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Old 01-18-2004, 02:11 AM
Opus Opus is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 45
Default Re: Laos vs. Myanmar/Burma

Wow, what a dilemma. I've been to Luang Prabang (Laos), Myanmar and China's Yunnan Province and would hate to have missed any of them.

Luang Prabang is a sleepy little town on the muddy Mekong that ranked as one of the best-kept travel secrets in Asia a decade ago. Many wonderful wats, monks collecting alms at sunrise, wonderful textiles, and some nice nearby day trips. It is so unspoiled and traditonal that it was designated a World Heritage Site.

Myanmar's major highlights are the thousands of ruined temples scattered across the Plains of Bagan and scenic Inle Lake with its floating gardens and the boatsmen who row their prows with one leg. Lots of monks everywhere.

If you choose Yunnan you must get to the tiny town of Dali with it's mountian backgrounds, the Three Pagodas, cormmerant fishermen, sleepy streets and wonderful tiny cafes. Locals here gaped at us, mouths open, like we were aliens from another planet in our Western shorts and boots.
Also get to Lijiang where there exists a traditonal old-town area maybe hundreds of years old where streams flow between cobblestone streets and weekend markets packed with antiques and collectibles.
North of Lijiang there are small villages where the remaining members of the Naxi minority in their blue dress still live.
Xishuanbanna is famous for its many minority peoples, exotic bidrs & wildlife and the Tiger Leaping Gorge where the Yangtze River dives down an awesome gorge.
Kunmimg is just another big, ugly Chinese city, so don't waste much time there. The good stuff is out west. We drove the rough 10-hour haul on the Burma Road to get to Dali, but they now have an airport now....lucky you!

Which would I choose? Well I chose them all. Not sure which I'd choose if I could only see one, as they all rank among my favorite trips in Asia. Maybe Luang Prabang, as it might be most fragile under the weight of tourism. Although, you don't really need a whole week here, as it is tiny area to take in. Maybe with a week Myanmar or Yunnan would be a better choice.

Whichever you chose, I can assure you that you won't be sorry. Great photo-opps all!

All the best!

bart/opus
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