Singapore - everyone's first dragon-dance of Asian excitement in the 60s and 70s - lost most of its raffish charm when draconian legislation cleansed it of such evils as long hair, chewing gum and smoking in public. It became sterilised not only of its dagginess but of its appeal, and most travellers took to changing planes at Changi Airport rather than opting for a Singapore stopover. Well, it's time for a rethink, jetsetters. These days it's not only clean, safe and efficient, but elegant and stylish, funky and fashionable and at the cutting edge of creative design and technology. Orchard Road is a designer shoppers' paradise, while the buzzing Clarke Quay area is a bar and nightlife hot spot.
Highlight Diverse ethnic quarters add to the colour and excitement.
Buy Habanero-hot designs from the Red Dot Design Museum.
Eat Black pepper crab.
Highlight Ride the Chao Phraya River Express ferry as an antidote to the city clamour.
Buy Edgy designs in Siam Square boutiques.
Eat Pad Thai from a pavement kitchen.
You have to shake your head at the new invasion of Vietnam. Its peasant army which defeated the French colonial army and outlasted the Americans did so with a belief in egalitarianism. They plundered the wealthy to feed the poor. Now, new names have marched into Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana - they're all here, and they've helped gentrify the city's aggressive capitalism which used to be a bit like a bayonet charge. Generally, though, the pace of life is just as manic - eating, drinking and shopping being regarded not only as time out but also fierce competition. It's a brash and bustling city, but there's something invigorating about its energy.
Highlight The peaceful sanctuary of the Duong Dong Du temple.
Buy Anti-American propaganda posters and T-shirts.
Eat Durian ice-cream.
Highlight The spectacular Leeum Samsung Museum of Art - the architecture is as stunning as the exhibits.
Buy Close copies (as opposed to fakes) of current catwalk creations at Migliore, a multistorey mall of more than 2000 stores.
Eat Japanese-style oden dishes from one of the many fashionable oden bars.
Highlight An evening cruise on the Huangpu River to get a dramatic perspective of the diverse architecture is highly recommended for the first-time visitor.
Buy Art and imaginative craft from the converted factories along Suzhou Creek.
Eat Steamed xiaolongbao dumplings.
Highlight The temples of Asakusa and the Meiji-jing shrine in Harajuku.
Buy Anything at all from the astonishing Nihonbashi branch of Mitsukoshi, the oldest and largest department store in Japan.
Eat Monjayaki, a half-pancake, half-pizza dish of Tokyo origin.
One of the world's most fascinating destinations, Abu Dhabi shows its neighbour Dubai the value of restraint. Development is breathtaking here and while a place that 50 short years ago was just a few hundred palm huts, a handful of coral buildings and the Ruler's Fort now has a Manhattan skyline, traditional culture is holding its own against the pressures of globalisation. Abu Dhabi is the name of both the capital city of the United Arab Emirates and the largest of seven emirates that make up the country. Sensitive planning has enhanced the environment with parks and tree-lined streets a feature of the city. And the palpable sense of history and heritage magnifies its appeal.
Highlight Join the locals promenading the dramatic Corniche.
Buy Antique silver jewellery.
Eat Fresh seafood at the Al Dhafra docks.
Still referred to as Bombay by locals, Mumbai is right up in the premier division of the world's glamour capitals. Safe in the knowledge that its Indian-ness can never become diluted, the city is now as cappuccino as it is chai; as Bulgari as it is bangles and beads. A decade ago, stopover tourists would look for an escape to the past, but these days they revel in the current. Don't, however, miss the indelible landmarks in favour of the boutiques and bars of the Bollywood set. Here, in the richest city of all India, the most spectacular building is a railway station - the old Victoria Terminus. A stone's throw away is the Gateway of India arch, both better value than a designer-label bargain.
Highlight Catch the late late Bollywood screening at a neighbourhood cinema.
Buy Exotic, colourful fabrics from Mahatma Gandhi Road.
Eat Channa and bhaturas at the super-popular Cream Centre on Marine Drive.
Honolulu was hot when it was fashionable to sit around pink hotels consuming blue drinks with yellow umbrellas. Then not when it wasn't. Now tourism is booming again and the eight million tourists a year aren't there just to ride the Banzai Pipeline. Once regarded as America's year-round beach, Honolulu is now respected as a strategic commercial link between California and Asia and business is suddenly as important as recreation. The area around the harbour has been transformed from seedy to stylish, and the latest hip neighbourhood is Chinatown where American-Asian fusion knows no bounds.
Highlight The recently renovated landmark Hawaii Theatre.
Buy Waikiki tropicana beachwear.
Eat Pineapple custard malasada doughnuts.
Highlight A walking tour of the medieval Old Town.
Buy Antiques and vintage toys from specialty shops between Bahnhofstrasse and the river.
Eat Bratwurst, rösti and mustard at Caffè & Bar Bellevue.