While 2020 has been terrifying for most people, with Covid-19 being at the forefront of global news, Ubiquest Phnom Penh is organising the Ubiquest for Christmas event as a countdown to the New Year and beyond, to provide some relief from the disruption caused by the novel coronavirus.

To be held at Koh Dach, an island along the Mekong River that is 30sq km large and some 15km north of the capital, the event is expected to boost tourism after the public and expatriates remained home for most of the year.

An urban game and event agency with offices in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Lisbon (Portugal), and Phnom Penh, Ubiquest says it is organising the Christmas event to cheer people up.

Ubiquest had earlier organised two successful events – the tuk-race on October 3 and Halloween tuk-tuk quest on November 7.

Sambath Sreymom, the company’s e-commerce manager, tells The Post: “We had about 30 people joining in the tuk-tuk race. It was really fun. Everything went smoothly and it was quite enjoyable for all who took part.”

She says this time, Ubiquest is offering something a little different. The tuk-tuk race was a one-day challenge, but the Ubiquest for Christmas event will run for 35 days from December 19 to January 23.

A highlight of the event is “Time Zone”. A cycling event, it will be held on January 23 – the last day – and is for groups of five participants in a team who will challenge other teams to complete a 15km race within a set time.

There will be four challenges the teams have to complete within the timeframe as well.

Somewhat similar to a treasure hunt, the competition requires participants to gather information and clues as the teams race against each other to reach their next location.

In the DIY My Precious Gem Bracelet event, participants can discover the gems mined in Cambodia and create their own bracelet with jeweller and gemmologist Alice Varini. Photo supplied

Sreymom says the route itself will be a feast for the eyes as it takes participants through the island’s natural landscape, rice fields, and small villages. To participate, each entrant has to pay $36.

“Of all the activities, Time Zone is the only one that requires teams to compete against each other. All other activities are purely fun-based and geared towards encouraging participants to enjoy the sights, sounds, and new experiences,” she says.

When Ubiquest organised its tuk-tuk race, the winner won a night’s stay at a five star hotel. And since Time Zone coincides with Christmas, the first three winning teams will naturally be rewarded with presents in the form of prizes too.

For now, the company wants to keep the prizes secret and will only reveal it a day or two before the event. To find out more, please log on to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Ubiquestphnompenh/

On why Ubiquest Phnom Penh is organising these events, Sreymom says during the current pandemic, everyone is stressed with unemployment, restricted travel and other unprecedented issues. Thus, participating in interactive events will help lift their spirits.

Sreymom says, expatriates who most likely will be unable to return home for Christmas and locals alike, can participate in its events as an outlet to expend their boundless energy and relieve their stress.

“We understand the situation and we want to help take them out of their gloomy existence, at least for a while. We specifically organised the event in Koh Dach just so they can enjoy its fresh air and beautiful sights. We hope this will help them to relax,” she says.

Another event that is scheduled for December 19 is the fun-filled cooking class for children at 2pm, which has an entrance fee of $12 each.

It targets those aged between seven and 11 years and will be helmed by chef Alicia Toumi.

The DIY My Precious Gem Bracelet event will see people making their bracelets with Alice Varini, a jeweller who specialises in Khmer gemmology. In the process, participants can discover gems that are mined in the Kingdom.

From Takeo to Pailin and Ratanakkiri provinces, gems such as the blue topaz or green peridot can be found. Photo supplied

From Takeo to Pailin and Ratanakkiri provinces, the bright shiny gems that are mined include blue topaz and green peridot.

The last activity for December 19 starts at 6pm and is a Heritage Tour By Night costing $37 a person.

The tour will take participants to different buildings and places of note within the capital that bear witness to the Kingdom’s history.

Sreymom says during the tour, participants will discover a part of the city’s rich heritage from the time Cambodia was a French protectorate.

“Those who take part in this event will travel by tuk-tuks equipped with digital tablets as they discover Phnom Penh’s beautiful architectural heritage,” she says.

Other children-friendly activities are Waiting Santa Claus, an event that’s suitable for children aged between eight and 12 years.

During this event, children will be entertained with games, followed by a Christmas lunch and a movie at the Plantation Hotel.

Other activities that will be held from December 19 to January 3 include a Treasure Hunt at the Factory Phnom Penh.

Participants can attend with their families and take part in various challenges. The winning team takes home a prize.

The Phare Circus performing troop, a household name in Cambodia, will put on a show for limited audiences at the Factory.

The cycling challenge will be held at Koh Dach, a 30sq km island about 15km north of Phnom Penh on the Mekong River. Photo supplied

Sreymom assured that all activities will be held in line with strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

“Everyone has to wear a mask, and we will provide alcohol and sanitisers too, so there is little to worry about,” she says.

In case the government calls off the event, Sreymom says those who register to participate have nothing to worry as any fees that are collected will be refunded in full.

“We will surely refund every cent they have paid,” she says.

For more information and the full list of events Ubiquest is organising, please log on to https://hello.last2ticket.com/event/3433