Relativistic heavy ion collisions are the ideal experimental tool to explore the QCD phase diagram. Several results show that a very hot medium with a high energy density and partonic degrees of freedom is formed in these collisions, creating a new state of matter. Measurements of strange hadrons can bring important information about the bulk properties of such matter. The elliptic flow of strange hadrons such as phi, K(S)(0), Lambda, Xi and Omega shows that collectivity is developed at partonic level and at intermediate p(T) the quark coalescence is the dominant mechanism of hadronization. The nuclear modification factor is an another indicator of the presence of a very dense medium. The comparison between measurements of Au+Au and d+Au collisions, where only cold nuclear matter effects are expected, can shed more light on the bulk properties. In these proceedings, recent results from the STAR experiment on bulk matter properties are presented.