Penang, Malaysia

Superbly laid out with some sumptuous exhibits, it portrays the rich history of the town and of the many and varied peoples and cultures which have played a part in its development: Malays, Chinese, Indian, British - even Armenians. This multi-cultural heritage makes it a fascinating place to walk around. The town centre, Georgetown, is full of interesting shops and lively markets (including a night bazaar) but, although it is also Malaysias top beach resort, there is no question about Penangs major attraction: the Snake Temple. This is full of still-poisonous reptiles but they are so sedated by the temple incense that they spend all their time dozing and are - they say - no danger to visitors. Look out, too, for the Key Lok Si, the largest and reputedly the finest Buddhist Temple in south east Asia.