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!
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: You'll travel in comfortable and air conditioned private and public buses, on boats, motorcycles, and even a bamboo train!
Accommodation: 23 nights’ accommodation in a variety of comfortable hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and a remote Cambodian village stay.
Local Tour Leader: Knowledgeable local guide to provide commentary, support and local insider tips and advice.
Ultimate travel flexibility: Your flexi tour is valid for up to 12 months from first day of travel and you can hop-on and off as much as you like.
Meals: Some meals as included in the itinerary.
Top-Rated, Included Activities:
- Full day Angkor Temple Tour, Siem Reap
- Phare Circus performance and dinner, Siem Reap
- Cambodian Village Experience - includes accommodation, local activities, meals and contribution to the village fund/project.
- Sunset river cruise, Kampot
- S21 Prison entrance fee
- Phnom Penh Killing Fields
- Datanla Waterfall entrance fees, Da Lat
- Full day motorcycle city tour, Da Lat
- My Lai Memorial entrance fees, near Hoi An
- River boat cruise, Hoi An
- Vinh Moc Tunnels entrance fees, near Dong Hoi
- Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave entrance fees, Phong Nha
- Motorbike tour of Hue
- Boat trip to the Trang An Grottoes
- Guided city walking tour of Hanoi
|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.
Start your trip with 5 nights on the beautiful Thai island of Koh Phangan, famous for its epic Full Moon parties! Departs from Bangkok.
Given the spontaneous nature of our trips, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
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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.
After your first night on Pub Street, you’ll probably enjoy a free day to sleep in, relax by the pool at your accommodation or get out and explore more of the downtown area during the day. Finish the day with 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.
Today you get a full day to experience the highlight of any visit to Siem Reap: a guided tour to see the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor temples, a crucial part of the Cambodian national identity and one of the world’s most iconic landmarks.
Today you depart Siem Reap early enough to arrive in Battambang for our first stop at a lake just outside town. It’s the perfect spot for a yummy local BBQ or picnic (included) in the shade of a bamboo hut on the tree lined shore. There’s time to go for a refreshing swim or kayaking on the lake, or hang out in a hammock on shore and soak up the views of the nearby rice paddies and native bush. Then we make our way to tonight’s village stay, where you’ll stay in a Cambodian family’s home to experience rural community life first-hand. Many people consider this to be one of the highlights of their Cambodia trip and you’ll soon see why after meeting your hosts, sharing a meal with them and wandering through the village and nearby rice paddies.
A full day of travel takes us from the countryside to the popular seaside town of Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coast. En-route we pass through the bustling riverside Khmer town Kompong Chhnang (pronounced ‘kom–pong–ch–nang’), with its busy 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 seafood BBQ on 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, 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 one of the beachfront restaurants.
With two full free days in Sihanoukville, you have plenty of time to hop on an island boat tour to check out beautiful Koh Rong and the other nearby islands just off shore. With crystal clear turquoise water and empty stretches of white sand beaches, the Cambodian islands feel like castaway paradise, the perfect spot to snorkel in the waves and watch the rainbow of colours cast by another stunning sunset.
A three hour drive brings us to the little riverside town of Kampot where you will have a free afternoon to visit the fascinating salt and pepper farms, go cycling or trek in the Bokor National Park. Your itinerary includes a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the Kampot River. Tonight we recommend sampling the exceptional regional seafood dishes at one of the many restaurants on the riverfront – the fried shrimp with green pepper corns is an absolute must try!
From Kampot we head inland 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. While it is a very sobering experience to learn more about Cambodia’s harsh recent history, it is one of the most recommended things to do in Phnom Penh. This evening you are free to walk around and discover the many sights of this energetic city or get out mingling with the locals while watching the sun set over the Mekong River.
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)!
This morning you’ll board an unguided public bus organised by your Cambodia Tour Leader and head to Moc Bai on the Vietnamese border, where you will be processed through immigration (you must organise your Vietnam visa in advance for this land border crossing) 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 ride amongst the millions of motorbikes or choose a restaurant teeming with locals for a taste of the best cuisine.
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 20m high 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 at 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 on offer here, but many people opt for 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. Your itinerary includes a full day motorcycle tour for a glimpse of what Da Lat has to offer.
Leaving behind the cool climate of Da Lat we’ll head for the Vietnamese coast, stopping for refreshments at the coastal city of Nha Trang, a popular spot to hop off for those who have the time. 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 well off the beaten tourist track and as yet untouched by rampant tourism. Don’t be surprised when the locals wave and greet you with welcoming 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 and UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An. Before arriving in 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. Hoi An is a must see destination, 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.
See Hoi An from a different angle with a two-hour river boat cruise that we’ve included in your itinerary. Take time today to explore this charming town’s many offerings. When the sun goes down is when Hoi An really turns on its charm. Paper and fabric lanterns are lit throughout the 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 travel to Hue, considered Vietnam’s most liveable city. 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 so we’ve included one in your itinerary.
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 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, impressive stalagmites and stalactites 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 cave’s 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, but you have time to wander around and acquaint yourself with the tiny town before dinner. Nestled amongst rice paddies, rural plains and massive mountains, Ninh Binh is almost overwhelmed by the spectacular landscape surrounding it. The best way to take it all in is hire a bicycle and explore the countryside at your own pace.
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!
Start Days: Wednesday or Sunday (from 17 October 2017)
Time: Visit the Stray Bangkok Travel Shop before 4pm to get your tickets to Siem Reap.
|Bangkok (Arrive & Pick Up Tickets)||16:00||16:00|
Tour: Bangkok to Siem Reap (Express Day)
|Poipet Border (Depart)||12:00||12:00|
|Siem Reap - Northern Bus Station (Arrive)||17:00||17:00|
Tour: Siem Reap - Day 1
|Siem Reap (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: Siem Reap - Day 2
|Siem Reap (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: Siem Reap to Battambang (Homestay)
|Siem Reap - The Living Quarters (Hostel 543) (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Battambang - Homestay (Arrive)||15:30||15:30|
Tour: Battambang to Sihanoukville
|Battambang - Homestay (Depart)||07:00||07:00|
Tour: Sihanoukville - Day 1
|Sihanoukville (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: Sihanoukville - Day 2
|Sihanoukville (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: Sihanoukville to Kampot
|Sihanoukville - The Big Easy (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
Tour: Kampot to Phnom Penh
|Kampot - Monkey Republic (Depart)||08:00||08:00|
|Phnom Penh (Arrive)||12:00||12:00|
Tour: Phnom Penh
|Phnom Penh (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: 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|
Tour: Ho Chi Minh City
|Ho Chi Minh City (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat
|Ho Chi Minh City - Khoi Hostel (Depart)||07:30||07:30|
Tour: Da Lat
|Da Lat (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: 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|
Tour: Bai Xep
|Bai Xep (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: 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|
Tour: Hoi An
|Hoi An (Free Day )||Free||Free|
Tour: Hoi An to Hue
|Hoi An - Thanh Binh 2 Hotel (Depart)||08:30||08:30|
Tour: Hue to Phong Nha
|Hue - DMZ Hotel (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Phong Nha (Arrive)||16:00||16:00|
Tour: Phong Nha
|Phong Nha (Free Day)||Free||Free|
Tour: Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
|Phong Nha - Heritage by Night Hotel (Departs)||08:00||08:00|
|Ninh Binh (Arrive)||17:30||17:30|
Tour: Ninh Binh to Hanoi
|Ninh Binh - Nam Hoa Hotel (Depart)||13:00||13:00|
|Hanoi (Tour Ends)||13:00||13:00|
How it Works
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.
Activities & Accommodation
We stay in a mix of family operated guesthouses, hostels, hotels and village homestays. Accommodation is included for all nights of the itinerary. If you choose to hop off, you'll need to arrange, and pay for, your own accommodation. Accommodation is twin-share (unless you upgrade to a single room). We do not match travellers who are not travelling together, so please only book the twin-share option if you are travelling with a companion.
We've chosen to include some top rated activities with this tour because we are all about ensuring you have the best possible experience in Southeast Asia! Check the 'What's Included' section on the highlights page for the full list. Your Tour Leader will also be able to recommend additional activities at each destination and you can book these through your Tour Leader (at your own expense) and pay direct to the operator.
Want to pay-as-you-go for accommodation and activities instead? Choose a hop-on hop-off travel pass.
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 Flexi Tour 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! Feel free to use your pass like a tour and complete the itinerary in its ‘minimum days’. Either way you'll have a great time!
Our travellers are an energetic outgoing crowd who share a common objective: to have a great time! Most are aged between 18 - 30 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's more about having a thirst for adventure! We get a wide range of nationalities from all over the world with the majority from UK, Europe and America. Most of our travellers travel solo, some travel as part of a couple or group of friends.