Travelling in Asia is an eye opening adventure encompassing foreign places, cultures, sounds, smells and foods. You'll do things you haven’t done, meet people who become life-long friends and have your very own adventure!
Stray's Southeast Asian travel network has been designed for travellers who want to see all the highlights and get further off the beaten track, who want to travel with a knowledgable guide, but also want flexibility. Use this section to find out if travelling with Stray is for you!
THE STRAY STORY
From its very early days 20 years ago in the UK to expanding across the wider Asia Pacific region, Stray was, and still remains, all about taking adventurous travellers further off the beaten track to gobsmackingly beautiful, remote destinations that we like to call our 'Strademark Places'. When you share these unique adventures with an amazing group of people from all over the world... well, that is when the real spirit of Stray comes in to play!
WHERE DID THE ‘ORANGE STORY’ BEGIN?
The very first hop-on hop-off Stray travel network was started in 1998 by a Kiwi lad over in the UK while on his OE (overseas experience). In 2002, after a few years circling the British Isles and learning a few lessons along the way, it was time to bring Stray back to New Zealand where the real adventure began.
In the years since, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds, expanding our hop-on, hop-off route to cover all corners of New Zealand and introducing the small group, fixed tours we call Stray Journeys.
But the Stray network simply couldn’t be contained to New Zealand alone. We began to search for other places ‘off the beaten track’ that were just waiting to be explored by adventurous travellers with a taste for something different.
STRAYING INTO SOUTHEAST ASIA
As most of our Northern Hemisphere travellers were coming via Asia, it made sense to begin our search there, and it didn’t take long to find the perfect spot. Tiny landlocked Laos was exactly what we were looking for! It was roughly the same size as New Zealand and mainstream tourism had only begun to reach Laos in the 1990s, meaning its unique culture was still relatively untouched compared to its closest neighbours.
When Stray Asia launched in Laos in 2010, we ventured into uncharted territory as the first tour company to include stops through Southern Laos between Vientiane and Pakse - including our first homestay - in addition to the more familiar places like Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.
Introducing the hop-on, hop-off concept in Southeast Asia required more than just buses too – we needed long boats on the Mekong River, local trains to cover some of the longer journeys and even tuk-tuks to make it work! Despite a few operational challenges like the annual wet season, limited WiFi and less developed ammenities, Stray Asia proved to be a hit with intrepid travellers.
As traveller demand grew, so too did the Asia network, with Cambodia and Vietnam added to the main route in 2012 and tours in Myanmar (Burma) launched in 2013. This year, the expansion continues further with our first Stray Journeys small group tours in Bhutan and Borneo launched in 2018.