Andy and Rachel South Africa memory

Travel Tales: Our Team’s Favourite Memories from 2023

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Here at Holiday Architects, we’re proud to be a team of travel enthusiasts who live and breathe the wanderlust spirit. Each member of our travel-loving team shares a deep-rooted passion for exploring new destinations, discovering hidden gems, and creating unforgettable travel memories. We believe that travel has the power to enrich lives, broaden horizons, and do real good. It’s this shared love for adventure that makes us the united bunch of friends we are – and inspires us to design exceptional experiences for our clients, of course.


Honeymooning through South East Asia

Erin – HA Destination Manager: Malaysia, Borneo & Vietnam 

Cambodia honeymoon erin favourite moment

“My travel highlight from 2023 has got to be my own honeymoon to South East Asia in July. We started with a few days in Singapore and treated ourselves (if you can’t treat yourself on honeymoon, then when can you, eh?) to afternoon tea at Raffles. It was a real pinch-me moment, as it’s somewhere I had always wanted to go and I was not disappointed! We spent a fabulous afternoon in The Grand Lobby, just chatting, laughing and reminiscing about our wonderful wedding day the week before.

Another particularly special moment from the trip was getting to see the magnificent temples of Angkor Thom. The cloud coverage meant we didn’t experience the famous golden sunrise over Angkor Wat but the Khmer architecture appeared even more impressive against the dramatic, moody sky. The temple’s impressive symmetry and imposing structures are truly breathtaking – the perfect combination of being both completely picture-perfect and endlessly fascinating. Our visit warranted a big, fat tick on the bucket list.

We ate local, explored both on and off the beaten track and met so many wonderful people along the way. A trip of a lifetime in the true sense of the words.” Erin



Exploring Saigon by night

Lisa JS – HA Destination Manager: Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka

Vietnam highlights Lisa JS

“My favourite travel memory of 2023 has to be my research trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, but what sticks out in my mind the most is the Saigon by Night: Street Food and Scooter excursion. Zipping through the streets of Saigon riding pillion for the most amazing and exciting scooter ride. The wind in my hair, witnessing the daily life of locals and sampling different dishes was just exhilarating and the best end to my trip I could have ever hoped for.” Lisa 


A family safari through Kruger National Park, South Africa

Andy and Rachel – HA Founder and HR Manager

Andy and Rachel South Africa memory

“Andy and I are both passionate safari goers so being able to take the girls with us is such a treat – watching both of them light up with each different sighting is almost as good as what are supposed to be looking at. This year we went back to our beloved South Africa. The Timbavati, in the Greater Kruger is such an amazing part of the world and seeing such an array of wildlife – from hippo spotting to lion cubs playing and a million creatures in between is exciting (and the rangers make it educational without the girls knowing). We’ve booked to go back next year already.” Rachel



Going green at HA

Emma – HA Sustainability Lead and Destination Manager: Morocco, Oman, Lebanon and Israel

Carbon Offsetting at Holiday Architects

“I’m proud to have moved HA’s sustainability efforts forward this year, beginning with our carbon offsetting initiative, which is now available in 10 of our destinations. There will definitely be more added very soon into 2024 too! Clients can now opt to carbon offset their trip, and these funds are put towards a Gold Standard project in Uganda that gives people in remote villages clean cookstoves, replacing old wood-burning methods. We are also working to offer (even) more local interactions for our clients within our itineraries (I created this Go Local in Morocco sample itinerary to do just that!) where we can further promote cross-cultural understanding as you travel and beautiful moments of connection.” Emma


Heart-warming client feedback from Costa Rica

Dawn – HA Destination Manager: Costa Rica and Peru

Costa Rica family holiday

“I was so proud of a wonderful bit of feedback I had from a lovely client after their family holiday to Costa Rica back in January. It’s continued to give me the warm and fuzzies all year! Here’s a little snippet of the best bits: “Hi Dawn, We are so extremely happy with our trip in Costa Rica. We couldn’t have planned the trip without your big help. I am so thankful. Of course I will recommend HA to my friends and family. Now you have planned a trip for me to both Jordan, Oman and Costa Rica and I am sure this was not my last trip with you guys.” They sent this wonderful photo too!” Dawn


Snorkelling around the Dimaniyat Islands, Oman

Helen – HA Head of Sales

Helen snorkelling in Oman

“Whilst in Muscat, Oman’s capital, I took a snorkelling trip out to the Dimaniyat Islands, a protected marine reserve about 45 minutes off the coast. On our second snorkel I spent some time pottering around in the shallows looking at all the fish and a huge moray eel that was hiding between some rocks. I was about to swim further out when a green turtle suddenly appeared by my feet and gently cruised past underneath me. It then turned to seemingly take a look at me and floated there for a while, probably wondering what on earth this human was doing in its backyard, before swimming off to continue its day. It was an absolute joy to spend a quality couple of minutes with this curious little creature.” Helen


Sharing the experience of a lifetime in Uganda

Cat – HA Destination Manager: South Africa, Uganda, Jordan & Oman 

Cat highlight of 2023 - Uganda adventure

“One of my standout memories has to be taking Ian (my husband who had only been to Africa once before when we went on honeymoon to South Africa, just 6 months previous) to Uganda to walk amongst habituated chimpanzees. Now you’d think the gorillas would be the standout moment and don’t get me wrong that was a pretty special experience, however walking for an hour amongst a family of chimpanzees, as they went about their daily lives; realising just how alike they are to us humans in personality was such a heartwarming and pinch me moment. A moment that Ian cherishes and constantly brings up when we talk about Uganda.” Cat



A day of local adventures in Sri Lanka

Rebecca – HA Destination Manager: Sri Lanka, The Maldives and Morocco

Mask making in Sri Lanka - Rebecca's 2023 highlight

“Okay so for me, my absolute highlight of 2023 has to be waking up at the incredible Haritha Villas in Sri Lanka. We started our day of experiences with the Ambalangoda mask painting, where we learned the traditional craft from wonderfully friendly locals. Then we hopped on a boat for the Madu Ganga river safari. This excursion was action-packed, we visited a tiny island dedicated to the production of cinnamon and were even blessed by a monk! The day ended with watching the most magical sunset across Balapitiya beach at Kumu Beach. Such a special day, and definitely one of my favourite moments from my adventures around Sri Lanka.” Rebecca


Befriending the locals in Ecuador

Louise – HA Destination Manager: Latin America

Lou highlight of 2023 Ecuador

“It was such a pleasure to revisit beautiful Ecuador this summer. Of course, the wildlife in Galapagos was completely jaw-dropping and brought me so very many memorable moments. But what really stuck with me most was the equally spectacular and friendly people of mainland Ecuador, which is often less explored. I had an incredible time in the Andes in the Otavalo region, seeing a condor rehabilitation programme, horse-riding, enjoying a bit of retail therapy in the gorgeous market and discovering a local café in Cotacachi that sold the best ever hot chocolate and bizcochas with dulce de leche (caramel sauce). I think we were a bit of an attraction for the locals too in that cafe. It has to be said that dunking a stick of mozzarella-like cheese in the hot chocolate so it melts and then you spoon it out, was a new one on me!” Louise


Sharing the love of travel

Kim – HA Client Experience


Kim top highlight

” The highlight of my year has to be taking my baby on his first ever flight (with giraffey of course!). I can’t wait for my little travel buddy to get as excited as I do about seeing new places and share the passion of travel with me.” Kim


A first-time visit to beautiful Sri Lanka

Suzy – HA Concierge

Suzy Sri Lanka

“My highlight of 2023 has to be my amazing research trip to Sri Lanka, a country I’d always wanted to visit. I’ll never forget the breathtaking views from the top of Sigiriya Rock, having the chance to make my own delicious Coconut Roti on an open fire, and spotting the elusive Sloth Bear in Wilpattu National Park. It’s given me a peek into the incredible diversity of this beautiful country, and a strong desire to return there with my own family.” Suzy


Watching the sunrise over Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

Ronnie – HA Client Experience

Ronnie Borneo Highlight

“My highlight of 2023? It has to be my recent trip to Malaysia and Borneo, what an amazing part of the world! From the wildlife to the cuisine to the people, everything about the island is truly wonderful. There are not many things I’ll get out of bed at 04:30 for, but an early morning hike to see the sun rise over Mt Kinabalu was certainly worth it!” Ronnie



Big cat sightings in Botswana

Kirsty – HA Destination Manager: Southern AfricaHoliday Architects_Kirsty highlight of 2023 Botswana

“It’s got to be returning to beautiful Botswana after far too long away, and spotting three cheetah brothers and also a mother leopard and her cub together in the bush, such a special sighting. That, and all the lovely client feedback – especially from people were originally due to travel in 2020!!” Kirsty


Staying at the incredible Uga Chena Huts in Sri Lanka

Gabby – HA Marketing Manager


2023 HIGHLIGHT Sri Lanka


“My whole time in Sri Lanka earlier this year was one massive highlight. It’s so tricky to pick a favourite moment! Our stay at the phenomenal Uga Chena Huts in Yala National Park might have to take the gong though. This has to be one of the most special places I’ve ever stayed. From our stunning hut with our very own secluded private pool and sundowners by the ocean, to our private safari straight from our door and a candlelit dinner on the sand. The days we spent here are ones I’ll never forget. Plus, being big foodies, Uga Chena Huts didn’t disappoint. In fact, we were treated to a starter that we were both so besotted with – the waiter asked the chef to make us a second.” Gabby



Highlight of 2023

“My highlight for 2023 was on my Vietnam Research Trip and was in the beautiful city of Hoi An. One of the perks of using a private guide is that you get to do excursions that are unique and you often have the opportunity to meet and chat to interesting local people. On the day we did a walking tour of the Old Town, we were lucky enough to get introduced to a lovely man named Tu who made silken tofu for desserts etc. He had learnt this skill from his father who had learned from his grandfather etc and the process is simple, takes a little muscle and the results are amazing. What made the interaction such a highlight however was discovering Tu’s passion for Arsenal (my football side) and the lengthy conversation we had (with our guide interpreting) was such a joy and a reminder of how interconnected our world is.” Lisa



At Holiday Architects, we understand that planning a trip can sometimes feel overwhelming with all of the countless options and a bit of information overload. That’s where our expertise comes in handy! With years of experience under our belts, we take pride in crafting seamless travel experiences that align with your dreams and desires. So, whether you’re seeking a soul-soothing beach break, an adrenaline-pumping active escape, or authentic cultural immersion like no other, our travel-loving team is here to guide you every step of the way. Give us a call on 01242 253 073 to get the ball rolling on your next holiday today.


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