Meet the Team: Lisa, HA Destination Manager

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What’s your role at Holiday Architects?

I’m a travel expert designing holidays to beautiful Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. (How lucky am I?!)


Why do you love travel?

The memories of my first trip when I was just a little girl are still fresh in my mind; travel has always excited me. The buzz of expectation, arriving at the airport, the noise of the aircraft, and the bright duty-free shops (everyone knows I can’t resist a duty-free bargain)! Then the excitement of boarding the aircraft knowing that I’m on my way to either somewhere I’ve been before and knowing how much I love it, or somewhere new wondering what it will be like, experiencing new adventures and culinary delights.

Locking those memories away is so special to me. The way I feel when I talk about my travel memories is a bit addictive – there really is nothing like travel to stir my passion.


How did you come to work in travel?

When I was growing up I knew I wanted to work, live and breathe travel – there is no better feeling in the world for me than when I am going away somewhere or talking about travel.

I studied travel at college and started working behind the scenes in a sales support role, before taking the step into a sales role. I’d already been lucky enough to travel extensively by this time, so felt confident and comfortable to advise clients on where to see and what to experience on their holidays.

I love nothing more than matching a client’s wishes to an itinerary, feeling their excitement about the trip, and then hearing all about how much they loved it on their return.


What do you love doing when you’re not designing holidays?

I’m not one for sitting still – I adore exercise as well as music, and combining the two is even better. I love walking, running, HIIT sessions and Zumba, all done with music surrounding me.

I love animals and have a cat who very much wants all the attention. I would love to fill the house with multiple cats and dogs one day!

I also love cooking and once I have some yummy food to feast on, you’ll often find me with the obligatory glass of wine in hand, chatting to friends with my records on.


On that note! We’re big foodies here at HA. What would be your dream three-course dinner?

Cheese, cheese and more cheese please! Cheese soufflé to start, followed by a proper Italian style pizza, with Cheese and biscuits to finish. Oh, or would I go lemon tart? That’s a difficult one.


What’s your karaoke tune?

Without a doubt ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner, what an absolute belter of a tune! Can’t promise I will belt it out quite the same, but I’ll give it a good go.


Meet the Team - Lisa JS - Halong Bay, Vietnam



Tell us more about Vietnam…

What makes it special?

It’s hard to pick just one thing. Vietnam is such a diverse country, but the food definitely is one of my favourite things! Everything is so fresh and tasty, and so cheap too!


What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

Without doubt the Saigon by Night: Street Food and Scooter excursion. Zipping through the streets of Saigon on 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.



Where’s your favourite place to visit in Vietnam?

This has to be beautiful Hoi An. From the lantern-lit streets and boats on the river at night to the green and scenic paddy fields, and the beautiful beaches only 7km from the town. For somewhere that’s relatively compact, it offers so many different types of scenery.


Tell us something most people don’t know about Vietnam

Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of culinary black pepper accounting for 60% of the world’s trade and roughly 45% of the EU!




Tell us more about Cambodia…

What makes it special?

Cambodia has so much to offer, but the one thing that really stands out in my mind is how friendly the people are. Also, I can’t not mention the iconic Angkor complex, which has countless temples to visit not just the iconic and amazing Angkor Wat. They really are jaw-dropping temples, all different to each other too, so make sure you explore further than just Angkor itself!


What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

The beautiful beach at The Royal Sands on Koh Rong Island. Desert Island vibes eat your heart out!


Where’s your favourite place to visit in Cambodia?

Has to be Siem Reap – a beautiful leafy green city set on the river. Whilst it is the base for visiting the Angkor Temples, it has much more to offer! It has such a lovely feel to it and is so easy to navigate on foot.


Tell us something most people don’t know about Cambodia

Cambodia is known to have a talking gecko! The Tokay gecko, a large green lizard found in Cambodia, is known for its distinctive loud chirp. Locals believe that hearing the gecko chirp seven times in a row is a sign of good luck, even predicting who you might marry! So, keep an ear out when exploring Cambodia’s jungles, you might just get a lucky omen!



Tell us more about Sri Lanka…

What makes it special?

How can you not fall in love with Sri Lanka? I love how diverse it is – so much coastline with it being an island, the National Parks and wildlife, the jaw-dropping and breathtaking scenery of the tea country (I have honestly never seen anything like it), the food, the people, palm trees and beautiful greenery everywhere you look. The list is endless!


What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

The most breathtaking train journey I have ever taken from Nuwara Eliya to Haputale. Everyone needs a Sri Lanka tea country train journey on their bucket list. Wow, wow and more wows. It’s hard to put into words just how beautiful it is. I’m even getting goosebumps thinking about it as I type this!


Where’s your favourite place to visit in Sri Lanka?

The Tea Country! The scenery really is something else; I don’t think my eyes have ever witnessed anything so beautiful.


Tell us something most people don’t know about Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is home to one of the world’s largest populations of leopards. There are more leopards per until of land in Yala than almost anywhere else on Earth!



If you’d like to chat to Lisa or any of the rest of team HA about your next holiday, give us a call on 01242 253 073! We’re a team packed full of first-hand knowledge, experiences and stories. We’d love to help.