I’d heard so much about how unforgettable Sri Lanka holidays can be, and as soon as I stood in front of the vast and towering Sigiriya Rock; I completely understood why. Sri Lanka is a treasure trove of natural beauty and dramatic ancient sights, one that most of the world is only recently discovering, having previously been overshadowed by mammoth backpacker and holiday destinations like India and southeast Asia.
After a steady climb up the side of the rock, we were rewarded with remarkable ruins of a lost civilisation that was built on top of the rock itself, and absolutely mesmerising views of Sri Lanka’s gorgeous landscape of tranquil river ways and endless forests. Sigirya Rock is just one of Sri Lanka’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it’s definitely the best one to begin your adventure with.
This was the start to an incredible couple of days discovering the Cultural Triangle’s hidden gems, including Dambulla’s enchanting hidden caves, Polonnaruwa’s crumbling ancient city and even embarking on a day safari to see the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants in Minneriya National Park. Being able to get up close with families of elephants in their natural habitat was truly unforgettable; we even saw little baby elephants!
While exploring the Cultural Triangle on our Sri Lanka holiday, we stayed at the Water Garden Sigiriya and I couldn’t believe how spectacular and luxurious our first accommodation was. This stunning hotel offers unrivalled views of Sigiriya Rock and we stayed in the Superior Deluxe Villa, which gave us plenty of space, a sumptuous four-poster king-sized bed and our own private plunge pool to dip into whenever we needed to escape the Sri Lankan heat!
We then journeyed to the south of Sri Lanka to the fabled Yala National Park for the next part of our adventure, as I’d heard that this park was home to the world’s most concentrated population of leopards. We embarked on twice daily safaris at both sunrise and sunset to catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures, and along the way we also saw Asian elephants, sloth bears, spotted deer and even peacocks!
Just outside of Yala National Park sat our next accommodation, the truly spectacular Wild Coast Tented Lodge. Our luxurious Cocoon Pool Suite was nested just a stones throw from soft sands of an essentially untouched beach front and boasted beautiful safari era-inspired interiors including a king-sized bed, a copper freestanding bathtub and a private pool surrounded by trees; it was absolutely incredible and nothing like anywhere I’d stayed before! It really felt authentic and part of Yala’s wild surroundings.
This gorgeous destination perfectly complimented the thrilling safaris, as we could spend our time cooling off by the pool or soaking up the sun along the virgin beachfront. If there’s one thing that really set’s them apart from other hotels, it’s how absolutely remarkable their cuisine was. Their Michelin star chef Ranil used to work at the COMO Maalifushi in the Maldives, so we knew we were in for a fantastic experience. He took on board any and all of our dietary requirements and served the most mouthwatering and delicious Sri Lankan fare we’d had so far, it was absolutely sensational.
We soon waved goodbye to beautiful Sri Lanka and touched down into paradise. As far as I could see was endless bright blue ocean waters, dotted with crystal clear turquoise lagoons that sparkled in the sunlight. I practically ran across the warm sugary white sands and past postcard-worthy swaying palm trees to dive straight into the waters; now I completely understood why these two destinations go hand-in-hand so well.
In between my treasured sunbathing sessions, my days were spent enjoying the bounty of the beautiful lagoon and ocean waters that surrounded me. At the Sun Aqua Villa Reef I embarked on snorkelling adventures across the crystal clear lagoon to swim with colourful marine fishes, sailing excursions to fishing villages and secluded white sand islets for romantic picnics, and scuba diving expeditions to see huge manta rays that were as big as me!
When I wasn't diving into the house reef and making friends with the sea creatures on my Maldives holiday, I was discovering just how many incredible experiences were waiting at the Sun Aqua Vilu Reef. I enjoyed serene yoga sessions overlooking the endless ocean waters, clinking glasses to a mouthwatering private dinner along a secluded sand bank islet, and even outdoor cinema screenings on the beach under the starry night sky!
The first half of our Maldives holiday was spent in the Deluxe Beach Villa at the Sun Aqua Vilu Reef; a gorgeous beachfront hideaway that perfect for couples seeking seclusion or a romantic Maldives honeymoon getaway. I loved waking up to postcard-worthy views from my king-sized bed, enjoying breakfast in the sunlight and walking straight off my sundeck onto the warm white sands of the beach. While staying here I couldn’t resist escaping to the airy and tranquil spa; do not leave without indulging in the Sun Aqua Signature Experience!
Some would say a visit to the Maldives is incomplete within staying in an overwater bungalow, so I decided to spend the last few nights of my Maldives holiday at the Sun Aqua Villa Reef in the Aqua Villa; arguably one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Nothing beats waking up the soothing sounds of the ocean waters, and walking out onto your private deck to find your own private plunge pool overlooking the endless turquoise lagoon waters. What really made this villa special though was the gorgeous overwater hammock, which I relaxed in everyday to watch the Maldivian sunset.