I have been wanting to travel to South/South East Asia for years and now it is finally time. I spent about a month in Thailand in 2001 and especially loved the village of Pai in the northwest. (About a 4 hour bus ride from Chang Mai.)
Now I am taking myself and about $2k traveling for a month. I am torn, however, between going to Sri Lanka (which I know has some amazing ancient history) - home of a college friend, and going to Vietnam, with a week or so in Laos.
I am afraid there won't be enough to do in Sri Lanka for a month and that it will be more expensive to get around. I do have a college friend who lives there, however, and the history I know is amazing. I would love to see Laos and Vietnam before they become more developed and westernized.
I will suggest sri lanka
so beautiful there
and with 2 K budget, i also recomend you to use -snip- and make sure you plan well the budget
Have a great trip and be safe
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
You'd better hurry if you want to see Vietnam before it's overdeveloped - on the edge right now! It is a great destination, but don't expect another Thailand. If you're up for a really stimulating vacation go to Vietnam and Laos - I would think Sri Lanka would be a little more undeveloped and laid back? Everyone raves about Laos - I'm going to discover for myself in a few more weeks when I go to the area (Vietnam and Laos).
(Vietnam requires that you do your homework very well beforehand - this is important! You can prevent most of the scamming if you know about this ahead of time)
Why not go back to Thailand for a while and while there purchase a plane ticket to Colombo and spend a couple weeks there. Then fly back to Thailand or elsewhere. Lots of changes in Bangkok over the past 9 years. New airport, new rail link from that airport. The Skytrain and subway are up and running too, etc.
Nothing says you have to spend an entire month in any one country. Many travelers visit more than one country on their holidays.
I was in Sri Lanka over 25 years ago when I was in the military and had a nice time. I was impressed with Sigiriya Rock Fortress and recommend that for a visit. Same area had some of the oldest erotic cave art too.
Or if you want to save some money visit Thailand, from there visit Laos, between the two you can use up your entire month. Laos is easy to get to overland from Thailand. Check visa requirements ahead of time.
If you like mixing with the local people you may be disappointed with the Vietnamese especially towards Hanoi whereas you will not be with the Sri Lankans. Scenically and cullinarily(?) though Vietnam wins.