When tin miners settled on the Klang River in the 1850s, they dubbed their shantytown “Kuala Lumpur,” meaning “muddy river mouth.” Just 150 years later the name, now synonymous with Southeast Asia’s future, conjures images of the rocket-shaped Petronas Twin Towers, symbols of Kuala Lumpur’s rapid ascent from river encampment to global city.
The Islands of Tahiti are among the most beautiful and sought-after vacation destinations in the world. The endless images of overwater bungalows with Bora Bora’s majestic peak towering over waters of every shade of blue have an intrinsic pull. But with 118 islands and atolls to explore, there is so much more to this spectacular region of the Pacific.
From the bridge of a cruise ship in the Strait of Malacca, the Swedish captain gazes ambivalently toward the dark green shoreline of the Malay Peninsula. We are five miles offshore, heading from Penang to Port Kelang on the final leg of an Asian cruise.