A short plane ride brings visitors from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok to the island known as the “Pearl of the Orient.” Malaysia’s smallest province, only 200 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, includes a sliver of mainland. Primarily, though, Penang consists of a 112-square-mile island, a microcosm of vacation facilities providing a wealth of choices for studying the local culture, hiking through jungle trails, basking on the beach, sampling diverse cuisine — or partaking of all four.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
Each day of my eight-day jaunt through Greece brought me something different: from island vistas to mountainous landscapes, from scuba diving along the coastline to sampling locally produced prosciutto high in the mountains, and from the modern version of history at the Acropolis Museum to the ancient ruins of Delphi. Perhaps the true delight of a Greek experience is that you never know what wonder will next unfold before your eyes.