Stray Asia hops along to TTM
BANGKOK, 23 May 2012: Stray Asia will introduce its hop-on/ hop off travel network in Thailand and Laos at the annual trade fair Thailand Tavel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to Greater Mekong Sub-region at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, 7 to 8 June.
Beginning operations in Thailand and Laos 18 months ago, Stray Asia, a sister company of Stray New Zealand, will join the TTM for the first time to raise its profile and reach new buyers who are interested in Southeast Asia, according to Stray Asia general manager, Holly Zimmerman.
Stray Asia operates a fleet of buses to service a hop-on/ hop off network in Laos as well as offering connections on public transport (boat, bus, train and ‘tuk tuk’ in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia). Some sectors are with guide and some without.
Customers buy just a bus pass for a particular route, while guides on the bus source and assist customers to book accommodation and activities at destinations the. They also give a commentary on the local history, wildlife and culture. Home-stay and premium tents might be the only options at remote areas.
Stray Asia’s bus pass network covers destinations north to south of Laos including Luang Namtha, Muang Ngoi, Luang Prabang, Vieng Xai, Phonesavan, Vang Vieng, Tad Luek, Vientiane, Xe Champhone, Don Det and Pakse.
In Thailand, it covers Bangkok, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Khong, Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchathani and Chumporn. Meanwhile, in Cambodia, it goes to Phom Penh and Siem Reap.
“Backpackers enjoy the flexibility and reliability of our service. The model allows customers reach remote destinations that they would not otherwise be able to get to, and also being able to connect easily to the key existing tourist areas, such as Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.”
“Having accommodation guarantees provides hassle-free travel, while not missing out on the adventure of traveling through this region,” said Ms Zimmerman.
“We are on track with our product development and sales. In terms of passengers, we have increased 40% on last year,” she added.
Due to the increased business, Stray Asia will add frequency to its bus-pass routes. Currently the company runs two services per week in North Thailand and Laos, and once a week in southern Laos. But in October the company will operate three departures per week in the North, and two in South Laos.
“We aim to double departures by the end of the year. This means that people who hop off the tour, (to spend more time at a destination), can hop back on in two days, as there will be more buses coming through.”
By the end of the year, Stray will replace 24 seat Hyundai buses with purpose-built buses. Road conditions in Laos are poor and more robust buses are needed.
“They need to be stronger, and provide more space for western customers. The new fleet adopts those requirements,” she said.
The company will offer guided trips through Cambodia towards the end of 2012 (now unguided) and will expand into Myanmar after fully researching that destination.
Visit www.straytravel.asia for details.