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Thread: Short trip, Cambodia or Myanmar?

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    Senior Member stupscott's Avatar
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    Short trip, Cambodia or Myanmar?

    We're planning next years vacation back to LOS in April to see the family but I want to see a little more of SE Asia each time we visit.

    We only have a couple of days, 2-5, where would you recommend? We were thinking of Cambodia (just to see Angkor Wat really) , Myanmar or even Vietnam. My only thinking is I'd like to spend more than a few days in Myanmar and Vietnam so possibly leave them for another time but as we've never been I don't know for sure, any thoughts?

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    Angkor for a few days is OK. Myanmar, you have to do Yangon, Pagan, Mandalay and eventually Lake Inle.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain View Post
    Angkor for a few days is OK. Myanmar, you have to do Yangon, Pagan, Mandalay and eventually Lake Inle.
    yep....you are pretty much limited to just one town/city with that time frame...so Yangon or Mandalay in Myanmar, PP or SR in Cambodia or HCMC or Hanoi in Vietnam

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Siem Reap is a fine spot for 4-5 days, nice city although I'd be inclined to avoid pub street. As far as I recall if you buy the Angkor 3 day pass you don't have to use it on 3 continuous days so you could take a break from the temples and head out for some nightlife. I stayed in a hotel called Steung Siem Reap which was lovely and in a great location near the river/old market area and it had a few nice bars quite nearby.

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    Senior Member stupscott's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'm glad to hear Mandalay recommended, as crazy as it sounds it's somewhere I've wanted to go based on the name alone without knowing much about the city itself but Myanmar is definitely a long holiday rather than a city trip. SR it is then.

    A 3 day pass?? jeez it must be bigger than I imagine, I've seen it on TV and photos but I thought it would be an all day visit. Do they hire bikes (motorbike and bicycle) like they do in Ayutthaya?

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    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    If I was going to do only one city in Myanmar, I'd probably take Yangon over Mandalay…. more stuff more variety, a developing nightlife scene…. and lots more choices for food, banking, etc. Mind you I do like Mandalay, but it's more spread out, and the airport is a long way from town. Central Yangon is pretty good for walking around in, Mandalay less so….

    Just my two cents worth.

    If I were going to do one or the other, with only a few days to spend, I'd go to Siem Reap/Angkor Wat as you will see things there that you won't see anywhere else on Earth, and no life is complete without seeing. Angkor Wat and the surrounding area is truly mind bending stuff. I'd save Myanmar for next year and try to arrange a little more time for your visit there.

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    Senior Member geir's Avatar
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    I agree with the boys above, Cambodia is perfect for a few days.
    I have a few friends that is working in Myanmar, pretty much all over the place. They all say it's a shit hole, and loads of the money you are spending there is supporting the government regime that still use slavery and killings to control and run the country.
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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    If I was surprised about one thing in Angkor Wat it was tge sheer size of it. Travelling to one of the outer temples took about 25 minutes by car. They do 7 day passes as well. I saw lots of people cycling around it and there was no shortage of tuktuk drivers to being you around. I got a car and a tourguide and I was glad of the aircon to get away from the humidity and dust. Also the tourguide was good at taking me to different sites when they weren't too busy.

    I have a thread from my visit in 2013 in the trip reports forum thay may give you some ideas.

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    K2
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    Quote Originally Posted by stupscott View Post
    Thanks! I'm glad to hear Mandalay recommended, as crazy as it sounds it's somewhere I've wanted to go based on the name alone without knowing much about the city itself but Myanmar is definitely a long holiday rather than a city trip.
    Whats in a name ... as far as Mandalay goes ... very little!

    I think for most Mandalay would be a bit of a let down - it was only founded in 1857, and its pretty much a grid city with a very strong Chinese feel. Even basic nightlife is near non-existent due to the many monasteries that surround the city and apart from the Chiang Mai like moat (and reconstructed Royal Palace) its only the highly revered Mahamuni Buddha image and Mandalay Hill (Pagoda) that are worth visiting. All the real attractions are outside - Ava - the ancient capital, Saggiang and its magnificent monastery complexes and the famous U Bien Bridge.

    For a short city stay - Yangon for 2/3 nights would be enough for most.

    Myanmar is vast country and travelling within it is time consuming - (so fly!).
    Its My Life .....!

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    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K2 View Post
    Myanmar is vast country and travelling within it is time consuming - (so fly!).
    LOL, it took us a mere 28 hours to complete the "17 hour" train journey from Yangon to Bagan. I don't think the train ever exceeded 45 km/hr, and our 1st class sleeper compartment required the windows open, and the shutters to be fully retracted to get so much as a hint of a cooling breeze. We spent 6 1/2 hours at a dead standstill in the steaming middle of the bug-filled jungle night, waiting for the train ahead of us with a dead locomotive to be towed from the single track narrow gauge railway. Thai second class service makes Burmese first class look like Ethiopian third class.

    That said, there is a vibe, and a sense of truly "being there" that third world rail travel can provide. If you have the time, and a sense of adventure, you'll see things from a slow moving railway carriage that you'd completely miss from 30,000 feet at 550 knots. Be prepared and bring snacks, bottled water, and your own toilet paper. It can be quite an adventure taking a dump through the semi-bombsight open hole (direct to the tracks below) loo in a bucking Burmese railcar in the dark of night. While there was a lightswitch for the toilet compartment, nobody's replaced a bulb on a burmese coach in 45 years. Oh yes, bring a torch as well. You can clench it between your teeth as you try to wipe up with both hands while keeping your incredibly tenuous two legged balance to avoid being flung off your feet to the hellishly, indescribably, filthy wet pitching deck below.

    All that said, it's these kinds of experiences and stories that I will treasure in my eventual senility, far above any five star hotel or first class aircraft cabin. These are the experiences of which a life is made.

    Journey well.
    Last edited by Easycpl; 13th August 2015 at 05:35.
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