ASEAN Backpacking: The Banana Pancake Route

June 27, 2016 ASEAN Backpacking

I usually do a recap of my ASEAN backpacking trips for friends who ask how and how much.  So far, we have done:

1. The Great Mekong Adventure (Ho Chi Minh – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap – Bangkok); 

2. Indochina Love (Bangkok – Vientiane – Hanoi); and
3. Dutch East Indies (Jakarta – Yogyakarta– Bali). 

This trip is a repeat of the first (Ho Chi Minh – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap – Bangkok). My friends just added Chiang Mai – Kuala Lumpur because I requested.  I joined them in Bangkok.

Why is it called banana pancake? I also do not know.

Day 0
Flight from Manila to Bangkok

I took a direct flight from Manila to Bangkok, which arrived shortly after midnight.  From the airport, I took a cab to our hotel, Suneta Hostel Khao San

I did study other transportation options, but it was too late and I wanted to rest already. 

From the airport, I just followed the directional signs to the taxi stands.  It was easy actually, and there was an automatic queueing system, that hands out slip, which has, among others, the name of the taxi driver and the lane it was parked.  I had a print out of the address of the hotel and the taxi driver called the hotel to ask for directions.  Good thing.  I really thought the hotel was on Khao San Road.

I paid almost 500 Baht, which included cab fare, toll fees, and an airport taxi fee.

Suneta is a backpackers' place.  On my first night, I was booked in a 6-bed dormitory (490 Baht), then transferred on my second night to a 4-bed mixed dormitory.  This time, I was joined by my friends who came from Siem Reap.

Suneta is a nice and clean hostel.  They have free coffee all throughout the day and free breakfast.  There are even free toiletries.  At first, I was questioning myself why I didn’t book in a proper hotel, but after my first night, I enjoyed Suneta.

Day 1 in Bangkok
Soi Rambuttri and Khao San Road

On my first day in Bangkok, I just roamed around Soi Rambuttri, my favorite street in Bangkok, and Khao San Road, the popular street for backpackers. 

Day 2
Temple hopping

Our second day was a tour of Bangkok’s must-see temples (AM); lunch at Prachak Roasted Duck, Bangkok’s most famous roasted ducks; and a tour of Ayutthaya, an hour away from Bangkok.  

We paid a total of 5,500 Bath for the van rental.


We took a train to Chiang Mai that same evening.  We booked the lower bunk beds of the first class sleepers (1,500 Baht). 

BTW, never book the upper bunk beds.  They are not comfortable.

Day 3

We arrived in Chiang Mai past noon already.  We got a red taxi or a Songtaew from the terminal and paid 20 Baht each. 

Our home in Chiang Mai was Yindee Stylish Guest House (1,700 Baht per room).

I like Yinde Stylish Guesthouse.  It is clean, uncluttered and spacious.  It is also near some of Chiang Mai’s best bars and restaurants.  There is also a 7/11 nearby.

Much of our first day (or night) was spent at the Saturday Night Market. 

Day 4
Northern Thailand Escapades

On our second day, we got a tour from Travel Hub that included elephant riding, white water rafting, bamboo rafting and waterfalls trekking.  We paid 12,400 Baht for the whole group.

We also requested a visit to the Karen Long Neck Village and we paid an additional entrance fee of 300 Baht.

We went to the Sunday night market after the tour.  It was on a different street. There I found my best street food ever.

It's seafood cooked with egg and stuffed with fresh bean sprouts.  Yummy! And, so cheap. Food in Bangkok and Chiang Mai are so cheap.

Day 5
Around Kuala Lumpur

The following day, we flew to Kuala Lumpur and we hired a van to get us around Batu Caves and Kuala Lumpur.  We paid 580 Ringgit for the van rental.

Our flight was an AirAsia FlyThru, so we didn't worry about claiming and lugging around our baggage. 

Then, after a very quick dinner at KLIA2, the new budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, we flew back to Manila. 

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