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Carolyn O'Donnell
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Freelance travel writer who's been translated into Danish. She's hot and itchy so you don't have to be at

Entries by Carolyn O'Donnell

Penang Continues to Make the Most of Its Heritage

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 12:50 PM

Installation at The Star Pitt Street. The building was originally an opium depot

Heritage and huge meals have been an inseparable duo in Penang since 2008 when George Town (with Melaka) received its UNESCO listing, and more visitors started to appreciate the state...

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Bobby Chinn's Love Affair With Fish Sauce

(2) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 10:45 AM

He's cooked for Bill Clinton and Bob Dylan, but celebrity chef Bobby Chinn is probably best known as the lively presenter of World Cafe Asia, and is one of very few who could keep an audience hanging on every word during a monologue about fish sauce....

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Island Life Reveals Relaxed Side of Malaysia

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 11:05 AM


I've never held a fishing rod before, let alone do whatever you do with one. Though the guess is, all going well, that what I should do is catch a fish. No one is holding their breath, however, because I don't...

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Bali: It's All About the Beach

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 10:51 AM

Kuta Beach: Sun, surfing and red flags that are just for decoration

Talk to Bali regulars -- and some go back, year after year -- and they'll describe how they went North, or West, or East, but they always end up coming...

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Bangkok Travel: Eating is the Entertainment

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 3:16 PM

Sparkling by night: The Chao Phraya River as seen from Lebua at the State Tower.

With five establishments from Bangkok featuring on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list, there is no shortage of great places to eat in the...

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Bangkok Travel: Consuming the East

(8) Comments | Posted October 20, 2013 | 12:14 AM

Downstairs at Badmotel. This new bar attracts a fashionable crowd

As a frequenter of the Big Mango I have explored its juicy center fairly thoroughly -- more thoroughly than people I've known who have actually lived there. Even so, it's...

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Taiping, Malaysian Town of Heavenly Peace

(1) Comments | Posted September 25, 2013 | 9:41 PM


Taiping was founded in violence, which is ironic given that its attractions today are of a gentle nature. Blessed with the first and finest gardens in Malaysia, the British presided over this former tin mining settlement's glory days and though overlooked in...

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Going for Gold in Family Friendly Brunei (PHOTOS)

(2) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 11:45 PM

It was a dark tropical night and we were drifting backwards in the Temburong River as the driver gunned the engine of the longboat. He revved it hard and we shot forward for a third attempt at clearing the rocks.

The water was only inches deep, so we could...

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Hungry Ghosts Are Sated and Stimulated in Penang

(3) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 3:56 PM

The Gates of Hell are open and peckish spirits from the Underworld are wandering about. This can only mean one thing: it's time for the Hungry Ghost Festival.

Hungry Ghosts is a traditional Chinese month-long event, and the Straits Chinese who...

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Bali: Getting Culture and a Tan by the Pool

(4) Comments | Posted August 5, 2013 | 6:14 PM

In a recent issue of the magazine NOW! Bali - Life On The Island, one of its writers was despondent that many tourists chose to lounge by the pool rather than seek out Bali's cultural attractions. Granted, the pool is an undoubtedly important element for most people vacationing...

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Ubud's Mastery in Art of Tourism

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2013 | 9:32 PM

Now here's a challenge: visit Bali's cultural center of Ubud and not see any art. Creativity is everywhere here, from pura (temples) to palaces, galleries to gardens, with shops and handicrafts and lovingly decorated shrines. In this village there is a sense that beauty is cherished,...

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The Real Bali: Greet, Wave, Woof

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 7:10 PM

Some people believe Elizabeth Gilbert and her memoir of self-discovery in which she traveled to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of inspiration to write Eat, Pray, Love has ruined Bali, in particular Ubud, the cultural village where the author hung out with a medicine man...

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Cafés and Cocktails Amid Penang's Colonial Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 10:37 AM

When Georgetown received its UNESCO listing in 2008, this reignited the world's interest in the tropical island of Penang and its diverse cultural heritage. While the capital's historic shophouses and colonial architecture remain timeless attractions, increased tourism is changing Georgetown, as appreciation of the old encourages investment in...

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Bangkok Travel: Soothing Away Stress in the Big Mango

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 5:37 PM

Thailand is rightly famous for massage. On the street, on the beach, in the night markets -- massage is available everywhere. In touristy areas it is difficult to walk down the street without being accosted by Thai women desperate to manipulate your pressure points (in the nicest possible way).


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Part Two: Diary Of A Mad Meditator

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 9:30 AM

My experience of doing a Vipassana course as taught by SN Goenka. The goal of Vipassana is to "purify the mind, to eliminate the tensions and negativities that make us miserable." Read part one of this story here.

A 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat with...

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On The Vipassana Trail, A Journey Within

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 7:00 AM

In Goa four years ago, an Indian with a shaved head first told me about Vipassana. Clutching a vodka tonic and a cigarette, he talked enthusiastically about his annual 10-day retreat of silence and meditation. He was a bit vague as to the meaning it had for his spiritual and...

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Napoleon's Role in Shaping Penang as Key Player in World Trade

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 9:36 AM


Marcus Langdon in George Town: He is regarded as the leading authority on Penang's early history under the East India Company

If the British East India Company existed today, it would be a billion-dollar mega-corporation. Formed by a group of London-based...

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Captivating Wayanad, A Spicy Forest Hideaway In North Kerala

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 6:00 AM

Wayanad became a district just over 30 years ago, but according to archaeological evidence, the forests in this northeastern tip of Kerala have been inhabited for more than 3,000 years.

Laid-back Kerala didn't come into existence itself until 1956, though thanks to the value it...

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Bangkok Travel: Amid Thailand's Hustle And Bustle

(1) Comments | Posted February 10, 2013 | 9:15 AM

Despite what some might regard as an overabundance of traffic and concrete, Bangkok has so many good things to offer on an urban stopover. Geared to provide whatever comforts are desired, it's easy to get around with loads of shopping, great street food, Old City sights and when night falls,...

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Lakeside Wildlife Haven And Raj Opulence In South India

(2) Comments | Posted January 16, 2013 | 6:00 AM

The leopard was waiting for us. As the jeep rumbled closer, the big cat rippled to his feet, loped across the front of the vehicle and ambled into the bushes. The spotted beast didn't return, but none of us on board will ever forget him.

Despite a number of hopeful...

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