Like Hong Kong, Singapore resembles a giant gleaming bazaar. In particular, that revamped one-way Singapore boulevard Orchard Road draws the hordes because it covers just about every retail angle – every consumerist whim imaginable, parading a succession of megamalls.
Natural aircon: that is one of the main attractions of the northwestern Thailand valley resort known as Pai. If you find Asia swelteringly hot, Pai is the place to go to breathe, a real chill-out zone.
Just try not to get travel sick on the way. The reason: from the nearest attractive town, Chiang Mai, Pai famously lies at the end of 762 bends, near the border with Burma. So, take some motion sickness pills and a plastic bag just in case.
The “PDR” part of Laos PDR stands for “Pretty Damn Relaxed”, they say. Visit Laos People's Democratic Republic – a landlocked country wedged between several nations, including Thailand – and you will find that the saying rings true. The pace of life rarely exceeds a buffalo stroll.
El what? If you have never heard of El Nido, it's time you did, because few resorts better deserve the label “breathtakingly beautiful” than this seaside town in the Philippines province of Palawan, aka "the final frontier".
Ask tourists where and what have they have been doing in Nepal and their answers are quite similar:
“Shopping in Thamel.”
“I went to a Vipassana meditation center there, it was amazing.”
“Well, I’m going to visit Mount Everest. If I had been younger, I’d…”
If a prize existed for the world's most stunning city, Rome might well win it. The Eternal City that hugs Italy's third longest river, the Tiber, is a cut above. Once the center of the world's most daunting empire, it oozes style and splendour. Every centimetre is saturated in history.
Slap in the heart of America, land-locked Missouri is the gateway between the nation's east and west. It borders no less than eight states: Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
The mega-crossroads contains two mighty rivers. One, the Mississippi, defines the eastern boundary of the state. The other, the Missouri, runs west to east, linking the state's two largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis.
The Malaysian island of Penang, set off the peninsular mainland's northwestern coast, is a classic multicultural mix and well worth a visit. Nations ranging from India to Holland have made their mark on the island. This history is reflected in the island’s eclectic social scene, its mosaic of temples that represent every faith you can think of, exotic gardens, and its rich choice of food.
The culinary scene in George Town is laidback and approachable with food stalls and hole-in-the-wall joints selling fresh piquant fare. Take your pick from Indian, Chinese, Thai, Korean and Malaysian — which is like 15 cuisines fused together. Diversity permeates the fabric of Penang. Temples of many faiths, jungle hikes, cozy cafes, secluded beaches, and a lively art scene all contribute to the cultural landscape. The island’s nickname “Pearl of the Orient” seems too one dimensional. With all the colorful cultures and histories reflected here, perhaps “Prism of the Orient” would be more suitable.
Since the 2000 Olympics, Sydney city has climbed in cost and faded from fashion. Still, the Australian city retains some formidable attractions – not least the world’ most attractive harbour network.
Any ride on a chunky green ferry integrated into the public transport system beats the bus by a mile.
Some observers dispute its existence. Like Scotland's suspiciously camera-shy Loch Ness Monster, the turtle of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi's heart is elusive: a fleeting creature intertwined with myth and speculation.
Still, almost certainly, some turtle occupies the picturesque, willow-fringed lake that serves as the city's cultural hub. A smattering of photographs supports the notion.