Can you really eat Banana Pancakes on this famous backpacking trail? And what exactly is this trail? I’ll answer the questions you have about the Southeast Asian route…
Many of you travel the world as backpackers every year. The countries of South East Asia in particular are extremely popular among backpackers. The most popular backpacking routes and destinations have been combined under the name Banana Pancake Trail. If you’ve already toured Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia or Vietnam you’ve probably hiked a track of the famous trail – perhaps without even realising!
The Banana Pancake Trail is not a set route – instead it’s made up of routes and regions which have been repeatedly visited by tourists in the recent decades and, therefore, affected the lives of the locals, too as they began to profit from these visits. Perhaps you’re asking yourselves now what on earth banana pancakes have to do with this. The answer is this: anyone who has ever travelled to a foreign country before would have noticed that the people there have completely different living and eating habits, but it often happens that in the tourist areas you don’t have to give up the familiar comforts you’re used to in Europe. In Asia, tourists will be served yogurt, muesli or pancakes instead of the typical soup. Where ever this is the case, you’re on the Banana Pancake Trail!
Banana Pancake Trail Map
Which countries belong to the Banana Pancake Trail?
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact route and therefore difficult to create something like a Banana Pancake Trail Guide. The places on the unofficial Banana Pancake Trail list should nevertheless be known to the backpackers among you. This is why I hope the above map helps you grasp the possibilities of this trail.
An absolute dream-destination for many of you is Thailand. Most holidaymakers head for the capital city of Bangkok first to experience the thrilling nightlife. The meeting point for backpackers from all over the world is the Khao San Road, featured in the film The Beach. Numerous bars and restaurants offer everything that the Western masses are used to, now also including the popular sweet breakfast.
It’s often hard to experience something of the Thai culture among the thumping beats of the night clubs and numerous sales stalls of the merchants. But it’s unfair of course to limit the entirety of Bangkok to just Khao San Road, since this metropolis at the heart of South East Asia has a lot more to offer. Many Thai islands naturally belong to the true tourist magnets and are included in the Trail. On the islands of Phuket, Ko Tao and Ko Phan Ngan for example, you’ll have no problems with getting banana pancakes for breakfast. For all the Thailand newbies you’ll find some useful Thailand backpacking tips on my blog.
Once in Asia, touring around is so easy and affordable, that many backpackers visit more countries. Beside Thailand, the countries of Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos also belong to the popular travel destinations. Just the other day I reported about El Nido in the Philippines as the new dream destination for backpackers for example. Many inhabitants of these countries make their living from tourism and adjust more and more to the visitors from all over the world. In Indonesia, for several years now people have been supporting themselves by taking advantage of the hype surrounding the islands of Bali or Gili, as every year these islands attract thousands of backpackers who are looking for beautiful beaches and an unforgettable time.
Nepal and India may seem somewhat unusual, as these also belong to the Banana Pancake Trail. Especially popular are Goa in India and Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal. In India, the backpackers can also encounter the travellers of the Hippie Trails, which leads from Europe to Asia and just like the Banana Pancake Trail, is very much frequented by tourists. Besides the Banana Pancake Trail and the Hippie Trails which lead through Europe and Asia, there is also the Gringo Trail, well known among tourists, which leads through many countries of South America such as Mexico, Argentina and Peru among others. It’s, therefore, almost impossible not to stumble on one of the trails when touring foreign lands.
The Banana Pancake Trail – boon and bane
The Banana Pancake Trail is – like the other trails – a blessing and a curse for many backpackers, because on one hand the travelling around all the time can be burdensome and there are always new places to explore, so it requires a bit of an adventurous spirit from the backpackers. Nevertheless you can still experience adventure in the Asian countries away from the touristy trails. Just try to eat in local restaurants or in the markets as often as possible, it’s best to observe where and what the locals eat and be a bit brave. Besides the sights, which are included in every guide, there are also many insider tips which you can find on the numerous blogs and forums on the Internet, also in my Travel Magazine. Take time to get to know your chosen destination and you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the everyday life of the locals. That’s what makes travelling truly unforgettable!
If you’re in Asia for the first time, it’s worth asking other backpackers for tips and tricks and tread the familiar paths at first. Despite the great number of tourists, you can still experience a little culture shock if you’re in the Far East for the first time. You can then decide for yourself, how much adventure you want to include in your holiday.
I’m curious, what do you think about backpacking? There are certainly many backpackers among you who have already explored the Banana Pancake Trail or other trails. Which countries are definitely worth a visit and why? I look forward to your comments!
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