Get further off the beaten track and experience Vietnam and Cambodia. Explore temple ruins, stay on an island hideaway and visit remote villages.
Start in the exhilarating metropolis of Bangkok and travel by public bus to the town of Siem Reap. In Cambodia you'll explore the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Angkor temples, visit Phnom Kulen National Park, sample a crunchy Cambodian delicacy: fried spider, visit Khmer Rouge S21 Prison and Killing Fields, relax on the pristine beaches of unspoilt island hideaways and get to know the friendly locals in a remote village homestay in Battambang. In Vietnam you'll experience the buzzing capital Ho Chi Minh City, before venturing north to the refreshingly cool French town Da Lat. Relax in the secluded seaside town of Bai Xep and head off the beaten track to swim in pristine rivers and explore caves. Explore the picturesque towns of Hue and Hoi-An, stay on the lake front in the spectacular Phong Nha-Ke National Park, take boat trip to the Trang An Grottoes and enjoy the excitement and energy of the capital city Hanoi. The Moc Bai isn’t just a border crossing, it’s a Southeast Asian adventure!
SEPTEMBER DEPARTURES: If you plan to depart in September 2017, please book via our Stray Travel Experts, email email@example.com with your name, the pass you would like to book and your intended start date.
Our mission is to get you off the beaten track amongst authentic local culture and our experienced crew has chosen some incredible destinations so you can see more and do more! 'Strademark' Places are the places you're less likely to find in the guide book but the ones you'll be talking about long after the adventure has ended.
- Immerse yourself in real Cambodian village life when we stay in a rural village 20mins from Battambang.
- Discover the secluded fishing village of Bai Xep on a beautiful long stretch of white sandy beach. Relax, swim and wander deserted beaches, discover hidden waterfalls and learn to paddle a traditional round boat.
- Swim in pristine rivers and explore impressive caves, including the recently discovered Thien Dong Cave, one of the largest caves in the world, in Phong Nha. Be amazed by the glittering limestone walls, stalagmites and stalactites and a gleaming limestone waterfall.
- All transport – whether it be bus (comfortable and air conditioned private charter bus) boat, train, or even tuk-tuk!
- Local Tour Leader - Knowledgeable Local Guide to provide invaluable knowledge, support and insider insights and to assist with booking accommodation and activities at every destination.
- Reserved Accommodation – Have a bed reserved for you at every Stray overnight stop. Book through your Tour Leader and pay-as-you-go directly to the accommodation.
- Ultimate travel flexibility – pass is valid for up to 12 months from first day of travel and you can hop-on and off as much as you like.
- Bamboo Train Ride
- S21 Prison entrance fees
- Phnom Penh Killing Fields entrance fees
- Datanla Waterfall entrance fees
- My Lai Memorial entrance fees
- Vinh Moc Tunnels entrance fees
- Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave entrance fees
- Boat trip to the Trang An Grottoes
- Guided city walking tour of Hanoi
Not included: The cost of your accommodation and optional activities is not included in a hop-on, hop-off pass. You have the flexibility to choose what suits your budget and pay-as-you-go. These can be booked via your Tour Leader.
If you would prefer a tour with accommodation and more activities included, check out the Moc Bai Flexi Tour! Get all the same great benefits + accommodation and top-rated activities.
HOW DO YOU HOP ON AND OFF THE BUS?
‘Hop off’ the bus anywhere along the route, even places in between the designated stops. Either plan to hop off in advance or do it spur of the moment – it’s up to you!
To hop back on, simply book your next travel date and pickup location through Stray Mate, your online Trip Manager (you'll receive your log in once you've booked).
The buses run twice a week so the minimum amount of time you can hop off for is 3 days, but your pass is valid for up to 12 months from your first day of travel, meaning you can hop on and off as often as you like, for as long as you like, up to a year!
SHORT ON TIME?
You are not required to hop off the bus at all, although we recommend it with the Moc Bai pass because it's such a long trip. You can use your pass like a tour and complete the itinerary in its ‘minimum days’. Either way you'll have a great time!
|Vietnam Travel Guide
Start planning your trip!
|Bangkok City Arrival Pack
Get your trip off to a hassle free start with airport transfers and 1 nights’ accommodation close to the departure location.
Visit the beautiful Thai Islands and the home of the famous Full Moon party, Koh Phangan. Departs from Bangkok.
Please note: Given the spontaneous nature of our trips, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
NB. The cost of accommodation is not included in your travel pass, giving you the flexibility to stay where you like, however under each day we have described our recommended (Stray preferred) accommodation, along with some free and paid activity suggestions.
Starting travel after 1 October 2017?
You'll be travelling in the 17-18 season and the itinerary differs slightly from the itinerary below.
- Moc Bai 17-18 Itinerary (PDF)
Welcome to Stray! Your adventure kicks off in the buzzing Asian metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand. If you arrive early in the day feel free to check out the vibrant markets and ancient temples that make up only a small side of this multifaceted city.
By 4pm, head to our Khao San Road Stray Shop to meet with a Stray staff member, who will give you your bus ticket and a briefing on what to expect on tomorrow’s express trip to Siem Reap. You will also have the chance to sign up for Siem Reap’s highlight activities so you’re ready to dive right into the Cambodian scene. Make the most of your first night in Asia by exploring the exhilarating and intense Bangkok nightlife, snagging a bargain at a night market or dining out on some delicious Thai cuisine!
You’ll leave Bangkok at 9am on an unguided public connection heading across the border to Cambodia. Today your destination is the small, but vibrant city of Siem Reap, best known as home to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor temple complex.
After your early evening arrival, your Cambodia Tour Leader will meet you at the Living Quarters Hostel 543 at 7.30pm to welcome you and explain more about how Stray works. Afterwards you are invited to join your Stray group for a walk along the iconic Pub Street where you will get to know your new travel mates over a tasty dinner and cold drinks.
This sector is unguided. If you'd like more detailed information click here.
Today is a free day and we highly recommend you use it to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor temples. Ranked at the top of many ultimate travel bucket lists (including Lonely Planet’s), the awe-inspiring ancient city of Angkor is the largest temple complex in the world. You can easily spend a full day at the site and still only see a small portion of this dramatic architectural wonder, but make sure you check out the famous Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, which most people recognise from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movie.
In the evening you have the option to attend the unforgettably unique Phare Circus, a locally run non-profit troupe that provides disadvantaged young people from the community with a place to learn the skills needed to earn their livings as professional performing artists. Prepare to be amazed by how these talented young artists share authentic modern and folk Cambodian stories through an energetic display of acrobatic feats, music and dance.
Today you depart Siem Reap early enough to arrive in Battambang for a late lunch. After lunch we’ll take a ride on the Bamboo Train, a rail system that was built by the French and destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, but the locals still use it as simple form of transport. Then we make our way to tonight’s village stay, located in the picturesque countryside. You’ll stay in a Cambodian family’s home, experience local community life, visit the school and join in a friendly local game or help the kids with their English. You can wander through the rice paddies, explore the local market, and enjoy a traditional meal with your host family.
A full day today takes us to the popular seaside town Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coast. En route we pass through the bustling riverside Khmer town Kompong Chhnang (pronounced kompong-ch-nang), which its local market and floating village. Arriving in Sihanoukville by late afternoon, settle in at your guesthouse and then you are free to wander down to the beach for a refreshing dip or kick back at one of the many beachfront restaurants and bars. tonight join one of the beach parties or have a seafood BBQ on the beach.
Today is yours to relax in Cambodia’s premier beach location. Catch some rays on the beach and go for a swim, or do one of the many water sports including, diving, fishing, snorkelling, kayaking or hire a jet ski. Learn to cook Khmer classics like Fish Amok or deep fried bananas at the Traditional Khmer cooking school, take a trip out to the surrounding islands, or hire a bicycle and explore the nearby beaches. Tonight you can head to Ochheuteal Beach for some partying with the rest of the backpacker crowd, or watch the sun go down at Serendipity Beach.
A 3 hour drive brings us to the little riverside town of Kampot where you will have a free afternoon to visit the salt and pepper farms, go cycling or trek in the Bokor National Park. There is an option to take a leisurely boat cruise on the Kampot River: a relaxing boat trip where you’ll just sit back, enjoy a cool beverage and absorb the spectacular views of Bokor National Park and Elephant Mountain as the sun sets over the river. Tonight we recommend sampling the exceptional seafood at one of the many restaurants on the riverfront – try the fried shrimp with green pepper corns, it’s delish!
A short drive this morning brings us to the old French resort town of Kep where we board a traditional Khmer wooden fishing boat and travel for 30 minutes to our sanctuary, Koh Tunsay Island. Once on shore you can explore the mountainous terrain, relax on the beach, swim in the warm sea waters and just watch the sun go down.
Tearing ourselves away from the beach we take the boat back to the mainland. From here we head for the bustling Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, stopping for lunch before we take an afternoon tour of the infamous Khmer Rouge S21 Prison and Killing Fields. This evening you are free to explore the city with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom, and the Russian Market. See a living art performance at the National Museum, or learn a Cambodian craft, dance or kick boxing at the Backstreet Academy.
A free day today gives you the chance to explore this energizing capital city and visit the many markets selling silk, silver, gems and antiques. Visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom, and the Russian Market. See a living art performance at the National Museum, or learn a Cambodian craft, dance or kick boxing at the Backstreet Academy. For something different, why not join the locals at dusk for an aerobic workout at the Olympic Stadium. Here you’ll find local ladies garbed in western style pyjamas, getting their groove on to Khmer techno music in order to burn a few calories. It may not be your most coordinated moment, but will be good for a giggle (even if you’re just laughing at yourself)!
You'll be picked up from your accommodation and taken to the bus station where you’ll board a public bus and head to Moc Bai on the Vietnamese border, where you will be processed through immigration (you will need to organise your visa in advance) and then drive on to Ho Chi Minh City, arriving mid-afternoon. Spend the afternoon exploring the narrow streets on foot, hop into a cyclo for a comfortable cruise among the millions of motorbikes, or choose a restaurant teeming with locals for a taste of the best cuisine.
This sector is unguided. If you'd like more detailed information click here.
Today is a free day to explore the hot and lively Ho Chi Minh City. Learn about the history of the American and Vietnam War at the War Remnant Museum, visit the French colonial Saigon Opera House, browse the surrounding shopping plazas or see a cultural show. Ho Chi Minh even has its own Notre Dame Cathedral, which is said to be a connection between the physical and spiritual life for the Ho Chi Minh people. We recommend taking a trip out to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex of over 200kms of tunnels used by the Viet Khong in the war against the US. Discover how the people lived and survived in these tunnels, built schools and hospitals underground and eventually gained victory. This evening enjoy a traditional performance at the Water Puppet theatre, or dine out on delicious street food at one of the city’s many restaurants or bars.
Leaving behind the chaos and heat of Ho Chi Minh City, we head for the refreshingly cool climate of Da Lat, known as the honeymoon capital of Vietnam. Our journey today takes us through fertile farmlands that specialise in rubber, coffee and tea, locally produced wine, vegetables and flowers. Just a short distance from Da Lat we make a stop at the beautiful 20 metre Datanla Waterfall, where legend has it K’ho fairies often come to play and bathe at the base of the falls. You can either walk down to the waterfall or, for those who like a little bit of adrenalin, you can drive your own mini rollercoaster to the site. Afterwards we’ll head to Da Lat, where you can spend the rest of the day checking out the large market near the guesthouse, or one of many friendly cafes selling excellent coffee on every corner.
Da Lat vaguely resembles a French town with sprawling old villas and towering pine trees. It is not on the main tourist trail so locals are curious and very friendly to western visitors. There are plenty of adventurous activities here, but many people choose to go on an adrenalin packed canyoning trip where you abseil over waterfalls and jump off a 5 metre high drop into the pool below. If that’s not for you, you can visit the last Emperor’s art deco-style summer palace, explore the never-ending local coffee or strawberry plantations, or hire tandem bikes at the market and cycle to the Hang Nga ‘Crazy House’ an unconventional exploration of surrealist architecture.
Leaving behind the cool climate of Da Lat we’ll head for the Vietnamese coast, stopping for refreshments and for those who want to hop off at the coastal city of Nha Trang. Driving on your destination is the tiny fishing village of Bai Xep located along a stretch of sandy white beach. Kick back and relax in this peaceful village setting, untouched by rampant tourism, where locals wave and greet you with smiles.
Today you are free to enjoy this remote coastal location and all it has to offer. Swim, snorkel and take long walks on the beach, learn to paddle a traditional round boat, go fishing and cook your catch for tea, wander the village and get to know the friendly locals or just relax at your comfortable seaside guesthouse.
A coastal drive takes us to the popular tourist spot Hoi An. We’ll stop along the way to visit the My Lai Memorial, a site that commemorates an event that marked a turning point in the American War, before arriving in Hoi An. A UNESCO World Heritage town, Hoi An is a must see town, with beautifully restored and preserved French Colonial architecture, funky bars, outstanding restaurants, art galleries, souvenir shops and countless tailor shops. With glorious beaches so close nearby, this is paradise! A great spot to hop off and enjoy the local nightlife; try local delicacies (and beers), then meander home through the motorbike free streets.
Today is free for you to explore this charming town. Get some tailoring done, take a leisurely cycle to the beach, or just enjoy the tasty local coffee at one of the many restaurants around town. When the sun goes down this is when Hoi An really turns on its charm. Paper and fabric lanterns are lit throughout streets, bathing the historical French colonial and Chinese architecture in a warm glow. Take a sunset stroll through the old town, and try a local delicacy called the ‘White Rose’ - a dumpling stuffed with shrimp or pork bunched into the shape of a rose. Apparently the recipe is a family secret, held by only one family who supply all the restaurants around town.
Today you head for Hue, Vietnam’s most liveable city. Here the people are friendly and modern architecture sits side by side with century old buildings. Surrounded by rolling hills and located on the Perfume River, Hue is regarded as the cultural and spiritual centre of Vietnam and is the former home to the Vietnamese emperors. Here you’ll see many elaborately decorated temples and beautiful pagodas, including the seven-storied Thien Mu Pagoda - where the most famous Vietnamese monk is buried, the intricate Citadel and Forbidden Purple City. This is a great place to take a motorbike tour of the Vietnamese countryside. Travel on the back of a motorbike through rice paddies, quaint, rural villages and down tiny roads and discover a little bit of the ‘real’ Vietnam.
This morning we head for the fascinating Vinh Moc Tunnels, an impressive underground complex that was used by more than 90 families to live and work in during some of the heaviest bombings in the American War. From there it’s on to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, passing through the provincial town of Dong Hoi on our way to the charming hotel in Phong Nha town that will be our base for exploring the park.
Today we visit the spectacular rural area of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, 45km from Dong Hoi. This area has pristine rivers (perfect for a refreshing dip or kayak) and boasts a number of impressive caves, including the recently discovered Thien Duong Cave. Inside you’ll find glittering limestone walls, phallus shaped stalagmites and stalactites, claw shaped formations, and a limestone waterfall. This afternoon you have the option to go on a guided tour of the ‘Dark Cave,’ suitably named as such because the rock is black. This is an exciting adventure where you’ll explore the caves darkness with the help of a head torch, discover ancient fossils and slide down muddy ridges, all while Asian bats fly overhead. Afterwards, back at the mouth of the cave you can wash off all the mud by spending the afternoon swimming and playing in the river.
Our journey today takes us through beautiful countryside and stunning limestone karst mountains. We’ll stop along the way for a chance to stretch your legs before continuing our express journey to Ninh Binh. We arrive late in the afternoon and you have time to wander around and acquaint yourself with the town before dinner.
This morning we venture out in traditional canoes to discover the Trang An Grottoes. Sometimes called the ‘Halong Bay on land’, we’ll coast through caves in the mountains to view stony outcrops and dramatic karst formations towering above flat tranquil waters and rice paddies. After lunch in Ninh Binh, we jump back on the bus bound for the chaotic streets of Vietnam’s capital. Hanoi is an exotic city full of excitement and energy, and thousands of motorcycles that make the simple task of crossing the road seem like a real achievement! There’s an an excellent culinary scene. We recommend dining at Restaurant 69, which is said to be over 300 years old, or trying some of the delicious street food available on every corner, where the saying goes “the lower the chair, the cheaper the beer.”
This morning your Tour Leader will take you out to see the main sights of Hanoi on foot. We start our walking tour by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, then the old Royal Palace Gardens and Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House. From there, we’ll head over to the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature. The main tour will end at Koto Restaurant and Training Centre for refreshments; those that are feeling fit can carry on to the Old Hanoi Hilton Prison and finish at Hoan Kiem Lake.
This is where your journey with Stray comes to an end, but there is plenty to see and do in and around Hanoi. If you have some extra days to spend here, we highly recommend booking a cruise around breathtaking Halong Bay or making a trip inland to visit the hill tribes of Sa Pa. Both of these excursions can be organised for you by your Tour Leader. We hope you’ve had a blast on your great Stray adventure!
Days: Tuesday or Saturday
Time: Visit the Stray Bangkok Travel Shop before 4pm to get your tickets to Siem Reap
Starting travel after 1 October 2017?
You'll be travelling in the 17-18 season and the timetable differs slightly from the itinerary below. Departures from Bangkok are one day later.
Arrival in Bangkok
|Bangkok - Stray Shop (Pick up tickets)||16:00||16:00|
Bangkok to Siem Reap (Express Day)
|Bangkok - Stray Shop (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Poipet Border (Depart)||12:00||12:00|
|Siem Reap - Northern Bus Station (Arrive)||17:00||17:00|
|Living Quarters Hostel (Welcome Night)||19:30||19:30|
Siem Reap - Free Day
|Siem Reap (Free Day)||Free Day||Free Day|
Siem Reap to Battambang (Homestay)
|Siem Reap - The Living Quarters (Hostel 543) (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Battambang - Homestay (Arrive)||15:30||15:30|
Battambang to Sihanoukville
|Battambang - Homestay (Depart)||07:00||07:00|
Sihanoukville - Free Day
|Sihanoukville (Free Day)||Free Day||Free Day|
Sihanoukville to Kampot
|Sihanoukville - Sakal Guesthouse (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
Kampot to Koh Tunsay
|Kampot - Ny Ny Hotel (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Koh Tunsay (Arrive)||11:00||11:00|
Koh Tunsay to Phnom Penh
|Koh Tunsay - Boat Pier (Depart)||08:00||08:00|
|Phnom Penh (Arrive)||12:00||12:00|
Non-Travel Day: Phnom Penh
|Phnom Penh (Free Day)||Free Day||Free Day|
Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (Express Day)
|Phnom Penh - Fancy Guesthouse (Depart)||07:30||07:30|
|Ho Chi Minh City (Arrive)||16:00||16:00|
Ho Chi Minh City - Free Day
|Ho Chi Minh City (Free Day)||Free Day||Free day|
Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat
|Ho Chi Minh City - Khoi Hostel (Depart)||07:30||07:30|
Da Lat - Free Day
|Dalat (Free)||Free Day||Free Day|
Da Lat to Bai Xep
|Dalat - Thoi Dai Hotel (Depart)||08:00||08:00|
|Nha Trang (Depart)||12:00||12:00|
|Bai Xep (Arrive)||17:30||17:30|
Bai Xep - Free Day
|Bai Xep (Free)||Free Day||Free Day|
Bai Xep to Hoi An
|Bai Xep - The Haven Guesthouse (Depart)||08:00||08:00|
|My Lai (Depart)||12:30||12:30|
|Hoi An (Arrive)||17:30||17:30|
Hoi An - Free Day
|Hoi An (Free)||Free Day||Free Day|
Hoi An to Hue
|Hoi An - Thanh Binh 2 Hotel (Depart)||08:30||08:30|
Hue to Phong Nha
|Hue - DMZ Hotel (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Phong Nha (Arrive)||16:00||16:00|
Phong Nha - Free Day
|Phong Nha (Free)||Free Day||Free Day|
Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
|Phong Nha - Heritage by Night Hotel (Depart)||08:00||08:00|
|Ninh Binh (Arrive)||17:30||17:30|
Ninh Binh to Hanoi
|Ninh Binh (Depart)||13:00||13:00|
|Hanoi (Tour Ends)||13:00||13:00|
Upgrade to a Flexi Tour
A Flexi Tour is a unique combination of a guided hop-on, hop-off Stray pass with accommodation and activities, hand-picked by our Stray experts, included in the price.
This allows you to make the most of your time in Southeast Asia. You can still hop off anywhere, spend longer at your favourite places and opt for extra activities along the way.