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Sri Lanka

Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, which once lured its visitors with a promise of jewels and spices. Today, it’s the new cultural hot spot.

Explore the sacred shrines of the Cultural Triangle, made up of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla, renowned for its rock cave temple. This jewel in Sri Lanka’s crown includes the magnificent cliff-top fortress of Sigiriya, known as the Lion Rock, which can be viewed from the stilted resort of Vil Uyana. 

Head to the refreshing highlands of Kandy to view the Temple of the Tooth, a reliquary for one of the Buddha’s alleged teeth. Round off your day swimming in a sea of orchids at the tranquil Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, before relaxing at The Kandy House.

The next day, wind through tropical tea plantations on one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world as you travel to Hatton. Enjoy the colonial elegance at Ceylon Tea Trails, where you can literally drink in the culture of this small island that packs punch.

Maldives

Turquoise water lapping at the gently shelving white beaches of the world’s most famous archipelago, private chalets suspended over the water – your first glimpse of the Maldives from the cabin window will reveal why this is known as the last paradise on Earth.

Escape to a world where time almost stands still, apart from the comforting rhythms of the tide and arc of the sun across the faraway horizon. You’ll soon find yourself in tune with nature on this chain of 26 atolls dotted like a string of pearls in the Arabian Sea.

Barefoot luxury is the order of the day when you stay at Huvafen Fushi. Set within its own lagoon, this romantic haven provides over-water villas complete with glass floors to watch myriad marine life pass by. The Maldives may be the lowest place in the world, but it comes top in our eyes for the ultimate beach hideaway before or after your cultural odyssey of Sri Lanka.

Flight time

Colombo to Maldives: one hour, 30 minutes