Glen and I are planning a three week holiday in late September/early October and can't decide whether to go to Sri Lanka or the Philippines. Has anyone been to both and would chose one over the other and why? We like exploring culture, beach time, diving and trying local food .
What's the weather like at this time of the year?
Any advise to make our decision easier would be much appreciated!
SL ticks the boxes for culture, food, beaches and I believe diving. Sorry I haven't been to the Philippines. Only thing is while you are well clear of the sw monsoon season the ne monsoon starts usually in October. Happily the beaches are in the sw. Probably worth touring and staying in the interior rather than just daytripping from a beach resort. For me Sigiriya and the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy are the top highlights.
Thanks for the answer and advice, Andy. We have read in travel guides that the sw monsoon is still on in September/October and the nw monsoon doesn't start till November. A little confused now. Anyone else with experience of travelling to SL in September/October or who has been to the Philippines at that time of the year?
I'm from the Philippines and while I've never been to SL, I'd suggest that you visit Phils instead. Here are the reasons why:
1. The Phils is blessed with great beaches. Although Boracay is the most popular beach in the country, there are beautiful beaches everywhere in the country. No matter where you are in the Philippines, a beautiful beach is surely a few minutes away.
2. The food is just great. Again, I'm not too familiar with SL's cuisine but what I do know is that the Philippines has one of the most flavorful cuisine in the world. Filipinos are foodies by nature (we eat at least 5 times a day - breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and midnight snack). In fact, Filipino occasions are never complete without a banquet. Our Overseas Filipino Workers are also known for bringing food to fellow Filipinos int he country where they work after taking a vacation in the Philippines. With this being said, you can only imagine the different dishes you can try in the country.
3. The Filipino people are extremely friendly. We love having guests and love helping out tourists. Even Nick Vujicic mentioned that he never met an angry Filipino. =)
If you need more information, here's the link to my website. It's full of articles about the different tourist spots in the Philippines and I hope it will be of help:
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Well.. I haven't been to Sri Lanka too.. but I believe Sri Lanka is a beautiful place... and it has a different charm from the Philippines..
I guess one good thing about the Philippines is that is still off the most beaten road by travellers... you can still find our beautiful beaches with a few travellers and you may even find uninhabited islands still...
the Philippines also has that Spanish flavor from the 300 years of Spanish colonization and the ease of communication with most of the people are ready to converse in English due to 40 years of American colonization ... plus we have 7000+ islands which you can explore and try out..
Sorry I don't know much about the Philippines, only what the operators from call centers tell me about the place!
Ive been to Sri Lanka twice now and both times I had mixed feelings. Someone once described it as India lite, and it does have that feeling. It has all the chaos of India but with a few more modern comforts. It can be very tiring in dealing with and being ripped off by everyone there. If that sort of thing really upsets you it might not be the holiday destination for you. If you can let being gouged a few dollars here and there, then it can be great fun. You definitely need to pamper yourself now and again, rather than always doing the backpacker thing and hoping to go cheap.
The monsoons have been late the last couple of years. So you could easily do the west coast beaches like Trinco and Arugam Bay, then make your way back to the east coast for Galle with its Dutch history. The cultural triangle is back up in the north, so you could do that either first or after the west coast then come back down south.
How you travel is your next question. Depending on how daring you are, you definitely want to include some parts by train. But with two people, you probably will save more time and hassle finding a driver and rental car for other parts of your journey. Buses are frequent in most places, but some can be difficult and time consuming.
To be honest though, I probably wouldn't go to either and go to Bali and the gillies instead. It also ticks all your boxes and the people I find are much more friendly and food far better.
Hi - we had three weeks in the Philippines in January this year (Banuae, Sagadam Batadm Manila, Panglao) and then two weeks in Sri Lanka in July (Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Kandy, Ella, Tissamaharama, Mirissa). I liked them both but it bepends what you want out of your holiday.
We combined the Philippines with Borneo and we were quite active there, climbing Mt Kinabalu and visiting many wildlife parks so the Philippines were more restful - the rice terraces of Batad, the cave graves at Sagada, A short time in Manila and then the beach at Playa Blanca and the whale sharks at Oslob.
Sri Lamka seemed to have more ancient history (Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa) and great wildlife parks (Minneriya for elephants, Yala for leopards and Mirissa for blue whales).
Both countries offer cheap transport and reasonably cheap accommodation. food is cheap (although perhaps more varied (but western) in the Philippines) and beer is cheaper in the Philippines (just).
Excluding the touts that you find in all holiday destinations, the locals were probably more friendly in Sri Lanka. I couldn't really pick one over the other.
My suggestion - choose one for this holiday, and then the other next time!
Thanks for the great replies, everyone. We have decided for Sri Lanka this time. Partly because it seems to offer a lot of variety in a relatively small space, partly because the flight there was just a bit cheaper. All the insights offered here were very helpful though and the Philippines are definitely high on the list for next time!
We are very much looking forward to our holiday on the island this autumn, Thanks again for all your advice.
I'm happy to hear that you already made a decision Steff. I hope that you have a good time and maybe we'll bump into each other when you visit the Philippines next time.
Sri Lanka definitely would be the better choice .