Type of journey / What to expect and prepare for
Stray's main priority is the culture and nature. What you do in the evenings is your choice but we do have a couple of big nights out on the circuit if you're keen. It is important to respect the local culture and customs at all times.
You don’t have to be super-fit to travel on Stray – all walks and activities are optional and they range from light strolls to full-on day hikes. Easier options or alternatives are always available.
You will have the benefit of two guides (one western and one Lao) on the bus to inform, enthral and entertain you with facts, stories and unbelievable insight into the Lao and Thai culture. They will also book your accommodation and recommend top notch things to do every step of the journey.
Stray is not an age but a mind set. If you enjoy being active and meeting people you are of the right age for Stray.
We have 24 seater buses so groups are a maximum of 24 (including driver/guides). This means we have access to more unique activity and accommodation options; we can offer a more personalised service and it’s easier to meet people.
Absolutely, you will find friends and roommates and we can make your trip fun and hassle-free
Backpacks are preferred as they are much more suited to this environment however suitcases are fine but may need to be carried at some point
Some sort of walking shoe is advisable and a comfortable sandal, thong, flip-flop, whatever you choose and you are ready to go. All the rest are just for looks and take up space in your backpack.
Managing your pass / journey
Yes you can. If you book a Dtui Noy, Boun Noy or Phone Noy, the passes do just that, starting at the northern point of Huay Xai or Vientiane and finishing at Vientiane or Pakse/Don Det. For passes that are a full circle, you can start in Bangkok or any starting point and finish at another point but you will forfeit the unused part of your pass, unless you use that portion at another time within the twelve months.
We recommend you book your start date at least 1 week in advance to secure your seat especially if you are starting on a train. Once you’re on the bus usually 48 hours is enough notice.
The timetables are published on the website www.straytravel.asia for all the passes.
You can hop off at any place around the circuit.
You can book back on the bus via our online system or by phoning our Laos office.
Yes on the Thai originating passes, all travel is included in your ticket whether it be the trains in Thailand or the boat trip in Nong Khiaw (except for the Tuk Tuk to go and get the Beerlao!)
Accommodation and activities
Your Stray travel pass includes all land transport, guidance and a good time. Your guide will book accommodation for you but the cost is not included in your pass (you’ll just need to pay as you go).
Your Stray guide can book your accommodation, but if you want to make your own plans that is also okay. Your first night (and 2nd night in Chiang Mai) of all overnight stops is reserved for you on a no-obligation basis: this gives you a chance to inspect the accommodation and make your decision when you get there, saving you the hassle of pre-booking accommodation.
Twins and double rooms are available at every stop (except our homestays). In busy periods these may need to be booked in advance but your guide can help you with this.
You are free to stay where you like at each stop, we can assist you and your friends find a good deal or you can book on your own.
Preparing for your travels
Sunblock, good walking shoes, a day pack, bug repellent (the strong stuff!), polar fleece or sweatshirt and a raincoat for winter (it doesn’t get that cold but you will definitely need these), oh, and some clothes would be good.
Stray tip: your own roll of toilet paper is often appreciated as well as hand sanitiser.
A backpack and day pack are recommended, suitcases with wheels do not work well on dirt and gravel roads.
You don’t have to eat chicken noodles every day – but you can - and there are cheap meal options – often with local specialties. Please note, vegetarian food is not always available but there is usually an abundance of excellent fruit and vegetables at the local markets.
If you have booked and confirmed your start date and departure point you do not need to reconfirm your trip.
You don’t have to be an athlete, BUT, the best way to see Laos is to use our vehicles as a base and trek it, bike it, walk it, kayak it, raft it, ride it and most importantly eat, drink and sleep it!! If this sounds like you – great! Our trips are for the ‘adventurous’, so contact us directly if you have any health questions!
We keep our groups to a maximum of 23 because it means you get more personalised service, access to more ‘further of the beaten track’ accommodation and activity options. Lao experts will know that any bigger sized busses and we couldn’t get you to the communist caves or anywhere. That’s why Stray can get you further out there.
Yes, it’s essential, in Laos anything can happen, we take precautions every step of the way but the unexpected is always around the corner. You will be in some remote places where medical assistance is limited or unavailable, for any serious conditions in Laos it is necessary to go to Thailand so insurance is absolutely necessary.