We’re not simply a bus network – our flexible travel passes also include train, boat and tuk tuk transport. With us, you get the full Southeast Asia experience and you'll never be dropped at some random bus station, 4kms out of town!
It’s always good to know what to expect, so on this page you’ll find:
- Transport Types
- Seat Belts
- Travel Times – with suggested places to hop-off
- Making stops along the way
- Why we don’t use Night Buses
- Environmental Considerations
Most of the time we travel in private vehicles which means not only can we go where we want and stop where we want, we can ensure safety, reliability and a high quality, comfortable service.
Thailand: Minivans and one Overnight train.
Laos: Tuk Tuk (short trip only), Slow Boat, mid-sized coaches or minivan (depending on the group size)
Cambodia: Mid-sized coaches or mini van (depending on the group size)
Vietnam: Mid-sized coaches or mini van (depending on the group size)
In most of Asia seat belts are not a legal requirement however we always request buses with seat belts and have been working with our transport suppliers to fit seat belts in all the buses we use. With no legal requirement and more importantly no enforcement, this is still a work in progress and occasionally we may have a vehicle without seat belts. We continue to campaign for all transport to be fitted with seat belts.
Asia is a big place and some of the travel times each day are long. The Timetable clearly shows the departure and estimated arrival time each day. We encourage passengers to make use of the hop-on hop-off option to break up big stretches of travel, and have a more relaxing trip.
Some of our passenger’s favourite places to hop off for a few days are:
Hoi An (Vietnam) – a great place to hop off as it is in the middle of the country and there’s plenty to see and do.
Luang Prabang (Laos) – a charming little town in Laos where you can soak up the relaxed Lao culture.
Siem Reap (Cambodia) – If you’re travelling on the Lot or Mekong, Siem Reap is a great place to hop off after some long travel days in southern Laos, before getting stuck into Cambodia.
Sihanoukville (Cambodia) – It’s a long travel day down to the coastal town of Sihanoukville. Even though we allow for two free days here, many people like to hop off for 5-7 days and head out to the islands to get some ‘beach time’ in.
We make stops for the bathroom, food and interesting actvities along the way.
Think of a travel day more like a “road trip” experience which includes time for activities en-route, whether it is a swim in a giant waterfall, stopping at an epic viewpoint, or a monument which tells an important story. Got sudden photographic inspiration? Your driver will be happy to stop for you where possible – our small group size enables us to do and see more.
Most days we will stop somewhere for lunch. While travelling in more remote areas, there may be limited restaurant choices and sometimes the food is more expensive. In these locations, we choose restaurants that we have quality checked to ensure that food that is stored and prepared in a hygienic way and can accommodate our group and serve us in an acceptable time frame.
In some countries, particularly in Vietnam, you will see night buses. They look cool with flashing lights and reclining seats and some passengers ask why we don't use them.
The truth is, the night buses are actually pretty small, cramped and uncomfortable and we don't use the night buses in Vietnam because we do not want to risk the saftey of our passengers.
The operators we hire our private buses from won’t allow travel at night for safety reasons so we would need to use public night buses, and then we would not be able to guarantee that the driver and bus standards would adhere to Stray’s health and safety standards. Unfortunately the night bus drivers have been known to take stimulants to stay awake. There is also a lot more big heavy transport vehicles on the road travelling at high speeds at night.
Overnight bus schedules mean that you arrive at a new destination very in the early morning when you can't check in to hotels and there are no restaurants and shops open so you end up waiting around with nothing to do. You also can’t enjoy the views out the window along the way, and we all know it’s not just about the destination – it’s about the journey!
Stray’s responsible tourism mission is "To make sure our customers and crew leave the maximum positive impact on local communities, and the minimum negative impact on the environment.” We assess group numbers so that we can use the best vehicle to suit the group size. We like to make sure that vehicles are not cramped, and passengers have enough space, while ensuring that we’re not driving big buses around if we have a small group on the bus.