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Please help me decide on next winter's trip-Sri Lanka, India, or Burma

Please help me decide on next winter's trip-Sri Lanka, India, or Burma

Apr 24th, 2011, 03:04 PM
  #1  
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Please help me decide on next winter's trip-Sri Lanka, India, or Burma

IFor those that have been to any or all of the 3 countries I am considering,, could you please tell me why you liked or disliked your travels there. We want to spend about 3 weeks in one of them next Jan. We like culture and , interesting architecture. We do not like shopping or Indian food, but we could deal with eating granola bars in India, if need be. We would travel mostly by hiring a car and driver and would stay in . 3-4 star hotels. I have itineraries worked out for all three countries, but I am just wondering which country Fodorites feel is the best of three considering our parameters. I hope Craig, thursdaysd, Bob and others who have been to these countries will give me some input. Thanks
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 03:48 PM
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Shelly, I have to chuckle as I was debating Burma vs. Sri Lanka back in January. Both would be return trips for us. We've decided now on Burma, but I expect that means a return to Sri Lanka in 2012. As you know, we were in India in Nov/Dec and had a great time, and we will, of course, return to India - so much to do and see!

Let me just make some comments comparing our experiences in Burma and Sri Lanka. Burma is relatively untouristed. Even the places which are the most famous highlight of this country will not be crowded with foreign visitors. In three weeks, you could see and do a lot in Burma, despite the fact that travel can be slow. I am a reader and read extensively about my destinations, but I have never done so much reading on a country as I did for Burma (and am again doing for our second trip there). Must sees include Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake (do make sure to visit the southern part of the lake), the ancient cities outside Mandalay (on our itinerary for this year). We'll also be visiting Mrauk U this year. There are southern beaches that are supposed to be beautiful as well.

We loved Sri Lanka. It has some the the best boutique hotels in the world. I found so much to learn about in Sri Lanka. There is little published in this country, and I felt my eyes were opened to a history I knew only in the broadest strokes. Must-sees include the cultural triangle (Polonnaruwa and the Dambulla Cave Temples were my favorites), Kandy, and Tea country. We didn't have time for Galle, but many people like it, nor did we have time for a beaches, but, of course, the beaches in Sri Lanka are renowned.

SInce you haven't been to either place, it is a tough decision. Both are fabulous destinations, IMO. I expect Burma will be changing more in the next few years (though I may be overly optimistic), so this might be a fine time to see it. Sri Lanka will be more comfortable travel.

You might find our photos useful: www.marlandc.com

Our India photos are of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kolkata, so I don't know if those will help, but the Burma and Sri Lanka photos might be useful.

Happy planning! Any of these destinations will make for a fascinating trip.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 24th, 2011, 04:01 PM
  #3  
 
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I would vote for Burma. Food is less 'Indian' than either India or Sri Lanka, and it fits your criteria for architecture (Bagan) and culture (tribes of the Shan State).

January may be quite cold if you do include Inle Lake on your itinerary.
Femi is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 05:04 PM
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I think I would agree with the vote for Myanmar, although I would certainly rate India first for architecture. I'd also rate India first for food, but then you don't like Indian food! Shopping is entirely optional, and I don't shop either.

As dogster has said, Sri Lanka is India-lite, so if you're picking India or Sri Lanka it might be a good idea to start with Sri Lanka. However, the sites and scenery are definitely better in India, especially if you like mountains.

My vote for Myanmar is mainly because it's more of a time-warp. It felt to me that I was seeing southeast Asia as it was several decades ago.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 05:30 PM
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Myanmar. It's been a long day for me. I'll write more tomorrow.
Craig is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 07:41 PM
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and for you, given the food issue, I too would suggest Burma... btw, i have not been to sri lanka...

both places have some political issues... both are down-troden places with huge poverty issues... burma is quite reasonable...i'm not sure about SL... the normal arrival in burma would be from bangkok---SL from singapore, malaysia or india.... i'm not sure but i think you might find burma more culturally rich...

we can talk more when we have dinner next month...
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 02:54 AM
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Some more thoughts: with 3 weeks my first choice would be India but I cannot imagine experiencing India without the food or the shopping. In Myanmar, there's not that much to buy although the artwork available in Yangon and the lacquer-ware available in Bagan are an incredible bargain. We did not experience much local cuisine and when we did, we found it to be rather bland and uninteresting. Even if you go in January, don't skip Inle Lake. Just dress warmly. Myanmar is unique, timeless and exotic. You will not be disappointed if you go.
Craig is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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I've traveled in all three and would vote Burma and India. But you might have a problem trying to find 3-4 star hotels to fill 3 weeks in Burma unless perhaps you include the seashore. That is if you are referring to European 3-4 star standards. You will also have a problem trying to see it all by hired car without internal flights or boat travel.

Are you interested in a river cruise?
ekscrunchy is online now  
Apr 25th, 2011, 08:01 AM
  #9  
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Thanks all for your replies. Your input is most helpful in making a difficult decision a little easier.

ekscrunchy-I never thought of a river cruise, but that sounds like it might add to the trip. Any recommendations or links to boat company sites would be appreciated. I did plan on several internal flights but neglected to note this in my original post.

Vihan-I spent 2.5 weeks in northern India a few years ago, and in many places had to look past the dirt to appreciate the beauty and uniquesness of the places we visited. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip dispite the dirt, so I think I could do the same in Burma and Sri Lanka. Dirty streets I can overlook, but not dirty hotel rooms or restaurants.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 08:06 AM
  #10  
 
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"Burma and Sri Lanka are disgusting. Visit India. It's better than the rest. The rest are dirty disgusting."

Absolute rubbish. I visited Sri Lanka right after six weeks in India (south India, which is cleaner than the north) and I couldn't believe how clean and quiet (few HORNS!) it was in comparison. Same for Myanmar. Do you work for the Indian Tourist Board? Or live in a hi-tech community near Delhi or Bangalore and never venture out?

eks - I spent two weeks in Myanmar traveling only by car and saw Inle Lake, Mandalay, and Bagan. I think the boat from Mandalay to Bagan is owned by the government, also may be the case with airlines.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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There are river boats owned by the government and some that are privately owned. Likewise the airlines. Some places you have to fly to get to - no land routes are possible for visitors (like Mrauk U). I think you could find 3-4 star places to stay to fill three weeks. We will be traveling to some less-visited places in Burma and we are finding 3-4 star places.

Vihan has made several posts that are absolute rubbish, the one above is a good example, but the one about malaria is dangerous rubbish.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 25th, 2011, 10:49 AM
  #12  
 
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Shelley: I took a 15-day cruise in Burma last winter. Here is the report that I wrote about the trip. There are a lot of comments, some of them off topic, so you can just skip those for the most part:



http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...yssey-2010.cfm

The company, Pandaw, has several other itineraries in Burma and is quite well respected.
Accommodations are very comfortable, but not 5-star luxury. Road travel in Burma will only allow you to travel so far....you can penetrate much further on the rivers.

http://www.pandaw.com/myanmar-c-22.html

I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about my own travels; although I have traveled quite a bit in India and have made one trip to Sri Lanka, my visits to both countries were quite a few years ago, so I am more up-to-date on Burma since my most recent visit, my second, was only last year..
ekscrunchy is online now  
Apr 26th, 2011, 04:51 AM
  #13  
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Thanks. I am going to do more research and will be back. It seems like Lonely Planet is the only company that makes a guide book for Myanmar.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 06:43 AM
  #14  
 
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For Myanmar, LP is the only game in town.
Craig is offline  

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