When I was planning my long-term backpacking trip around South East Asia, I came up to Banana Pancake Trail. At first, I thought it was a food or comfort food for every traveler. Turn out I was wrong.
Banana Pancake Trail is one of the most recommended routes to follow if you’ll be backpacking around South East Asia. It is not such a specific route or destination across Southeast Asia but is very popular for backpacker and long-term traveler. The trail is typically affordable, social, adventurous, and backpacker friendly. And it usually, cater to travelers or backpackers that make the life of a traveler on the road a little more comfortable.
Although the concept was never planned or even official, following the Banana Pancake Trail is ideal especially for first-time solo backpackers because information is somehow readily available and is easy to find and there are a lot of travelers who already follow this trail where you can get ideas and advice.
Travelers do not necessarily follow the same route or direction along the Banana Pancake Trail, but running into the same people in a particular place is very common.
WHAT IS THE BANANA PANCAKE TRAIL?
Similar to the idea of the “Hippie Trail” in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Banana Pancake Trail is a metaphor to describe the ever-developing travelers’ trail going through many different places in Southeast Asia rather than an actual route or road.
It is more of an idea than an actual route, but it does exist, and every traveler knows it well. Through the years, the trail grows and expands as travelers explore areas slightly off the beaten path in search of adventures, different experiences and to genuinely experience the authentic culture of the country.
As for tourism, it reigns along the Banana Pancake Trail. Numerous western-style restaurants, internet cafes, guesthouses and travel agencies have emerged in South East Asia to cater to travelers needs who are in backpacking. It became popular which forced every local to learn English to communicate easily with the tourists. And it helps the tourism of the place and give jobs and opportunities to the locals.
POPULAR STOPS ON THE BANANA PANCAKE TRAIL
Banana Pancake Trails does not have a particular route or trail. It’s just called “trail, ” but this is more of an idea than a route. An idea, so every traveler may be a first-timer or not will know where to go, what to see and try on a particular country or destination. Remember, there are plenty interesting places in each of these countries. Maybe some of those interesting places are yet to discover. But the places below, are the most popular stop on the Banana Pancake Trail.
BANANA PANCAKE TRAIL
- Thamel in Kathmandu
- Everest Base Camp
- Dharamkot/ Upper Bhagsu,
- Old Manali/ Vashisht
- Inle Lake
- Bangkok (with its famous Khao San Road)
- Chiang Mai
- The small town of Pai in Haad Rin on Koh Pangan (adventurous travelers drive a motorbike there)
- Raikay in Krabi for rock climbing and beaches
- The Thai islands, especially Koh Phi Phi for parties
- Ko Tao to get scuba certified
- Ko Pha Ngan (with its world-infamous Full Moon Party)
- Vang Vieng for tubing and socializing
- Luang Prabang (taking the slow boat from Thailand is a popular activity)
- Nong Khiaw
- Bolaven Plateau
- Si Phan Don (The 4000 Islands)
- Siem Reap (home to Angkor Wat)
- Sihanoukville and its offshore islands
- Phnom Penh
- Mui Ne
- Nha Trang
- Hoi An in Central Vietnam
- Going to Saigon from Hanoi
- Hanoi’s famous Halong Bay
- Trekking in Sapa
- Georgetown on the island of Penang
- The Perhentian Islands, particularly the Perhentian Kecil
- The cultural hub of Melaka (Malacca)
- Kuala Lumpur
- The Cameron Highlands for trekking
- Malaysian Borneo for outdoor-loving backpackers
- Lake Toba
- Trekking Mount Bromo
- Islands of Bali (Kuta and Ubud)
- Kuta on the island of Lombok for surf lessons
- Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan for partying and Gili Air for relaxation)
- Partying at Boracay
- Island hopping in Palawan
- El Nido, the underground river
- The beautiful and peaceful, Siargao Island
- Water adventures at Cebu
- Dive centers of Puerto Galera in Mindoro Island
- Dali in Yunan (Sothern China)
- Trek to the Tiger Leaping Horse
- Xi’an for the terracotta soldiers
- Yangshuo as the major centers
The most common route that travelers take is through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. From Bangkok going to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) via Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, as well as Phnom Penh, Battambang, and the Mekong Delta. Also, people go to the north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and hill-tribe villages, continuing to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane in Laos. Many heads from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, via the popular stops being Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An and Huế.
As travel becomes more accessible, travelers or backpackers who choose the unconventional way of life, through the years the tourism in the Banana Pancake Trail continues to grow and have a great impact in the economy and tourism of the country. The Banana Pancake Trail can be common knowledge to every traveler and is one of the most recommended routes for every traveler, may a first-timer or not, since many people have already taken this route and information, if not readily available, are easy to find. Although this route is all the same or whenever you seek help from other people who already been to the place you want to go to, tells you the same things, always remember, you are a traveler. And as a traveler, you always find the hidden destinations that are yet to discover. Each traveler has a different approach, and it is really up to you on how you will travel. No matter how other travelers say that Banana Pancake Trail is overrated, you will meet a lot of new friends. Locals are already used to having tourists around that you don’t need to worry about safety. Everyone’s friends with everyone. They know the route. They will tell you the places you need to visit. It’s kind of a script; a default mapping and it’s up to you and the adventurous side of you to discover the other interesting places or even discover the hidden gem of the place. With this, I would always recommend to do the same route as the others did — the banana pancake trail.
Are you planning to have a trip around Southeast Asia? Or did you already traveled around Southeast Asia? If you already did, did you follow the Banana Pancake Trail or you had your own route? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it!
This post might be helpful when you’re planning for your around Southeast Asia trip. Hover the image on the left and pin it for later!