As the mercury flirted with 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity approached 100 percent during our July visit to Hanoi, we strolled past the long, snaking line of domestic tourists waiting to view Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body in his tomb. Instead, we bypassed his former palace and explored the stilt house where he used to live. Just as the heat was about to knock us down for the count, we found a place selling coconut popsicles, served by a man behind a napkin dispenser that proclaimed, “Work is glory. Happiness to everybody.”
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
Penang, a turtle-shaped island in the Straits of Malacca, is anchored by the provincial capital of George Town, Malaysia’s second-largest city (population 1.25 million). Founded in 1786 by Capt. Francis Light of the British East India Company, George Town is also one of Asia’s largest and bestpreserved colonial trading ports. George Town’s inner city of colorful shop houses, street markets, godowns, docks, churches, temples and mosques — a downtown of no fewer than 1,700 historic sites — has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008. When George Town’s multicultural treasures mix with Penang’s golden-sand beaches and the island’s reputation as Malaysia’s food paradise, any time off from business has to be filled with pleasurable pursuits.