A trip to Vietnam may well include a visit to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and Hue. Hanoi, in the north, is the political and intellectual leader. Saigon, in the south, bustles with commerce. Hue, in the middle, was the former imperial capital.
The people of Hong Kong, following the transfer of political control from Britain to China, resembled the song birds in cages so popular in China. The transition went well, and now the Hong Kong song birds are comeplling voices in the new China century.
China exploration may include Beijing, the modern capital; Xian, the ancient capital; and Shanghai, the dynamic port city. Beijing fascinates because of its Forbidden City, just as Xian intrigues with its 2,000 buried terracotta warriors. Shanghai shows the modern exuberance of China, with its robust and prosperous economy.
A South Pacific cruise can take you to some better-known islands, such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Rarotonga. The cruise may also touch upon some more-remote islands, such as Atiu, Aitutaki, and Mopelia.
Easter Island, off the coast of Chile, presents haunting sculptures, called moai, that celebrated ancestors and became a symbol of local pride. The island, called Rapa Nui, saw a collapse of its human culture because the building of these sculptures eventually degraded the environment.
Though the island of Bali ranks unquestionably as the first place of interest to a traveler considering Indonesia, there are many appealing further areas to explore, starting with the great central-Java culture around Yogyakarta and Borobudur and the Muslim island of Lombok, adjacent to Bali.
Bali, an island in the spice trade archipelago of old, offers the spiritual palate of modern North American travelers something in high demand: a celebrative sense of life and a feeling of community with comrades.