We’re almost there! Bulgaria PHP Conference is this weekend and we can’t be more excited to welcome you all to the beautiful city of Sofia for three days of everything PHP! For your convenience, here’s all the important information in one post. If you’ve purchased a Workshop ticket, you will receive a separate email about it.
The airport is ~10 km away from the town and takes approximately 20 minutes taxi drive (~15BGN). The main taxi provider is Taxi OK Supertrans AD /contractual partner of Sofia Airport/, so please follow the the floor markings in yellow in the arrivals hall that will lead you to the taxi stand area. Keep in mind that you will most probably be asked to pay in cash, so in that case you’ll need to exchange some money at the airport.
Note that the venue is inside the Mall itself. When you get to the Mall, just take any of the escalators or elevators and go to the 3rd floor. Then follow the Bulgaria PHP signs.
Take the Sofia Metro to the Vitosha Station and you can literally get off the train and walk into the mall. Bus lines 64, 66, 88, 93, 98, 120, 122 and tram line 10 also stop near Mall Paradise. You can buy bus tickets either from the driver (carry exact change) or from the kiosks near bus stations. A single bus ticket costs 1.60 BGN and it must be perforated inside the bus/tram to be valid. For a detailed route from your location, we highly recommend the Moovit app.
If you decide to grab a cab off the street, we recommend Yellow Taxi. Otherwise you can download and use the app of our sponsors – Taxistars (android or ios) – which is great for calling a cab from your mobile. A ride from downtown Sofia to the venue should be around 5-7 BGN.
If you come by car, you should keep the following in mind: the parking at the Mall is free only the first 4 hours, then it’s 2BGN/hour. Pro tip: there is an outside FREE parking area between Billa and the Mall itself. As the conference starts early in the morning, we know that these slots are available at that time, so you can park there free of charge.
If you are driving in from outside of Bulgaria, we recommend you keep your car at one of Sofia’s many paid (1EUR per hour or max 5EUR per day) parking lots.
We’ll have pre-registration for the people who are earlier in town on Friday. You can come to the venue to collect your badge and goodie bag between 4:30pm – 6pm.
Official registration opens on Saturday at 8am and will last for an hour. Come early to collect your badge and goodie bag, and to enjoy some awesome conversation with the other early birds over coffee and a traditional Bulgarian breakfast: banitsa, mekitsi, pancakes and the Bulgarian version of French toast. An early start will have you all set for the opening remarks at 9am and the first session at 9:30am sharp. We’ll be very Swiss about it.
Important note: You do not need to print your ticket confirmation. Just queue in the line and say your name. Registration is by first name, so if your name is Kiril Hristov, queue at the F-K line. We’ll have the following lines:
The sessions are separated in two tracks. The halls for the two tracks are right next to each other and there will be schedules on the screens in front of each hall. Check the online schedule beforehand to decide which talks you’re going to see, but don’t worry if you can’t see all of them. We’ll be recording all, and they will be publicly available after the event, just like last year’s sessions.
Important note: We have a schedule change. See the details here.
For the first time this year, we are holding six 5-minute lightning talks. They will be taking place at the main track at 5:10pm on Saturday.
Once again, we will be collecting speaker feedback through Joind.in and encourage you to leave your comments in their respective talk entry on the Joind.in website here. Last year’s feedback was great and helped our speakers improve their future presentations, so please once again leave feedback that is helpful and constructive.
Each day of the conference will have a morning and afternoon break and an official lunch. At coffee breaks, we will serve coffee (you weren’t expecting that), tea, water, soft drinks and tasty bites. During lunch we will serve a traditional Bulgarian 3 course meal, so you’ll get to try the famous shopska salad, musaka and lyutenica among many others. We’ll have vegetarian and vegan options too. Thanks to Shopware and Hover for making our coffee breaks and lunches possible.
For food, drink and tons of other outside-of-the-conference fun, take a look at our blog post dedicated to Sofia.
In line with our Game On theme, there will be several relax corners dedicated to classic arcade and video games. We know you won’t miss these, as they are great for both having fun and making new friends. Also, the after party will feature an arcade game tournament using one of the games already at the venue, so don’t forget to try all of them out. The highest score at the tournament will take home a Sennheiser headphones provided by Sucuri, SiteGround and Automattic.
Right after the sessions end on both days, we will be holding our own version of the original Jeopardy! Game Show, hosted by Jeremy Mikola. Of course, the JeoPHPardy questions will be PHP related, and the most knowledgeable of you will go home with a cool prize.
The Hackathon is happening on Saturday evening around 18:30 inside track 1. The task will be announced then and there. It’s a good idea to register for the hackathon, as it’s open for all attendees, but space is limited. Because the hackathon is technically part of the after party, there will be free food and drinks while you hack. There’s one important rule we’ve learned to follow, and it’s – don’t code when you’re hungry.
The after party for all conference attendees will be on Saturday, right at the conference venue, starting around 18:30 – 19:00. There will be delicious food and drinks throughout the night thanks to PROGRAMISTA;. As already said, a hackathon and arcade game tournament will be happening as part of the party, and because we can’t otherwise call it a party, there will be a DJ and a dancefloor.
The final remarks on Sunday will include our raffle, which will announce the hackathon winners and will give away lots of other prizes provided by our awesome sponsors. We also have some important announcements to make, so make sure you stay till the end. Oh, and in order to win one of the many prizes from the raffle, you have to be present. Plenty of reasons to stay till the end, right?
We couldn’t have made all this possible without the support of all our sponsors and we’d like to once again say massive thanks to all of them! We would also like to extend a special thanks to SiteGround, Sucuri, Automattic, Pusher, Jet Brains, SoftServe and eMerchantPay. They all will have a stand during the conference, so make sure to visit their booths and meet their teams! They are all fantastic partners and will be giving away cool prizes and offering open job positions.
We’ll try to snap the best moments of the conference and post all important announcements on Twitter and Facebook. Our official hashtag is #bgphp16. Make sure to tag all your social media posts and pictures with it.
Most places accept credit and debit cards, but we generally recommend having a small amount of cash just in case.
The following exchange rates are the standard ones and if you are offered anything widely different from those, do not exchange there. We highly recommend Tavex Exchange at the Paradise Mall at -1 level.
1 EUR = 1.958 BGN
1 USD = 1.74005 BGN
The forecast will be typical for the season here: partly sunny with average daily temperatures between 10-18 C (49-65 F) . Pack a jacket as it gets rather cool in the mornings and evenings and there are chances of showers.
That’s it! We can’t wait to see you. If we’ve missed something, just leave a comment under this post.