One travel blogger’s confessions about why a hop-on hop-off tour makes for the most valuable travel experience. Tasha of Backpackers Wanderlust Stray’d with us on the Mekong Pass and told us what she really thinks…
Exploring a new country can be a fascinating journey. Immersing yourself in a new culture, way of life, exploring many beautiful destinations and enjoying local cuisine.
However, travel is not without its inevitable problems. Language barrier issues, scamming, the stress of planning and the list goes on. This can make things extremely difficult, especially when it comes to tasks such as booking bus tickets, accommodation, even ordering food. This is one of the reasons why I love Stray Asia’s Hop On Hop Off system, as it makes it so much easier to travel a new country.
Hop-On Hop-Off Travel: How Does It Work?
Stray’s hop-on hop-off experience is straightforward to use. You are set up with your own online account where you can easily change the dates on your itinerary to spend longer in a chosen destination (hopping off). Then simply book the next Stray tour bus that will pass by and carry on to the next destination (hopping on). Just make sure to pre-plan your next bus, especially in peak season, as the bus can be full meaning you will have to wait longer for the next one.
You can hop off at any destination on the Stay Itinerary. Just be aware to keep an eye on how long you are in a country as most of the time you have a 30-day visa. Also, the buses do not travel daily, so if you hop off double-check the date and time of your next departure.
Benefits Of Traveling With Stray Asia
As a previous backpacker of South East Asia, sometimes the hardest part can be the language barrier. This can cause problems when booking bus tickets or accommodation. However, this is no problem with Stray.
All your transportation is sorted for the duration of your journey. The vans and buses that Stray use are clean, tidy and have working air con(!). Stray also do a good job of providing a bus if the group is bigger than 8 people to save being squished into a small van.
There are always regular stops for toilet breaks or buying snacks and the drivers are very friendly and don’t drive aggressively. Choosing one of Stray Asia’s hop-on hop-off tours means no more waiting around or worrying about buses again.
Meeting Like-Minded Travellers
Travelling with Stray is a great way to make new friends from all over the world. As you get off the beaten path and explore the local sights, there is plenty of time to get to know your new travel mates.
This is especially suited if you are a solo traveller, but even couples can take advantage of having like-minded people to hang out with. At every stop, the guide would normally set a time to meet for dinner, and most of the time all the group would show up to hang out. It’s a great way to explore the better local eateries and get to know people!
Travel At Your Own Pace
A big advantage of hop-on hop-off travel is the flexibility it gives you compared to a fixed group tour. You already know where the bus will stop. With a quick bit of research or a chat to your guide, you can decide for yourself if a place warrants staying an extra few nights.
Find somewhere you love and you could spend weeks there until you are ready to hit the road again. There is no pressure, so travel at your own pace and make up your schedule as you go. Just be aware of the maximum amount of days you can spend in countries to avoid overstaying.
So Much More Than A Bus Ride
One of the things I really enjoy about travelling with Stray Asia and their hop-on hop-off tour is all the activities included with your tour. A lot of the travel days include stops to break up the length of the journey. From local temples and monkey forests to impressive viewpoints and caves, it’s these things you might not normally see with a standard bus ride.
Then there are the activities such as the boat trip through Kong Lor Cave which has been one of the highlights of my trip. These activities are included for both Freestyle tours and freestyle passes.
Less Time Planning More Time Doing
Planning travel can be stressful, especially when organising accommodation, activities and transport. Making itineraries and working on all the fine details is a lot of work.
Stray Asia’s Hop-On Hop-Off tours take care of all those things. Transport is already sorted and with the app, you prebook the next bus so you know exactly where, when and what time to be picked up.
Stray also have their preferred accommodation providers at each stop. Ideal if you don’t want to spend hours looking at accommodation booking websites. All you have to do is simply go with the flow and let your guide reserve a room for you.
The above is also the same with activities. Many are included in your pass, and the guide will recommend the top couple of things to do at each stop. Compared to solo backpacking, travelling on the hop-on-hop-off bus and what it provides, makes travel a breeze.
Hop-On Hop-Off: The Perfect Way To Travel Southeast Asia
If you are wanting a stress free and easy-going adventure around Southeast Asia, Stray Asia is perfect for you. With all buses, accommodation and activities already organised you can enjoy living in the moment instead of stressing about tomorrow. Though, if you really fall in love with a destination you can easily hop off the bus and hop back on a later date, giving plenty of freedom.
For someone that wants a true cultural and engaging backpacking experience but with the safety and comfort of being in a group tour, Stray Asia truly offers the best of both worlds.