Banana Pancake Trail

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A banana pancake in Hoi An, Vietnam. The trail is named after this food.

The "Banana Pancake Trail" or "Banana Pancake Circuit"[1] is the name given to growing routes around Southeast Asia travelled by backpackers and other tourists. The Trail has no clear geographical definition, but is used as a metaphor for places that are popular among Western tourists.

Etymology[edit]

Street stall selling banana pancakes in Phuket City, Thailand.

The phrase '"Banana Pancake Trail" is usually used tongue-in-cheek as an affectionate nickname for various routes in Southeast Asia, and may reference guesthouses, cafes and restaurants catering to backpackers and serving banana pancakes as a form of sweet breakfast or snack.

The Banana Pancake Trail is sometimes associated with backpackers who use Lonely Planet travel guides, with these books often being the most used by backpackers on these routes.[2][3] Banana Pancake trails materialise when an influx of Western backpackers to an area leads to a rise in the number of restaurants serving food adapted to Western desires which includes banana pancakes and other Western comfort foods such as yogurt with muesli and honey.[citation needed]

Geographical reach[edit]

Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand, a notable stop on the Banana Pancake Trail

There is no firm geographical definition of the Banana Pancake Trail, as it is a metaphor to describe the ever-developing travellers' trails in South and Southeast Asia, rather than an actual route or road (much like the Silk Road is not a single road). However, the phrase is used to describe, amongst others, the locations below:

India: Goa, Pushkar, Varanasi

Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan

Thailand: Bangkok (with its famous Khao San Road), Chiang Mai, Pai, Krabi, and many of the islands, including Ko Tao, Ko Pha Ngan (with its world-infamous Full Moon Party), Ko Phi Phi (where The Beach was filmed), Koh Lipe, and Koh Chang

Laos: Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw, Bolaven Plateau, Si Phan Don (The 4000 Islands)

Cambodia: Siem Reap (home to Angkor Wat), Sihanoukville and its offshore islands, Battambang, Phnom Penh

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa

Malaysia: Penang, the Perhentian Islands, Melaka, Ipoh

Indonesia: Lake Toba, Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo and the islands of Bali, Lombok, and Gili Trawangan

The Banana Pancake Trail also seems to have a northern extension in to China with Dali,[4] Lijiang,[5] and Yangshuo as the major centers.[6]

The most common route passes through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City via Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, as well as Phnom Penh and the Mekong Delta. Also people go north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and hillt-ribe villages, continuing to Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng in Laos; however, this is now less popular due to the closing of riverside restaurants offering tubing. Also many head from Saigon to Hanoi, via popular stops being Hoi An and Huế.

Similar trails[edit]

The Banana Pancake Trail is similar in idea to the "Gringo Trail" in South America and the "Hippie Trail" in Asia in the 1960s–70s.

See also[edit]

  • Grand Tour – 17th–19th century Continental tour undertaken by young European aristocrats, partly as leisure and partly educational.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Denis D. Gray (27 March 2008). "Mass tourism swamps Asia's once unique, remote places". USA TODAY (USA TODAY). Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Harry Priestley (July 2008). "Interview with Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler". Citylife. Vol. 17 No. 7: Chiang Mai Citylife. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Gray, Denis (26 March 2008). "Mass tourism swamps Asia's once unique, remote places". USA Today. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/yunnan/dali
  5. ^ Lonely Planet: South-West China, 2002, p. 66
  6. ^ http://www.passplanet.com/china/sw/yangshuo.htm

External links[edit]