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Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.
There are 2,000 years of history in Cologne, and visitors here will find everything from Roman towers to Gothic churches to fine examples of modern architecture. Cologne has a variety of museums, too—check out the Museum of Applied Art, the Museum Ludwig and, if you have a sweet tooth, the Chocolate Museum. Be forewarned, though—the gift shop at the latter will utterly ruin your diet.
Famed throughout Asia for its heady mix of eastern cultures, Penang Island is Malaysia’s prime melting pot. Roadside vendors serve some of the world’s best street food; its national parks offer white-sand beaches and wildlife; and UNESCO-listed George Town is full of colorful heritage houses.
The beauty and rich history of George Town keeps tourists flocking all year round. George Town offers views of the famous Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Kapitan Keling Mosque and many of the capital's golden crowned Buddhist temples. With museums showcasing the country's rich-historical treasures, restaurants that offer classic Malaysian cuisine and dozens of shopping malls, there's guaranteed to be something for everyone to see.
The cultural hub of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is visually defined by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which, at 88 stories high, are the tallest twin buildings in the world and a vision of modern architecture. On the flip side, the Sri Mahamariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, its façade a colorful totem pole of iconography. Shopping at the Central Market is a joyful experience that involves haggling, handicrafts, and happiness.
A bargain shopper’s delight is just across the causeway in Malaysia, with numerous bus and train services available to ferry travelers across the border. The largest and most popular malls are easily accessible from the checkpoint and offer a blend of name-brand and knockoff shopping. Dig deeper and you’ll appreciate the city’s differences, good and bad, from Singapore, though rumors of rampant crime are overblown. Museums and places of worship abound, along with good dining for any budget. A new premium outlet mall opened just outside the city in December 2011, and keep an eye on the new Legoland Malaysia, slated to open at the end of 2012.
Where else can you find an azalea-framed volcano to climb, a sisterhood of deep-divers, and ancient stone statues on which to make wishes? Jeju Island. A favourite with newlyweds (and K-drama fans), this popular retreat is also home to miles of golden beaches, winding coastal trails, and Jeju Waterworld, the area’s largest water park. No matter what your fancy, one thing is for certain: a day of sightseeing isn’t complete without enjoying some of the isle’s delicious raw seafood and famed barbecued black pork.