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Travel Visa Requirements for the “Banana Pancake Trail”

by David Pacella | December 19th, 2010

If you’ve considered a trip to Asia, particularly a long-term backpacking trip, you’ve probably heard the term “banana pancake trail” thrown about. You might have thought to yourself, “Hey, I like pancakes. I like bananas. Where do I sign up?”

It’s not really that simple-the banana pancake trail doesn’t really have a beginning, end or set route. It’s not a backpacking trail per se, though you’ll certainly meet lots of backpackers on it. The term “banana pancake trail” is simply used to designate areas of Asia that get a lot of young Western tourists, usually backpackers. The name comes from the banana pancakes that are often served at guesthouses serving this clientele.

That said, there are definitely cities and towns that are indisputably part of the banana pancake trail. Whether you’ll want to visit or not depends on the type of traveler you are; if your goal is to see places that are untouched by tourism you may be better off elsewhere. Here’s a list of some of the most popular stops, along with the travel visa requirements for each:


If you’re planning on traveling to India and you have a hankering for banana pancakes check out Goa, Pushkar and Varanasi. See Indian Visa Requirements for Tourists for details on visa requirements.


Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Hanoi in Vietnam are popular backpacker stops. As with India, Vietnam requires American tourists to get visas in advance; see Vietnam Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.


In Thailand, the following regions are known for being great places to hang out and party, if that’s your bag:

  • Bangkok, especially Khao San Road
  • Pai
  • Ko Pha Ngan, known for its notorious full-moon party
  • Ko Phi Phi


In Laos, you can follow your breakfast of banana pancakes with a day of river tubing in Vang Vieng. You can either get your visa on arrival or before you enter the country- see Laos Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.


In Cambodia, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap (near the famous temples of Angkor Wat) are the main banana pancake trail stops. See Cambodian Visa Requirements for Tourists for more details on visas.


Penang, the Perhentian Islands and Melaka are popular “banana pancake trail” stops in Malaysia. You do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less.


Lake Toba, Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo and the islands of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan are all great places to feast on banana pancakes before going sightseeing. You can apply for a visa on advance or get one on arrival- see Indonesian Visa Requirements for Tourists for details.


Banana pancakes have been sighted in China in Dali, Lijiang, and Yangshuo. You’ll need to get a visa in advance to enter China. See Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.

No matter where you’re going, RushMyTravelVisa can help you get the travel visas you need to get there. We’ll research your itinerary and help you with the paperwork, then expedite your visa for the fastest possible processing!

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