The Banana Pancake Trail is a popular backpacking route through Southeast Asia, perfect for first-time travelers. It’s a well-worn path with lots of other backpackers to meet along the way, plenty of affordable accommodation options, and exciting experiences across several countries.

It’s a must-do for all avid travelers at least once in their lives. But if you’ve already done this route or are an experienced traveler looking for something a little less mainstream, these 8 alternative backpacking routes are an excellent choice for your next adventure.

8 Islands of Indonesia, Southeast Asia

Indonesia sits on the outer reaches of the classic Banana Pancake Trail, which means most travelers on that route spend a bit of time on the island of Bali before heading to mainland Asia. Stray from the traditional trail by planning a backpacking trip exclusively around Indonesia to explore some lesser-traveled islands.

Besides Bali, travelers will find accommodation options and tourism infrastructure on Indonesian islands like Sumatra, Lombok, and Java. When visiting Java, travelers can stay in Yogyakarta or venture into the bustling city of Jakarta. Sumatra is less densely populated and known for its rugged landscapes. Travelers can also take a day trip to Komodo Island to see the native Komodo Dragon as part of a guided tour.

7 The Golden Triangle, India

India is another country on the outskirts of the Banana Pancake Trail that deserves to be its own trip. It has so many vibrant and exciting cities to explore, and incredible cuisine, and is fairly spread out, covering 3,287,263 square kilometers. India is the 7th largest country in the world by land size, so travelers can easily spend months backpacking here and still not experience everything it offers.

A traditional route that is well-traveled in India by foreigners is nicknamed The Golden Triangle. The route gets its name from the triangle shape formed on a map between the capital city of New Delhi, Agra in Uttar Pradesh, and Jaipur in Rajasthan.

6 The Silk Road, Central Asia

Adventurous travelers who want a budget backpacking experience that is off the beaten track can head further west to Central Asia. This part of the continent has a rich history as part of The Silk Road, an ancient trading route that linked China to the Western world. Today, travelers are exploring this path in awe of the incredible architecture, friendly locals, and affordable prices.

While it’s possible to follow the Silk Road all the way from China to Turkey overland, most backpackers doing this trail tend to stick to the countries affectionately nicknamed “the Stans” in Central Asia. These are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Related: Why The Cities Along the Silk Routes of Uzbekistan Are So Special (And Should Be Visited)

5 The Gringo Trail, South America

Gringo is the term used in Spanish or Portuguese to refer to English-speaking foreigners. The popular backpacking route through South America earned its name for being frequented by international travelers. The classic Gringo Trail is a string of cities or destinations across the continent that are favorites among tourists. Typically, the Gringo Trail starts in Peru where travelers visit Lima, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca before crossing overland into Bolivia. In Bolivia, they explore La Paz, La Salar de Uyuni (salt flats), and Sucre.

The latter part of the trail takes travelers to Chile to visit the Atacama Desert and Santiago before trekking through Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia. From there, they can finish their trip in Buenos Aires. Some travelers start the journey from Colombia, exploring Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena, then staying in Quito, Ecuador before journeying to Peru.

4 The Tokaido Road, Japan

The Tokaido Road is a historical Japanese route that linked Osaka and Kyoto with present-day Tokyo (previously Edo). The road ran along the Pacific coast of Honshu, but today the entire route is no longer walkable. Luckily, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are now connected by the Tokaido Shinkansen, a high-speed train that is part of Japan’s extensive rail network.

The Tokaido Shinkansen connects the three biggest metro areas in the country: Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka/Kyoto. International travelers can purchase a Japan Rail Pass before arriving in the country to travel this route and see the highlights of the country. A 7-day pass costs 33,610 YEN (around $265 USD) for an adult and a 14-day pass costs 52,960 YEN (around $415 USD).

3 Cairo to Cape Town, Africa

True adventure-seekers who want to take the road less traveled can embark on a backpacking trail through the continent of Africa. It’s not as easy to travel as in Southeast Asia because of less tourism infrastructure, but there is plenty to see and do. On this route, travelers start in Northern Africa in the city of Cairo, Egypt. From there, they head south to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and into Kenya. After exploring Nairobi and perhaps going on safari in the Masai Mara, travelers can go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda.

If they are on a tight budget or under a time constraint, it’s easy to cut Uganda and Rwanda from their itinerary and jump straight from Kenya to Tanzania. Spend some time on the Serengeti or climb Kilimanjaro before relaxing on the island of Zanzibar. It’s worth stopping in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to witness the “smoke that thunders” before closing out the journey in Cape Town, South Africa.

2 The Iberian Peninsula, Europe

Western Europe is likely beyond the budget for backpackers who are looking for alternatives that are comparable to the Banana Pancake Trail. However, the Iberian Peninsula is more affordable than the rest of Western Europe, and it offers beautiful beaches, great food, and accessible train travel.

The Iberian Peninsula refers to the European region comprising Spain and Portugal. For comparison, Portugal is 36% cheaper than the Netherlands and Spain is 18% cheaper than France. An ideal route through this region is to explore Portugal (Porto, Lisbon, Lagos, and Faro) and the south of Spain (Seville and Granada) by car or train. Travelers can also choose to focus their time on larger Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid before taking the train to Lisbon, Portugal.

Related: 10 Exciting Things To Do During A Long Layover In Lisbon

1 The Balkans, Europe

Travelers who are interested in sticking to Europe for their backpacking adventures but maintaining a tight budget will love The Balkans. The route travelers take through this region of southeastern Europe typically comprises Croatia (starting from Zagreb), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mostar and Sarajevo), and Croatia (Dubrovnik), Montenegro (Kotor), ending in Serbia (Belgrade).

Bulgaria is also part of The Balkans and is an extremely affordable destination to add to the itinerary. With incredible architecture and mouthwatering cuisine, exploring Sofia or Plovdiv is the perfect way to cap off a European backpacking trip.