The Banana Pancake Trail is not an actual geographical trail. It’s a metaphor to describe various travel routes in South East Asia. These routes include locations that are often visited by (Western) travelers. The local community adapted by offering budget accommodation, Western restaurants, touristic tours, the occasional Irish pub and….banana pancakes as a popular breakfast.
By no means should this put you off to follow the trail though. For most of the Must-see’s it’s unavoidable to find yourself somewhere on the trail anyway. It’s still very much possible to have an authentic experience. It just means that yes, you will encounter other travelers along the way. But then again, you’re a traveler yourself and part of the fun is meeting likeminded spirits from all over the world. Above all, you can expect that infrastructure and facilities for safe and worry free travel are widely available.
For bus/ferry/train schedules and tickets in South East Asia I always use the transport planning tool below from 12Go.com to book online. Especially during high season and public holidays it makes sense to book ahead to secure your seat(s). The tool is incredibly easy to use. Just fill out your place of departure, your destination and travel date. It will show the complete schedule and ticket price of all related transport. Make your choice and book instantly.
Banana Pancake Trail locations
There is no official list of locations on the trail. Again, it’s just a metaphor. However, if there would be a list then the usual suspects would at least include, amongst others:
Bangkok in Thailand, with Khao San Road as the iconic banana pancake location, but also Chiang Mai, Pai and Ko Phi Phi
Angkor Wat (Siem Reap) and Sihanoukville in Cambodia
Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Halong and Hanoi in Vietnam
Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in Laos
Lake Toba, Yogyakarta, Bali and the Gili Islands in Indonesia
The above are just a few example locations, there are many more and the list is continuously expanding. At the same time it seems that the banana pancake trail is no longer limited to South East Asia. As traveling longer and further becomes increasingly popular, locations beyond South East Asia are also added to the trail, such as:
Palawan, Manilla, Cebu and Boracay in the Philippines
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake in Myanmar
Dali, Yangshuo and Kunming in China
Goa, Varanasi and Manali in India
Kathmandu in Nepal
Note!: Healthcare along the Banana Pancake Trail is hopelessly underdeveloped. Any serious ailment or injury will most likely involve medical transport to Bangkok or Singapore costing a fortune and to be paid upfront. Never leave home without travel insurance. Read about it here, or get an instant, non-comittal quote here.