Banana Pancake Trail: Exploring Southeast Asia's Backpacking Hotspots

Time to go on that backpacking trip you have dreamed of? Or, time to take your remote working to new heights? If you aren’t sure where to start or want to explore more than just the popular spots like Bali or Thailand, the Banana Pancake trail could be the perfect place to start! Take a trip to the southeast of Asia and dive head first into a journey of new cultures, languages, foods, and everything else that this remarkable location has to offer.

Planning a trip? Skratch has partnered with Sherpa to offer simple, trusted visa applications. Get your Vietnam eTA here, Myanmar eTA here, Laos eTA here

What Is The Banana Pancake Trail? 🍌🥞

This is a trail inspired by its mouthwateringly good name… banana pancakes. The trail's name derives from the backpacking superhighway and the plethora of guesthouses, hostels, and restaurants serving fried banana pancakes and other westernised treats to avid backpackers in Southeast Asia. The trail became increasingly popular in the 50s/60s when Westerners began exploring the other side of the world. Over time, the number of backpacked locations on this trail, including; Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, began to increase and rack up more stacks of pancakes. Whilst each spot dishes up the popular and increasingly iconic banana pancake stacks, there is also a series of thrilling activities and sites that will impress you and make you fall in love with backpacking and travelling.
The Banana Pancake Trail Map

Where Is The Trail? 👣🗺️

The trail takes you on a scenic and exploratory trip of Southeast Asia through 9 beautiful countries, each with its point of difference, stunning sites, iconic landmarks and welcoming cultures. Depending on budget and time availability, the length of trips can vary from backpacker to backpacker. Common short routes of the trail include; Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia as countries commonly agreed to be the foundation of the trail. However, backpackers can extend their trail and explore the deeper treasures and culture of the southeast by exploring the further five spots, including; Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and The Philippines.
The Philippines, The Banana Pancake Trail

Why Banana Pancakes? 🍌🥞

Sticky, sweet banana pancakes are literally the idea that inspired the name of this trail. Enjoy stacks, and stacks of the delicious delicacy often served by street vendors and in guesthouses that offer free breakfasts as you make your way around Southeast Asia. Despite not being a local delicacy, the southeast is not short of bananas to help the creation of this yummy treat. Considering the origin of bananas is placed in Southeast Asia, in the jungles of Malaysia, Indonesia or the Philippines, it makes sense to pair the tastes of the travelling westerners with the natural fruits of the southeast.
Banana Trees

The Popular Spots of The Banana Pancake Trail 👀

While backpackers like to shape their own adventure, there are a number of popular spots that backpackers tend to enjoy the most when they are on this trail. The trail does not have a clear and agreed-set route, so explore as you wish and enjoy the spots at your own speed.

Thailand 🇹🇭

Bangkok - Khao San Road: A colourful and vibrant part of Bangkok home to the best bars and clubs in town and various shopping bargains. In addition to all of this, tourists can enjoy the delights dished up by multiple street vendors every single day. From westernised dishes such as banana pancakes to traditional plates.
Khao San Road, Bangkok

Laos 🇱🇦

Vientiane - Explore the city: Known for its laidback atmosphere, the capital city is a great spot to enjoy and explore centuries-old Buddhist temples and museums displaying thousands of artefacts dating back to prehistoric times.
Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)

Vietnam 🇻🇳

Hanoi - Halong Bay: Tick off a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in the beauty of the stunning limestone mountains rising from emerald waters that formed from thousand years ago. Perfect for every nature lover who wants to experience the wildlife on the other side of the pond.
Halong Bay, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam

Cambodia 🇰🇭

Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Temples: Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Visit this iconic spot and take in the beauty and culture of traditional Cambodia. The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride.
Angkor Wat Temple

Myanmar 🇲🇲

Bay of Bengal - Ngwe Saung: An upmarket beach resort with a seemingly endless stretch of silvery coastline on the Bay of Bengal. A gorgeous get-away experience with beautiful white sand and brilliant blue ocean edged by palm trees for those with a slightly bigger budget who want to indulge in a little luxury on the road.
Ngwe Saung Beach

Malaysia 🇲🇾

Pahang: Cameron Highlands - The perfect spot for those who enjoy trekking and enjoying the best of what nature has to offer. It is a collection of peaceful townships perched 1500 meters high on a nest of serene mountains.
Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Singapore 🇸🇬

Outram: Chinatown - A tapestry of cultural diversity. Lovers of culture looking to immerse themselves in Singapore's rich, multi-ethnic culture will find no better place than Chinatown.  From cheap but tasty dishes where you’ll find the infamous banana pancakes to great shopping destinations like Pagoda Street.
Chinatown, Singapore

Indonesia 🇮🇩

Lombok: Kuta Beach - From lazing under the sun to watching it set or participating in water sports, Kuta beach has it all. Kuta has been a favourite surfing coast since the 1970s and is popular with surfers that can enjoy the best waves in Kuta during the dry season.
Kuta Beach

The Phillippines 🇵🇭

Palawan - Boasts white sand beaches and islands, clear blue waters, a spectacular variety of marine life and shipwreck sites, and majestic towering limestone cliffs. Take a moment to kick back and relax after days on your feet, travelling around the rest of what this majestic place has to offer.
El Nido, Philippines

Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started:,Singapore%2C%20Indonesia%20and%20The%20Philippines.

If you want to learn about other Digital Nomad destinations to explore take a look here!

Banana Trail — Facts before you go

Is it safe?

🚫 There is occasional theft, but incidents of violent crime against tourists are few and far between.

Are there language problems?

🗣️ English is commonly spoken by locals in many areas along the Trail

How much does the trail cost?

South-East Asia is notorious for its cheap prices whilst travelling. On average backpackers spend around $1500 a month. Your budget will also depend on the country you are in. Some countries in the Banana Pancake Trail are more expensive than others.


🌞☔ Much of Southeast Asia is within the tropical climatic zone with temperatures above 25 deg C throughout the year.


Southeast Asia is geographically and religiously split between a mainland region that is largely Buddhist and a maritime region that is largely Muslim.

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Imogen Kemp
August 30, 2023

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