Mauritius is the most accessible island in the Indian Ocean - a tropical paradise akin to Maui or Martinique but more budget-traveller friendly. Though nestled up alongside Africa, it's actually more influenced by its British and French ties and predominantly Indian workforce. Few who come here ever leave disappointed - the lively and warm people, the relaxed vibes and the music of everyday life are likely to leave an even greater impression on any visitor than even the most sumptuous palmfringed beaches, luxurious hotels and crystal-clear waters.
Singapore has traded in its rough-and-ready opium dens and pearl luggers for towers of concrete and glass, and its steamy rickshaw image for cool efficiency and spotless streets, but you can still recapture the colonial era with a Singapore Sling under the languorous ceiling fans at Raffles Hotel. At first glance, Singapore appears shockingly modern and anonymous, but this is an undeniably Asian city where Chinese, Malay and Indian traditions from feng shui to ancestor worship create part of the everyday landscape - colourful contrasts that bring the city to life.