This is really the theme of slow travel - of marinade tourism. Everybody looks at the same thing but what you see depends on what you have brought to the table.
An example of this, I did my homework on Ephesus when we planned to travel to Turkey. And so, we saw the home of Mary, the mother of Jesus, St. Paul preaching in the Roman theatre, St. John the Apostle with Mary walking the streets and supporting the early Christian communities, Cleopatra walking in the main street, the magnificent houses of the rich, Romans and ancient Greeks walking among what was their city at different times converging at certain moments in the public bath after their slaves have warmed the seats, English imperialists building railways to access the great marbles and scuttling off with them back to England.
If we have not prepared, we would just have seen a jumble of old ruins, broken stones and shuffling tourists.
Another experience was in South Africa. How much more South Africa meant to us when we steeped ourselves in in the process. As we roam Capetown, we did it with the Boers as we read their tale in Michener's, The Covenant. We read a vibrant tale of people living what is now history.
Planning our trip to Penang, I just finished Amitav Ghosh with interesting characters set in the sub-continent and I look forward to see traces of what Malaya was then. We even booked ourselves in the Eastern and Oriental Hotel established in 1885 by the Sarkies Brothers. Maybe, our memory can go back as far back to the time when Rudyard Kipling stayed there.