The Best of the Tom Yum Pass: A Love Letter

Welsh couple Bethyn and Gerwyn recently Strayed Asia on the Tom Yum Pass, where they experienced the best of Thailand and Laos. Luckily for us, they got in touch afterward, and let us know just what is so special about travelling in these countries with Stray.

Here is what they had to say…

It is hard to believe it’s been over six months since we got back from Stray-ing around Thailand and Laos. No idea where the time has gone but the memories are still fresh in my mind.

This was my second trip with Stray; I’d been with the guys over in New Zealand the previous year and had an equally incredible time (I would, without a doubt, 1000% choose to Stray again too). This time around, my boyfriend and I travelled on the Tom Yum pass. We also added on the Bucket Pass so that we could go exploring Southern Thailand. Although I’ll probably struggle to find the words to describe my gratitude to the Stray Team and the other Stray passengers for such an incredible trip…here’s my attempt at giving it a go!

 Things I Love about Stray-ing South East Asia….

The Food

Oh my life, how I miss the food. Green Curries, Red curries, Pad Thai, Morning Glory… I must have spent hours trying to re-create these at home but I’ve had no success. The sticky rice with mango and coconut milk was my ultimate favourite (and the Massaman Curry went down well with a Beer Lao!).

The Landscape and Nature

I work in the conservation sector, so I love nature and the environment. I’d seen lots of pictures before setting off to SE Asia, but literally not one of them did the reality any justice. The mountains, the temples, the waterfalls, the rivers, the trees, the beaches, the animals (Never seen so many butterflies in my life!)…it was just stunning and exceeded all expectations.

Literally Everything About Laos

Where do I even begin with trying to summarize how amazing this country and its people are?! To be perfectly honest, before the trip I could probably count on one hand how many times I’d heard of Laos; now having been there and experienced this majestic country, the people, their values, and the history of their country….I feel totally embarrassed about that.

Visiting Laos was such an eye opening experience and one that for me, was filled with emotion. From the excitement and gratitude  of staying with a host family, the serenity of cruising along the Mekong River, the brief but incredible pit stop at a toilet with THE most amazing view, bonding with the other stray passengers while ‘tubing‘, to the sadness of visiting the War museum and having to leave. I talk about Laos and it’s people and it’s history pretty much whenever I get a chance now. I am still in awe of this incredible country.

The Guides 

The trip would not have been complete without the expertise, passion and commitment of our guides; Onh and Phet. They were so helpful, friendly and a lot of fun and they took care of us from the moment we stepped on the bus! They sorted pretty much everything out for us and made our trip run so smoothly; even teaching is some of the local language. I absolutely loved their enthusiasm, I loved hearing of their personal experiences and how they became Stray Team Members and above all I loved Phet’s laugh. The guides really made our trip whole. So thank you for that, or should I say Khop Chai Lai Lai!!

There’s many many more highlights, I could literally go on for hours… but unfortunately, I should probably stop dreaming of Thailand and Laos and get back to work.

Thank you again for this amazing opportunity; it was honestly incredible and I’ll never forget it. Could not have asked for a better bunch of people (staff and passengers) to travel with!

Sending good vibes and well wishes all the way from Wales.




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Emily is a native creative nerd. This creative crew member's favourite stop is Bay of Islands.

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