Taiping was founded in violence, which is ironic given that its attractions today are of a gentle nature. A relaxed place to savor leafy pleasures, it is a quiet town where the residents go about their business largely untroubled by glossy shopping malls and big tour groups.
Have you heard of Penang? If so, it's probably because you're a foodie. Often referred to as the "Food Paradise of Asia," Penang does offer amazing eats, but it also plays host to a number of other delicious experiences.
Penangites love to eat, drink and talk, and Penang is regarded as the street food capital of Malaysia. Unsurprisingly, many new ventures have revolved around increasingly sophisticated venues for chatting and snacking.
A Vipassana course is travel of a very personal kind, as it is above all a journey with the self, which may or may not involve conventional travel. If you love travel of all types, you can, as I did, combine both.
If the British East India Company existed today, it would be a billion-dollar mega-corporation. In 1786 the company wanted a suitable port of "refreshment and repair" along the valuable trade route to China, and the tropical island of Penang.
Back at our hotel, the tsunami watch was on and a security team kept watch, cellphones in hand, waiting for word from the nearby island of Langkawi, which, in the event of a tsunami, would experience the tidal wave.