with some new food on the menu and a new look! Come and sample our new goodies and see our fresh new look for our reopening this month (November).

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 4.11.04 PM

It is with great anticipation that we share the news that Kinyei Cafe has formalized our partnership with our roaster, Feel Good Group. As of October 1st of this year, Feel Good became the newest majority owner of the cafe, and the operating partner on st. 1 ½ . Feel Good’s expertise in hospitality and bean roasting combined with the Kinyei team’s reputation for excellence in espresso making and dedication to employee development positions both Kinyei and Feel Good for continued success and market leadership.

This transition also signifies something else to get excited about; the beginning of local ownership, a milestone that we’ve been working towards since we launched Kinyei Cafe! We’re thrilled that Yong (Chhouert Leng), our tireless manager, will join the ranks of the owners. We wanted to update you on these new developments now because this month marks the soft opening of the new space, with some amazing aesthetic improvements and menu additions. But let’s back up, we want to give you the full story, and answer some of the FAQs you might have.


On the evolution of our relationship with Feel Good:

Kinyei met Feel Good a few years back at the 2013 Cambodian National Barista Competition in Phnom Penh via Sakana Long and Untac Nem, our award winning baristas who forged the relationships. The Feel Good connection blossomed as Kinyei began to buy Feel Good roasted beans, and seek advice from Marc and Jose on small scale renovations and management strategies. Through these collaborations, the Feel Good and Kinyei teams became acquainted, and linked.

On the potential for shared value:

This year, the desire on both ends to formalize a relationship propelled Kinyei and Feel Good to start discussions over what a partnership might look like. Both teams prioritized sustainability, growth and local ownership in order to maximize the shared value. After growing their two cafes and roasting facility in Phnom Penh, Jose and Marc felt strongly about Battambang as their next move. Mel and Katie led consultations with Yong and the team, and collectively knew a Feel Good merge could mean big things for Kinyei Cafe.

On the logistics of the deal:

We began discussions in May and through an impressive skype effort (where we relied on Cameron Neil, Hian Chan and Ben Hopper), with Katie in Cambodia in June and July, we reached an agreement in August. Mel came through to Battambang to arrange the transition in August, and here we are in November with the new Cafe ready to launch!


_Will the name of the Cafe change? _No, Kinyei Cafe will remain Kinyei Cafe! Feel Good understands the power of Kinyei’s brand in Battambang and throughout Cambodia and will operate the cafe under that name. After all,our name is a core part of the identity that the team has cultivated over the years!

_What does this mean for Kinyei’s talented staff? _You will still see the same faces at Kinyei Cafe. Our current staff will stay on and benefit from enhanced on the job training, and more opportunities for growth and leadership

_How will it affect Soksabike? And what does it mean for Kinyei generally? _Kinyei International will retain a stake in Kinyei Cafe, and as full owners of Soksabike, Kinyei International will ensure that the relationship between the sibling businesses remains symbiotic and dynamic!

Finally, we want to thank you for being a part of the Kinyei family, and for your involvement over the years which ultimately ensured this huge victory for Kinyei, and for believing in the small, social enterprise models that make small but significant impacts in local communities. We couldn’t have done this without the support, mentorship, and generosity of the Kinyei network. We hope if you’re around you will come by to celebrate! And do stay tuned for more exciting news on the new Kinyei Cafe!

kinyei team pailin coffee trip

Cafe team during a trip to Pailin coffee farm

Kinyei recognized as regional leader in sustainable tourism; an update on our Wild Asia Award

As Kinyei turns five years old, what better way to celebrate how far we’ve come on our journey to create meaningful community tourism projects in Battambang than to be recognized as a leader in the sustainability and the responsible tourism industry. We are over the moon to share with our friends, long-time supporters, customers and community that Kinyei has been named the winner of the Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative category by Wild Asia.

Guide Phalla leading through a rice field

Guide Phalla leading through a rice field

Kinyei is an initiative aimed at creating sustainable social change through youth focused social enterprises. Soksabike Tours and Kinyei Cafe, Kinyei’s key enterprises, are sibling businesses in Battambang, Cambodia with the aim of providing meaningful training in hospitality and responsible tourism practices. We’re excited to receive the award for both of these tremendous efforts, but we also wanted to give a shout out to the other finalists in our category EXO Foundation Cambodia and CBT Vietnam, two commendable responsible tourism initiatives worth visit if you have the chance!

Yurie with other Wild Asia Awardees

Yurie with other Wild Asia Awardees

Our trusty Soksabike Manager, Yurie Nagashima, accepted the award on behalf of Kinyei last week in Bangalore, India. It was also an opportunity to showcase Kinyei’s mission, and Battambang’s unique potential on a world stage. Yurie was also asked to speak alongside Amy McLoughlin of Wild Asia on Social Innovation in Responsible Tourism.

A bit about the Awards: Wild Asia is the first Asia-focused, responsible tourism technical and strategic support partner working to sustainably enhance tourism sectors across South and Southeast Asia. Each year, Wild Asia chooses winners across five categories to showcase as leaders in the industry. Kinyei is joining the ranks of some of the most impressive tourism initiatives out there including Scuba Junkie, a marine conservation partnership in Malaysia, viavia Jogja, an arts, culture, gastronomy and adventure tour operator in Indonesia, and Lisu Lodge, a natural heritage tourism operation in Thailand. We are honored to join a community of conscientious tourism operators.

_A bit about the specifics of Kinyei’s Award: _As the recipient of the Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative award, we are delighted to be recognized as a champion for grassroots initiatives for responsible tourism in Battambang and in Cambodia. Since Kinyei was conceived of, we’ve been motivated by inclusivity, community narratives, and the power of collaboration. Throughout our projects, from the early days co-creating digital communications solutions with local NGOs through the Profile Project, to helping launch Sammaki a local arts community gallery, to our social impact evaluations with our Soksabike Tour community partners, to sending Sakana off to Singapore to represent Cambodia in the regional barista competition, we have never done anything alone. Our recognition symbolizes the admirable efforts of all of our collaborators and supporters over the years. So, thanks to all of you!

We asked Yurie a few questions about her take on the awards, and, en route to India, she was able to give us some grains of wisdom – we’ll have them up for you to see so check back soon! In the meantime, you can read more in a recent Khmer Times write up about the projects. And for now we just want to say thank you for supporting the Kinyei mission! We couldn’t have done this without the efforts of so many of you. And if you haven’t stopped by for a cycle tour or an award winning cappuccino yet, we’d love to welcome you in!

Kinyei Cafe Team

Kinyei Cafe Team

Sakana wins Gold at 2013 Cambodian Barista Championships

We’re ecstatic to share the news that Sakana Long has just been named the 2013 Cambodian Barista Champion this past weekend at the Sofitel Phnom Penh! Congratulations, Sak!

Sakana with her GoldSakana was the youngest and only provincial entrant in the competition dominated by participants from Phnom Penh, and was up against competitors from international coffee chains such as Gloria Jeans (3rd place) and Costa Coffee (2nd place). Sakana carries on the Barista Champion title for Kinyei in 2013 after Untac’s win in 2012. We are so proud of Sak and the entire team for all of their hard work in preparing for the competition, and in their dedication to great coffee making!

“Yesterday when I get champion, I’m crying I’m so happy”, Sakana’s responded about her win on Monday.Sak as her name is called

Living with her four siblings and grandmother in Slaket Village just on the outskirts of Battambang city, she joined Kinyei Cafe in December 2010 to earn a wage to support her brother completing high school whilst gaining some skills of her own.  When asked what she’d like to do next, she said she wants to learn how to taste coffee, fix the machine, continue to improve her barista skills and understand everything about how the coffee machine works. She also wants to learn about the picking, fermenting, roasting, and cupping processes.

And another bit of fantastic news – Untac, Kinyei’s enigmatic barista, Soksabike tourguide and first place winner of last year’s national competition went on to compete last month and place in the regional barista championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Untac was invited to be a technical judge on the panel for the 2013 Cambodia competition.

We wanted to hear a bit more from Sakana about her experience over the past weekend:

Sakana under pressure

How did you feel while competing?

“In the first round I was so scared; I shaking a little bit, very excited and nervous at the same time. In the second round I was not so scared and was more confident but a bit nervous.”

How did you feel when you won, when they announced your name?

“I feel like I’m so amazed, I never think about it; the first time I think I cannot do it, but after that, I can do it, you know what I mean?”

And what did Untac have to say? “There were 11 competitors from all over Cambodia this year and they’re all getting one step forward, so everyone’s getting much better than last year.”

“The first round, I’m really nervous for Sak. At first her hands were shaking but she managed to make 12 drinks in 15 minutes – with just 2 seconds to spare, so rushed, but managed to squeeze in before time.”Optimized-sak during 2013

“And the second time, her performance was just so smooth. If you look at the performance, I just can’t believe how she does that. Every movement is confident and she knows what to do and she’s cleaning as she goes. And she says she’s not nervous at all” Untac reported.

Sakana has already received some glowing feedback from the head judge about her capacity to learn and improve between the debriefing of the first round and her performance in the finals. “She took on board all the advice given to her to better her performance and raised the bar for Cambodia as a whole” says Ross Bright, World Barista Championship judge 2007-2008, current Speciality Coffee Association of Europe National Coordinator and Master Roaster for Spinelli Coffee Singapore . – Check out our storify – a moment-by-moment account of the event told through tweets and images as it was unfolding!

CRA Barista Champions - Kinyei Team


We’re over the moon for Sakana and the team. Stay tuned for updates including the next steps for Sakana and Untac, representing the finest in coffee in all of Cambodia!

Soksabike is hiring!

Hi There! Soksabike is hiring Managers, hear all about it…

Soksabike bicycle tours is a social enterprise offering people all around the world an insight into the traditional livelihoods of the Cambodian countryside. We are passionate about responsible tourism and focus on educating guests in the realities of life in rural Cambodia and ensuring that visitors have a positive impact on the local communities – economically, socially and environmentally.

Our Goal

To educate tourists about daily Cambodian life, to facilitate real cross-cultural connections, and to provide our guests with guidance and information on how they can have a positive impact on the locations they travel to. In addition to these goals, we aim to provide our tourists with an awesome and unforgettable experience.

Position :  Business Manager and Operations Manager or Assistant Manager (1-2 positions)


Soksabike is an established social enterprise with 3 years of operation in Battambang. A successful applicant will be based in Battambang and work with a high degree of autonomy to further Soksabike’s social impact and success.

Soksabike is a small but active business and requires managers to be flexible, initiative-taking and dedicated to the project’s vision. Management experience is desirable but more important is commitment to self-improvement and the success of the project.

Business Management Responsibilities:

Soksabike business manager is primarily responsible for sales and marketing, business strategy and development of new tour products, with oversight from an active board.

Ideally the business manager will have experience or a strong interest in tourism and entrepreneurship, and some familiarity with accounting / financial management and external communications.

Operations Management Responsibilities:

Soksabike operations manager is responsible for management of all operational aspects of the Soksabike including management of office operations, guides, sales and bookings, and ensuring the ongoing high quality of all tours that Soksabike runs.

The operations manager will have experience or a strong interest in responsible tourism, hospitality, administration and communications.

General Requirements

  • Interest in cycling
  • Has Graduated with a bachelor degree at University (Any major relating to this job opportunity is a bonus)
  • Can start working at 20-30 hours per week, between 6:30 am – 5:00 pm as needed
  • Is passionate about sharing rural Cambodian culture
  • Respects all members of the local community
  • Excellent interpersonal skills within both Khmer and Western cultures
  • Can solve problems quickly and creatively as they appear
  • Has strong spoken and written English
  • Has good communication skills including online communications
  • Has strong computer skills (Excel, Google Docs, Gmail)
  • Flexibility and ability to work in a team towards a common goal
  • Experience working with foreigners a plus
  • If you possess the above characteristics, we want you to apply!

  • Attach a CV and Cover letter plus any related documents and deliver either:
    • Directly to our office on Street 1.5 (Affiliated with Kinyei Cafe) at the south of Psar Nat (Behind ANZ bank)
      – or –
    • By email to
  • Deadline for Application is January 28, 2013
  • Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
  • For additional enquiries, please contact our current Soksabike Manager : 

    Phalla Yai : 077 833 170   Email:


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    Ready…Set…100k cycle!

    Fearless Soksabike Guide, Untac, will be taking on the Angkor Wat Bike Race coming up in two days on December 1st. He’ll join thousands of cyclists from Cambodia and the world for the 100km jaunt around the temple complexes, raising money for vulnerable, at-risk Cambodian youth.

    How’s he feeling going into the race?

    You know, I feel prepared. To prep I would train with Phearon, a ride to Sampeu Mountain 2-3 times up and down. People who see me ask questions, why are you doing that hard work? Because normally they don’t do it, they don’t understand why someone would.

    Untac on Bike

    Untac during prep for the 100km race in Siem Reap

    Untac has also been training with BTB Bike and Rithy who showed tips about riding bike long distance and train properly. Untac will be on a mountain bike, since he prefers it.

    He’s heading up to Siem Reap by bike with fellow Soskabike Guides Phearon and Reaksmey today. He knows that the first half  is ok, but last 50 km is hard, where he loses power. So what moves him to go on?

    Just think about the team here, pride for Soksabike and think about going through hard thing, legs or ass sore but mind control body instead of body control mind. I’m going to drink lots of coconuts and eat lots of bananas. Maybe try to eat spaghetti for power.

    Stay tuned for more updates from the race. For now,

    Goodluck, Untac!

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    This week! 3 Open Workshops at Kinyei

    We are excited to host three technology related Open Workshops this week at Kinyei. Murray Bourne will be joining us from Singapore to deliver workshops on website development, image editing, and PHP programming. The schedule of workshops will be:

    Tuesday 2nd Oct 
    10:00 to 12:00 pm
    Workshop (open workshop for anyone managing a website):
    Topic: What visitors really do on your Website and what to do about it


    Wednesday 3rd Oct 5:00 to 7:00 pm
    Workshop (open workshop for anyone who shares digital images)
    Topic: Image editing


    Friday 5th Oct
    5:00 to 7:00pm
    Workshop (open workshop for anyone interested in Web development)
    Topic: Introduction to PHP programming

    About the Presenter

    Murray Bourne is an educator, trainer, and Web developer. He has a keen interest in applying analytics to improve a wide range of human activities, including Web usability. Murray is an Australian who has lived in Asia for a large portion of his adult life. He is currently a freelance trainer based in Singapore.  facilitator with many years of experience in Japan, Singapore and Australia. Most recently he has facilitated workshops at InSTEDD in Phnom Penh.

    Who are they for?

    Workshops will be in English and Khmer (it there is interest, translation will be provided). The workshops will work best with a mix of participants so please invite both your expat and Khmer colleagues.

    How to register?

    Email the following to

    Your name:

    Number of people participating:

    Which workshop(s) you are interested in attending:

    Organisation (if applicable):

    What do you want to achieve in this workshop:

    Workshop places are limited so please register to ensure a place. As always, participation in Kinyei Open Workshops is free of charge. Look forward to seeing you there!

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    Notes on Kinyei’s Barista Train Up

    This rainy season in Battambang the Cafe team has stayed plenty busy skilling up with a number of barista workshops, thanks to the expertise and generosity of two standout trainers. We are all thrilled after visits from Jasper Coffee resident experts Stacy and Evan with our new know-how and honed machine skills, bringing our espresso quality up a few notches, and helping us set new goals for the future of the Cafe.

    Kinyei had a fantastic time hosting Stacey Irving in June. She brought her extensive wisdom of all things espresso making, as well as her passion for crafts and crocheting. Stacey taught the Cafe team to be proficient in self-critiquing their barista skills, and made additions to our work-in-progress Kinyei Barista Training Manual. She also delighted the crafty Cafe staff with a paper crafting session, thanks to materials donated from AWARE global, her craft-based NGO.

    Evan Ong, celebrated espresso machine technician from Jasper bestowed heaps of knowledge on the newly appointed espresso machine technicians. The group learned everything from milk steaming tricks to the technical workings of the machine. We’re gearing up to offer our own machine technician services to other cafes in Battambang that run into snaffoos with their machines. Mel recounts,

    Evan was really impressed with how the guys picked it all up and how well they worked together. He showed us a nifty trick to block two of the holes in our steam wand so now our milk is phenomenal!

    Evan was awesome to have around to share his own stories of a start up business – a dive shop he helped to develop on an island in Fiji in order to provide job opportunities to young people that didn’t involve moving away.

    One of the most impressive things about our Barista expert friends is their own investment in community projects. Stacey’s AWARE project, and Evan’s startup dive shop business are inspirations to us at Kinyei, and we’re psyched to connect with others that prioritize community based projects in their lives.

    This August we had our fifth intake of aspiring baristas in the Cafe! Welcome to Vatha, Bopha, and Chhaiya. And it’s just in time for the Cambodian Restaurant association’s Barista competition in October. Stay tuned to see who takes the torch from Untac!

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    June visitors and happenings at Kinyei

    We’re mere hours (look right) from the end of our Start Some Good fundraiser and with the support of 128 backers, we’ve raised over $15,000! We’re blown away. Thank you everyone! And if you’d still like to donate or share with friends, family and interested folks, there is time yet…get those pledges in by 11 am Sat Melbourne time, 9 pm Fri US EST. Also, IF we can crack $20k by the end of the campaign Mel and Katie will perform a special number on the ukulele and post it online!**

    It’s truly been a packed month in Battambang; we’ve hosted three visitors with lots of wisdom to share, and one more to come. Kinyei has been buzzing with new know-how and tips on social media, and tools for cross cultural communications. The management team in training also soaked up a knowledge on good leadership skills, and got back to basics discussing “what is a manager?”

    John Jablonka, a Darwin-based cross cultural communications guru, spent a week coaching Kinyei team,  and facilitating focus groups on culture, problem solving and planning. He was a real home run with the team and we’re looking forward to hosting him again in the not so distant future<img loading="lazy" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-1269" title="DSC_0755" src="/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/DSC_0755-300x199.jpg" alt="" width="192" height="127" srcset="/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/DSC_0755-300x199.jpg 300w, /wp-content/uploads/2012/06/DSC_0755-1024x680.jpg 1024w, /wp-content/uploads/2012/06/DSC_0755.jpg 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 192px) 100vw, 192px" />

    We were also lucky to have Sarah Moran on a trip from Melbourne to BTB running a series of social media workshops for the team. It’s safe to say her workshops were a hit and that there were more participants than computers!

    Beijing-based Nick McIntosh joined in to assist with the tech workshops as well as document the good learnings happening all around.

    And in just a few days we’ll be welcoming Jasper‘s own barista trainer Stacey Irving to boost our espresso making prowess. She’ll also be speaking on coffee appreciation to the larger Battambang community. The team is ready for this refresher, after all we haven’t had the expert barista’s eye in our shop since James visited last year. Here’s to another month packed full of learnings!


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