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Shopping! For clothes! And more clothes! And food! And then drinking! And then more clothes! EVEN AT 3 AM!!!! It's touted as the world's largest fashion market, and it goes on until the wee hours. Not to be missed.
Beautiful women, fast cars, shiny buildings and money -- that's Gangnam. It's also one of the city's pre-eminent pleasure zones, and an awesome place to hang out, shop, or party.
You don't come to Blu Bar, on the 36th floor of the Shangri-la Hotel, for the drinks. You come for the view. With its tremendous views over Darling Harbour, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge, this is arguably the city's best spot for a sunset drink, and an awesome place to take visitors. The drinks themselves are, of course, predictably exorbitant, and it can be hard getting a table at peak time, when the bar is awfully crowded.
Sydney may be a gorgeous city, but few visitors note it as a destination with dazzling high culture. As such, it may come as no surprise that Sydney's finest art museum isn't a museum at all, but this gallery of contemporary Chinese art in the Chippendale neighborhood near Central Station. Offering everything from painting to photography to sculpture and video installations, the exhibitions here are always thought-provoking, edgy and top-notch. The cafe and gift-shop in the lobby are also a thoroughly nifty place to have a cup of tea or pick up an interesting gift. Entry is free.
Orchard Road is Singapore's shopping ground-zero, and the spot to buy clothes, electronics, shoes or anything else under the sun (though shopping in Sing isn't the bargain it once was!). Otherwise, it's the city centre, clean and well-connected, with good restaurants and plenty of touristas.
Korea's most colorful fish market, the sprawling lanes and stalls of Jagalchi may smell pretty bad, but if it swims and is even remotely edible, you'll find it here. Buy a fish and have it cooked to order in the 2nd-floor restaurants, or else simply buy a fried or grilled fish from the stalls at the far end of the lanes.
A bit more upscale compared to southern beaches like Unawatuna and Mirissa, with less of the hassle found in especially the former of those places. Also reasonably close to Columbo, Bentota makes a good choice for families or those short on time.
Want to experience the surface of the moon without having to leave Earth's atmosphere? Pack your best pair of lungs and have a walk down into the cinder desert of Halekala on the lovely and otherworldly Sliding Sands Trail. Being above the clouds amidst the austere palette of earth-hues is one of the best experiences on Maui, and not to be missed. Be forewarned that you're going to notice the climb back up -- going from sea level to hiking at this altitude is serious work.
The yearly pilgrimage to the holy Shiva cave at Amarnath, two days' walk into the mountains from the roadheads at Pahalgam and Baltal in western Kashmir, might just be one of India's most unforgettable experiences. Though more than half a million Hindu pilgrims from all over India make the arduous trek over 4000m+ mountain passes over a month each June/July, few, if any, foreign tourists do. It's an experience that, being Kashmir, does have its security issues, but if you can accept the minor risks involved, you won't find a more genuine or amazing spiritual experience in India.
Darjeeling is the original Indian hill station, a spot where English-colonial governors and public servants used to go to escape the heat of the West Bengal plains that smothered the administrative capital of Calcutta. These days, of course, it's got the classic "concrete boxes on steep hillsides" vibe of most Indian hill stations, but with great in-season views of the eastern Himalaya, it's certainly a place worth visiting, with less of a stoner/backpacker scene than Manali or Shimla. It might be touristy, but sometimes good things are.
Located in the suburbs of Johannesburg, this sprawling botanic garden is gorgeous, complete with a waterfall, beautiful lawns for lounging, walking trails and a native plant garden. With a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch, this is one of the loveliest places to spend a morning or afternoon while in Johannesburg.
Yes, Publika is a luxury mall in the suburbs. If you can get past that fact, however, it's a mighty fine place to spend an afternoon out of the heat, with the cool Art Row of design and fine-art stalls based on a nifty pop-up concept, plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes, and some of KL's toniest and most beautiful people.
A part of Australia's complex of UNESCO-listed World Heritage convict sites, Cockatoo Island (yes, there are cockatoos, but where in Sydney DOESN'T have them?) makes a cool excursion into Sydney Harbour. Rich in natural beauty and several eras of history, it's a place that both nature lovers and students of the past will dig. Arts and music festivals are also a regular feature here, if your visit is timed right.
A lovely, moderate 10k walk from Manly to the Spit Bridge (or vice-versa), this hike closely following the harbour coastline offers gorgeous views out over the middle harbour and a peek into some of the surprisingly unspoiled corners of Australia's largest city. A perfect way to get away from the tourist crowds at Circular Quay and see what really makes Sydney so special.
*The* quintessential long-haul train journey, the three routes of the Trans-Siberian Railway (Heading from Moscow to Vladivostok and Moscow to Beijing via either Mongolia or Manchuria) are, simply put, a must. Offering views of some of the remotest and most starkly beautiful places on Earth, this is a true cultural experience as well, giving unvarnished insight into real life for people living far off the tourist trail (even if only in stops at isolated platforms!). It's also a great bargain, running just $650 USD to $880 USD per person for a comfortable 4-berth kupe cabin for six nights of awesome travel. This cannot be recommended highly enough.