Laos vs. Myanmar/Burma

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  • Re: Laos vs. Myanmar/Burma
    I forgot to add the link where you can see some more images I did of both Myanmar and Laos:

    Hope these get your travel juices flowing and your mind packed with photographic inspiration. Both of these destinations were among my favorite trips.
  • Myanmar/Burma during the rainy season...
    Here's a Bagan shot taken in September. You might contact the photographer and ask what it's like that time of year.

    There may be more Myanmar wet season shots on the site, I didn't try a search to see if you could search by date as well as place.

    With your limited time the LP-CM trip might be a good choice. Since you're traveling 'with child' you might want to consider a stop in Lopburi for the hundreds of monkeys that roam the streets and/or Ayuthaya for an elephant ride.

    (And, you've been to Siem Reap? - good way to spend a week.)
  • Re: Myanmar/Burma during the rainy season...
    Bob wrote : "And, you've been to Siem Reap?"

    Yes, I've been there for a short week last year. I once thought nowhere could compete with India on monuments and architecture side...until I went to Siem Reap...but I think I'll go back to this place in wet season and couple it with a deeper insight of Cambodia : Battambang, Rattanakiri, etc.

    Burma's really haunting me these days...I wouldn't spit on Luang Prabang either...
  • Re: Laos vs. Myanmar/Burma
    Not so much experienced SEA travellers should consider to plan their trip to Burma according to the moon. Full-moon is celebrated most impressively at all temples (i.e. Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon, Shwezigon Pagoda Bagan, Golden Rock) illuminated by thousands of candlelights, so you should be at the most important place of your tour exactly that night.
  • Re: Laos vs. Myanmar/Burma
    The best season to visit Burma remains IMO the rainy season. Lot of contrasts (green vegetation and ochre temples), and still enough heartbreaking sunshine ;-)

    The regions that I appreciate most in Burma are the north (Kachin state) and the east (Shan state). They offer a good alternative to the well-known Bagan and Inle Lake.

    But if you planned to visit Burma in September-October, do not miss the Phaung Daw U festival. All tribes from Burma join around Inle lake. Very colourful. A paradise for every photographer.
  • Yunnan + thailand
    This is likely late for the OP, I just started on the list yesterday.

    There are flights from Bangkok to Kunming, also you can fly Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Kunming. This works nicely for seeing northern Thailand without doubling back to Bangkok. There are also once or twice a week flights from Chiang Mai to Jinghong, the main town in Xishuangbanna, and then you can continue on to Kunming.

    There are some fine photo ops in Kunming. Quite near each other are Yuantong Temple and Green Lake (Cuihu Park on the maps). Yuantong underwent its last major renovation about 700 years ago and I like it because it is very active and a good spot for people watching. Green Lake often has people exercising and the island in the middle of the lake usually hosts groups of elderly Chinese playing traditional instruments and singing.

    The Bird and Flower market, just south of Green Lake has the usual market stalls and street activity but has afew lovely tree lined streets with branches overhanging all the street activity. Look for Pizza da Rocco. Rocco is from Naples and the food is fresh and good. He makes a fressh bach of mozzerella daily.

    Just south of that is a street of Moslem shops and restaurants, this offers a slightly different aspect to the "usual" Chinese street scenes - plus good food!

    One of Kunming's highlights is the Bamboo Temple. There are hundreds of wild fantastical figures of monks and poeple from myth. On a hilltop outside the city - try the vans outside Yunnan Hotel on Dongfeng Dong Lu for a ride there. You can't shoot inside the rooms with the figures, but it is worth seeing.

    Dali - Buses from Dali took between 5 and 10 hours depending on price and the long ones were night buses. Lijiang is another 3 hours from Dali. We flew up to Lijiang from Kunming and took buses DOWN from the mountains rather than UP. The roads underwent major upgrading 3-4 years ago and are now as mountain roads are likely to get.

    Xishuangbanna - there is a great Sunday market photo op in Menghun, west of JInghong. The hotels suck but you need to get there Saturday as the tribal people come to the market early and are gone by lunch. We took a cab from JInghong and stopped at villages and saw a nice southern Chinese mosque.

    You can see some shots of these areas on my pages: