Traversing the Banana Pancake Trail

Banana Pancake Trail

Banana Pancake Trail


After months of researching potential destinations and planning my trip to Southeast Asia, I came across the ‘Banana Pancake Trail’. The banana pancake trail received its name from the inexpensive banana pancakes that are served at street markets throughout Southeast Asia and are so popular with backpackers in particular.

The trail itself is not specific, allowing travellers to adjust the route, selecting their preferred destinations. The primary locations along the route are generally found in the affordable countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

I mapped out all of the places I wanted to see, deciding to start at the southern-most destination and work my way to the top. After seeing pictures of Bali with its rugged coastlines and sandy beaches it was immediately on my bucket list and so, after 22 hours of flying, my trip began.

Bali is a province and one of over 17,000 Islands of Indonesia and at 5,780 square kilometres it is smaller than the county of Galway. Thankfully, obtaining my ‘Visa On Arrival’ was hassle free and allowed me to stay in Indonesia for up to 30 days. Upon arriving in Bali I soon realised there is no public transport system, the rare bus I had seen was neither advertised or reliable.

Grab is a transportation app that is widely used across all of Southeast Asia. There was a lot of mixed feelings towards such apps in Bali. These taxi methods were unadvised in areas due to the exasperation of traditional taxi drivers who believe their livelihood is being exploited.

This aggravation has led to scamming, which is most evident at the airport. Transportation booked from apps is banned at the airport in Bali. This leaves tourists to venture outside into the haggle of insistent taxi drivers, pleading to bring tourists to their destination.

I had learned this in my research before arriving in Bali and had a driver booked from a company I found online. Unfortunately my flight was delayed and my driver abandoned me, leaving me to my first ever haggle experience.


Accommodation in Bali is extensive and affordable, with a rage of villas, resorts, hotels and bungalows available. I stayed in an apartment in Ubud for a few nights, a town located in the centre of Bali. Its central location proved to be a great base for exploring various tourist attractions in both the North and the East of the island.

Ubud is surrounded by jungle and consists of temples, restaurants, waterfalls, monkey forests, coffee trails and rice fields. It is rich in culture and tradition and is completely untouched. After a two year lockdown in Bali the swarm of tourists have not yet returned leaving the tourist attractions considerably less busy.

Within days of arriving in Bali I understood why it is nicknamed the ‘Island of the Gods’ with religion being at the forefront of everything the Balinese people do. The offerings they leave out scatter the streets, little paper baskets filled with flowers representing their gratitude for what they have in life.

For the remainder of my visit to Bali I stayed in Seminyak, which is located in the south of the Island. There was a stark difference between Ubud a rural area and Seminyak an urban area in regards to the prices, food, crowds, and hygiene standards.

The Seminyak area is extremely popular and luxurious, enriched with beach clubs, spas, bars, restaurants, boutiques and most importantly breathtaking beaches. This area was dense with tourists, being a major hotspot the beaches were overcrowded and littered in parts.

While in Seminyak I enjoyed western and Balinese food, both of which were delicious. The quality and standards far beyond anything I had imagined, the average prices for a dinner ranging from 3-15 euro. Bali is influenced greatly by the western world when it comes to food and the use of the English language.

This contribution along with the natural beauty of Bali explains the appeal to western travellers. Bali was the perfect destination to commence my journey around Southeast Asia, brimming with both relaxation and adventure.


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