How to Travel Southeast Asia Backpacking Route by Land? Let this guide tell you!

By Alice Ross | ASIA

Jun 27
Southeast Asia Backpacking Route

Famous for its lavish temples, unspoiled beaches, and interesting cultures, Southeast Asia has long been one of the most common travel destinations for backpackers looking for some unique but affordable adventure. 

But where do you start? Southeast Asia composed of eleven countries, but of course, this is not something you would want to cover in just one go. If you’re planning to backpack Southeast Asia and want to experience its beauty in diversity, we can recommend you this route itinerary which you can do without the need of booking expensive flights.  Below is Southeast Asia backpacking route you can travel by land consisting of six countries.


Southeast Asia backpacking route

First country: Laos

vang vieng loas

The non-coastal land of Southeast Asia has fascinated backpackers due to its setting and rich culture. When you find yourself exploring Northern Laos, make sure to check out Luang Prabang. Listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site, this town has a lot of things to offer. Despite its small size, the beauty it offers is incomparable to any other places you see in Southeast Asia.

Another place every backpacker would love to visit is Vang Vieng. This is a city that is well-known for the ceaseless adventures it offers and the limestone karst hills surrounded the city give more reasons why it is worth the visit. The city’s peaceful atmosphere makes it an impeccable tourist destination. Tham Kong Lo is an astounding limestone cave located on the PhuHin Bun River. It’s considered one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia. This is perfect for those who are looking for adventures.

Second Country: Vietnam

ho chi minh city

Vietnam is one of the best countries that welcome backpackers with open arms and offers them with beauty and experience they would never experience elsewhere. The warm hospitality of the Vietnamese, a remarkable collection of exceptional cultures, breathtaking scenery all over the country, and dazzling calm beaches are what every traveler desires. Some of the best backpacking locations in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. From Laos, you can ride the bus to Hanoi, and from there, travel until you get to Ho Chi Minh City which is also known as Saigon.

Third Country: Cambodia

sihanoukville cambodia

From Ho Chi Minh, take a bus to Phnom Penh and from there, start your Cambodia adventure. Cambodia is well-known all over the world for Angkor Wat located in Siem Reap, a few hours away from Phnom Penh. These temples definitely would take your breath away. Another temple you must see is the Bayon Temple. If you are looking for some pristine beaches, there’s no better place than Sihanoukville. As with other countries in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has a tropical climate. While summertime is certainly one of the worst times to go, it’s also the best time to enjoy the beach.

Fourth Country: Thailand


Of course, one of the top Southeast Asia backpacking route in the world, Thailand, should be on the list. Your first destination will surely be Bangkok where you can instantly feel how exciting your time in the country is going to be.

Nightlife is not the only thing you can enjoy in Bangkok. Temples, especially Grand Palace should not be missed. The amazing architecture of the gigantic palace and its majestic lawns would leave you awestruck! If you can allow yourself more time in the country, explore its Northern side. The traditional ways of the hill tribes will amuse you a great deal along with the endless adventures the landscape offers.

Thailand is ideal for those who are on a budget and looking for world-class tropical place and cuisine. You can go to the northern part of the country to experience countryside and south to enjoy immaculate beaches and full moon parties. Southern Thailand should be on the last part of your trip as it will be your gateway to your next destination.

Read more: Is Bangkok safe? Make Sure to Read This First!

Fifth Country: Malaysia

langkawi malaysia

Malaysia is a nation of natural fusion. The country is separated in two landmasses – Borneo and the mainland. But since Borneo is on another island, we will focus on the mainland. Malaysia has an extremely diverse cultural background and while it has interesting in historical significance, it has also followed modernization’s current development. This nation has the best of both worlds. In its capital, you will enjoy beautiful skyscraper buildings, vast shopping malls, and the diverse cultures that make it a versatile but remarkable destination for backpackers.

From Thailand, you can first enjoy the beaches around Langkawi and Penang, and then enjoy the countryside like Cameron Highlands down to Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a pulsating and exotic nation which has a rich cultural and technological affluence. The sundry cultural tradition is supplemented by the luxurious landscape, delightful foods, and range of ancient and modern festivals.

Sixth Country: Singapore


Only five hours by bus from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore is another gem found in Southeast Asia. Different from the first countries mentioned, Singapore is perfect last destination for its relaxing vibe. Although it’s not suggested to spend a long time here due to its size and standard of living, going here is still definitely worth it.

Known as a shopping paradise, Singapore is a safe and secure backpacking destination. It is a city and beach getaway combined together. Another amazing thing about this place is the gastronomic scene. You are able to satiate your culinary desire for splendid cuisines at whenever and wherever in the island. There are many luxury bars, restaurants, and hotels where you can relax your body and soul after months of backpacking. 

But of course, luxury is not what Singapore is about. Experience mixed cultures in the island by visiting Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street. There are also water sports options including sailing and windsurfing. Singapore is a multicultural city that is full of multicultural diversity that will surely make every traveler happy.


Southeast Asia backpacking route keeps on growing. You might find backpackers in a strictly wide diversity of locations. No matter what type of traveler you are – whether you’re a backpacker or lavish traveler – you will surely enjoy visiting each of the countries mentioned above.

A good backpacking experience can change your whole life and perspective to the world. When you decide to backpack, you’ll find that there are more to the world than sitting on your computer, spending your money on expensive clothes and gadgets, or living with a job that you hate. There are a lot of different reasons why going on a backpacking trip is something every millennial must experience. It makes you smarter, stronger, and a better person. 

What do you think about this list? Do you have any suggestions to make this itinerary better? Share your thoughts in the comment below!

To make your backpacking experience better, you may want to check our articles about Top 5 Best Waterproof Backpacks and Top 5 Best Sleep Sack for Your Next Backpacking Adventure. 

Rating: 4.56 (18 votes)


About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

Leave a Comment:

(2) comments July 26, 2019

Have you heard about the Banana Pancake Trail ? This trail doesn’t really have a definite route, this is also known as the Southeast Asia trail. But most travellers will describe Banana Pancake Trail starts in Thailand, then Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, then back to Thailand – from here, you can decide if you want to go to cross the land border to Myanmar or Malaysia, or fly to the Philippines or Indonesia or Singapore.

    Camille Poire January 24, 2020

    Oh cool, I’d never heard of that term, didn’t know it was called that. Pretty funny name for it! And definitely a great overland trip to do.

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