Hard question as they are hard to compare. Angkor Wat and surrounds are ruins - extremely interesting, and you can stay in one place in Siem Reap and see them all. Myanmar is more diverse and the temples while not as spectacular are (except for Bagan) used and lived in as part of daily life. Schwedagon in Yangon is amazing. Bagan is a must and you have to see it from one of the roofs of the temples, all laid out before you. Mandalay and Inle Lake are also very interesting. Have you considered a cruise on the Irawaddy with for example the Pandaw? hope this helpsEdited: 02 March 2013, 02:09
Hi. I am in 50's and have been to both places with my family. Angkor is stunning but is more of a singular experience and tho Siem Reap is a fascinating city with great food it definitely isn't as relaxing as being anywhere in Myanmar. The overall history of Myanmar is engrossing and accessible now that censorship has lightened. Obviously didn't discuss the military/generals but found that most people over 60ish spoke english and were delighted to converse. we found that as independent travelers, the interface with locals was much easier than in Cambodia, noting of course that this was within the tourism infrastructure. We didnt do any treks into villages and dont see ourselves as intrepid. I loved meandering round Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay and not once did anyone try to scam us, whereas in Cambodia this started right at the airport. It was very rewarding also to be at living temples. Food definitely better in Cambodia however. Shopping equal.
If only one week then Cambodia. Leave Myanmar for a 3 week visit in the future ( but soon!)
both places are fascinating and the people in both are also beautiful. By choosing between these two I assume you want to see either the temples and ruins of Siem Reap or the temples of Bagan It is possible if you are reasonably fit and healthy to do both and get a glimse of both countries. The drawbacks are losing a day in travel, having to get visas for both but 3 days each in Bagan and Siem Reap is doable. If you decide on one I would say Siem Reap as the temples in Cambodia are more varied and grander.
Your question is really interesting but hard. Angkor Wat and Bagan are the two biggest archeaological sites in southeast Asia. If you look for a cultural trip, both will feel your travel interest well.
Your response to my post reinforced my views on traveling to Myanmar. After doing more in-depth research on both Myanmar and Angkor Wat, along with viewing posts at various locations from a diverse group of travelers, I have come to the conclusion that Myanmar is the best travel destination for us. I do appreciate you taking the time to post your comments.Edited: 03 March 2013, 07:30
You have a whole week but ONLY a week. Spend 5 days in Siem Reap seeing the temples and 2 days in Phnom Penh. The National Museum there houses all the noteable statuary rescued from the temples at Angkor before the place was looted and you can also see the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Wat Phnom. (& also have time to shop at the markets, which have a much wider selection & better prices than that of Siem Reap)
Save a trip to Myanmar when you can afford to spend 2 weeks there.
Agree, with such a limited time you should visit Cambodia first. When you have at least 2 or 3 weeks or more visit Myanmar..it's a very diverse country and deserves a longer visit. I think just a week in Myanmar would leave you feeling like you missed out on a lot.
As above, 5 days in Siem Reap and 2 days in Phom Penh would be my choice. Also, May is a very hot month and walking barefoot in temples in Myanmar is really hard on your feet.
One thing we loved about Bagan is how many locals visited the temples as part of their routine. If you want true local interaction (and tons of photos taken of you) then Bagan seems to be the winner.
You can read more about our trip here: http://erohisms.com/impressions-of-bagan/
Overall, I feel Myanmar may be the more interesting of the 2 but it's a very close call. However if you have only 1 week I think Cambodia would be the better choice. You can get a pretty good look at Angkor in 3 days then head to Batambang for 2 days and on to Phnom Penh for another 2. This will give you a look at 3 very different places without a huge amount of time spent in buses. I don't htink you can do that in Myanmar. Plus in general, the food, accommodation and overall comfort level is better in Cambodia.