I wanted to ask for your help as I am trying to choose between Sri Lanka and Cambodia for the next years trip (time for the trip is unknown for the moment). They both look SO good and I have already eliminated a lot other nice options. And maybe you have any suggestions which is the best way to move around country, find places where to sleep - is it necessary to bok in advance - and any other details that you have learned through your experience.
Thanks already in advance,
Why not try them both. You could fly to bangkok, get a Bangkok Airways Discovery pass and then have a few weeks in each country - even take in Laos as well if you plan the flight route properly.
Sri Lanka has more beachside places than Cambodia and also quite a bit of history. It is also quite dangerous in some of the north and northeastern parts. Rooms are cheap as also is food and transport.
Cambodia has limited beaches, Sihanoukville is the most popular, but abundant history. The ruins at Angkor Wat are superb and much better than the Sri Lankan sites. Phnom Penh also has history, if somewhat gruesome. Meals and rooms are cheap as also is transport.
For both countries the Nov to March period is the best time to visit climate wise.
Its a while since I was in Sri lanka but I was in Cambodia earlier this year. My impression is that you will be able to find rooms easily in both countries. It would be wise to book Bangkok Air flights well in advance though. To find where Bangkok Air flys to just go into Google and type in Bangkok Airlines.
Hope this helps.
I have not visited Cambodia so I cannot make recommendations or comparisons there but as a Sri Lankan living currently in Sri Lanka, I have found that most of my non-Sri Lankan friends who visit Sri Lanka like it for its natural tropical settings rather than its historical sites, and mostly the beaches in the South.
Weligama, Unawatuna are great beaches in the south and there are numerous guesthouses and hotels down the southern coast, you don't really need to book in advance.
I am a fan of the hill country and prefer Peradeniya and Nuwara Eliya. Visitors usually combine this visit with a quick half-day visit to Sigiriya, the rock fortress from 5 AD. Close to Sigiriya, in Dambulla, you find the Kandalama Hotel, an expensive, unique and beautiful 5 star hotel that you should try at least for one special evening.
It is best to hire a car with a driver, for conserving time as well as being able to stop at any place that catches your fancy as usually in Sri Lanka, you usually find gems along the way. At the same time, using the trains and inter-city buses which start from Colombo in Pettah (Fort Station) are the cheapest way of travelling, if you don't mind the dust, crowd and delays.
I have not been to Sri lanka, so I cannot compare the two. Cambodia is worth a visit for the historical ruins & culture. Of course Angkor is the main jewel, but there are other less visited temples if you are interested. The Phnom Penh sights will only take a few days to cover. Then you can get some beach time in at Sihanoukvile. Then it gets a bit thin on things to do. I would include another country if you vote for Cambodia. Visit either Thailand, VietNam or Laos if you have the time. Cambodia can be adequately covered in 2 weeks unless you are simlpy fascinated with historical ruins.
I have many photos of Cam. Thailand & VN in my gallery. I also know a worthy organization that can always use volunteers if you are interested. It is headquartered in Phnom Penh. Send me a PM if you have any questions.
Thanks very much indeed for the information. I think that I am more leaning towards Cambodia now, and maybe I should put a little bit of time in Thailand as well... anyway I think that both of those countries should be one of those trips that you remember for your life.
And Sri Lanka then for next trip