[Europe] From Norway to Switzerland by Land in 5 weeks

IMG_20170715_2111415 WEEKS from Scandinavia to Eastern Europe in S$2000+-

1. SIN – HKG [S$34] by Cathay Pacific
2. HKG – OSLO (via Vienna) by Austrian Air ZRH – HKG by Swiss Air HKG – SIN by Cathay Pacific [S$449.50 – Expedia promotion, the travelling time is only up to one month]
3. Oslo – Tromso by Norwegian Air [S$168.24 (USD119.50)] bought on last minute, single way non-promotional ticket.

Singapore → Hong Kong → Oslo (transit in Vienna for 2 hours) → Tromso, Norway → Narvik, Norway → Abisko, Sweden → Kiruna, Sweden → Rovaniemi, Finland → Helsinki, Finland → Tallinn, Estonia → Riga, Latvia → Vilnius & Trakai, Lithuania → Warsaw, Poland → Krakow, Poland → Prague & Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic → Bratislava, Slovakia → Budapest, Hungary → Krakow & Zakopane, Poland → Vienna, Austria → Zagreb, Croatia → Ljubljana & Bled, Slovenia → Venice, Italy → Milan, Italy → Zurich, Switzerland → Hong Kong → Singapore

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17/10 HKG Stay: Couchsurfing for 1 night Went to Cheung Chau (take a ferry from Central)

18/10 HKG Stay: YesInn Causeway Bay S$28.64 (near shopping district, but note that they have triple bunk bed, so if you get a bed at the bottom, you are technically sleeping on the floor, do ask and if they assign you to the bottom one, request for change to the middle or top one. The bathroom is in the room itself and is clean, the shower gel smells good). Hong Kong’s expenses in cash: HKD549.10 (S$100.84)

19/10 Flying from Hong Kong to Oslo, overnight at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen as I am catching a morning flight to Tromsø the next day.

20/10 Flying from Oslo to Tromsø. (Note: Do remember to web check-in earlier to get a window seat, the view of Norwegian fjords from the plane are simply magnificent! And I will definitely be wanted to return to Norway for this!) Stay: Tromsø Camping (S$77.75 for 2 nights, I have a friend with me in Scandinavia (and traveling alone thereafter), we have an economic cottage, they actually have 4 beds in the cottage but there are only 2 of us, so if you have more people traveling with, your costs can be further reduced.)

21/10 Tromsø, Norway Stay: Tromsø Camping Even though we didn’t see the northern lights in Tromsø, it is a beautiful town with breathtaking Arctic scenery. May consider returning in summer for the midnight sun.

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22/10 Narvik, Norway Stay: Airbnb at Narvik S$53.97 We managed to see the northern lights from the balcony of our Airbnb! Yay! (were so excited as we didn’t get to see it in Tromsø (perhaps we (I?) slept too much). And maybe we just can’t recognise it as it looks like a light grey cloud. Thanks to the host who came and knock our door to inform us. She is also kind enough to bring us to her balcony as well as picking us to and from the railway station (her place is quite an outskirt, with beautiful coastline and she has horses though). Anyway, she said they see the northern lights like almost every day. Yes, people living in Arctic will never understand why we want to visit Arctic for Aurora. Haha. Norway’s expenses in cash: NOK603 (S$100.50) Buy salmon from a supermarket and cook your own meal, salmon is cheap and fresh in Norway! Stamp: 18 NOK; Postcard: 7 NOK

23/10 Abisko, Sweden Stay: Abisko Guesthouse (590 SEK for 2 nights, pay in cash) SJ (Sweden’s train company) 3 journeys: S$98.78 Abisko is a good place for northern lights! Especially this guesthouse, just walks down to the lake next to the guesthouse, you will be shower with amazing northern lights! The owner is kind too, they lend us overall for free.

24/10 Abisko, Sweden Stay: Abisko Guesthouse

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25/10 Kiruna, Sweden Stay: Kiruna STF (SEK 320 for one night, pay in cash) Sweden’s expenses in cash: SEK603 (S$153.70) Stamp & Postcard: SEK 28 Supermarket: ICA

26/10 Rovaniemi, Finland Stay: Airbnb at Rovaniemi S$28.27

27/10 Rovaniemi, Finland VR Night train from Rovaniemi to Helsinki: S$61.51 Had a salad buffet at the café next to Rovaniemi train station for 5,00€ Supermarket: Siwa

28/10 Helsinki, Finland Ferry from Helsinki → Tallinn 25,00€ Finland’s expenses in cash: 63,90€ Stay: Red Emperor Tallinn 11,00€ Note: Eat at Kompressor when you are in Tallinn! Cheap and big sized of crepe! I had smoked salmon and it’s only 4.90€, can’t finish it and take away for breakfast the next day. Supermarket: Rimi Stamp: 1,40€; Postcard: 0.50€

29/10 Tallinn, Estonia Ecoline from Tallinn → Riga 17,00€ Tallinn’s expenses in cash: 14,74€ Stay: Riga Hostel 8,00€ (Stay here when you are in Riga! They have free milk, unlimited supply! Lol, at the hostel is just above a McDonald’s) Supermarket: Maxima

30/10 Riga, Latvia Lux express from Riga → Vilnius 16,00€ Riga’s expenses in cash: 14,74€ Stay: Hostelgate 7,50€ (Have to pay in cash, they don’t have a cc machine)

31/10 Vilnius, Lithuania Lithuania’s expenses in cash: 21,48€ Made a day trip to Trakai from Vilnius, bus ticket is 3.50€ for return Night bus (Ecolines Info Bus, a yellow bus, Malcolm said it’s a banana bus) from Vilnius → Warsaw 16,00€ Supermarket: Maxima, Iki, Rimi

1/11 Warsaw, Poland Stay: Dream Hostel 39 PLN (A brand new hostel in Warsaw, close to the Old Town, nice kitchen, comfy bunk bed with curtain (Yay for privacy!))

2/11 Krakow, Poland Polski bus from Warsaw → Krakow 22 PLN (S$8.11) Stay: Greg & Tom Beer Hostel S$25.70 for 2 nights (Highly recommended! Free breakfast (eh, not your cereal and bread that kind of breakfast, but BIG BREAKFAST!) and DINNER! Woots! Book earlier! The location is good, near the cathedral!) Transport in Warsaw: 1 billet for 90 mins is about 1 euro. Eat @ Polka near Old Town Square. You may skip Warsaw, in my humble opinion, it doesn’t have much to offer but they have good and cheap food, Lody, lody and nothing but lody everyday! 3 Zloty for a gelato, which is less than 1 euro!

3/11 Krakow, Poland auschwitz concentration camp (Note: To save money, skip the tour! You can go on your own, you can take a bus from Krakow bus station, bus fare is 28 Polish Zloty for return) Eat @ Krakow: Tomasza Milkbar (Dinner of the day for just 18 PLN, with soup! They do serve traditional polish food, like Pierogi, but I personally prefer Chinese dumplings than Pierogi) Café @ Krakow: Charlotte (must go!) Poland’s expenses in cash: 290 PLN

4/11 Krakow, Poland Wieliczka Salt Mine 84PLN Flix bus (operate by Yatch bus) from Krakow → Prague 19,00€

5/11 Prague, Czech Republic Arrange it on a Saturday, as they have one Saturday market, like a farmer market though. Tried traditional cake and Halusky there. Stamp: 32 CZK; Postcard: 10 CZK Stay: Hostel Ananas 329 CZK (an okay hostel, near to the metro, but people staying there always party until late night, be ready, the kitchen is not equipped with stoves, just microwave and kettle) Supermarket: Billa, Coop

6/11 Cesky Krumlov one day trip from Prague Stay: Hostel Ananas 219 CZK REGIOJET from Prague → Cesky Krumlov 7,60€ LEO express from Cesky Krumlov → Prague 7,36€

7/11 Prague, Czech Republic Petrin Hill TURANCAR from Prague → Bratislava 7,20€ *this bus company is quite shitty, to be avoided if possible and they are the only bus company who ask me for luggage fee (1,00€) The bus normally depart from Praha Florence, do take note and go earlier. Stay: Patio Hostel, Bratislava, Slovakia 9,65€ (Good, can be recommended, I like their big locker, and its just opposite TESCO) Czech’s expenses in cash: 711 CZK

8/11 Bratislava, Slovakia Slovakia’s expenses in cash: 15,48€ REGIOJET from Bratislava → Budapest 8,00€ Stay: Colors Budapest 11,75€ for 2 nights with breakfast (Pay in cash, they do not have the cc machine) It’s cheap and with breakfast, so nothing to be complained of! Near to the statue of liberty too.

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9/11 Budapest, Hungary Stay: Colors Budapest Budapest’s expenses in cash: 7,495 Hungarian Forint How to save money: Kebab everyday 😀

10/11 Budapest, Hungary Night bus from Budapest → Krakow 18,00€ by LUX express

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11/11 Zakopane, Krakow, Poland There is a reason why I detour back to Zakopane, but I didn’t do as what I have planned though. Anyway, it is always good to have a break to see nature scenery again after all the buildings in city! Zakopane and Krakow’s expenses in cash: 76.5 PLN Another night bus (yes, two night buses in a row) from Krakow → Wien PLN 34 by Polskibus

12/11 Vienna, Austria half day trip (because there is no direct bus from Krakow to Zagreb and I have to do it this way, otherwise I wouldn’t want to go to Austria because it is an expensive place. And I got angry with myself because of this 2 night buses in a row and decided that I want to stay in decent hostel for the rest of my trip (and no more night bus)) Vienna’s expenses in cash: 22,51€ Flixbus from Vienna → Zagreb 25,00€ (see, everything from Vienna is expensive, even for bus departing from Vienna) Stay: Swanky Mint Zagreb S$34.29 for 2 nights

13/11 Plitvice one day trip Zagreb → Plitvice 92 Croatian Kuna (buy at the counter with credit card, it’s cheaper to purchase the ticket online but I scare I couldn’t wake up), I took the earliest bus which is 7:30 am and return at 2:45pm. About 2 hours bus ride from Zagreb to Plitvice. I have seen online that some of the Chinese people saying that Jiuzhaigou in China is even greater than Plitvice, I have never been to jiuzaigou so unable to compare, yet. But Plitvice is a nice place! Nature has never failed to make me a happy kid! Return is 85 Croatian Kuna (by cash only) I have only changed 20€ to 140 Croatian Kuna (HRK) and I am returning home with 21.10 HRK. Eat @ Zagreb: Amelie Café! Delicious cake! For traditional Croatian food, go to La Struk, it is only 40 HRK, or less, for a meal. Stay: Swanky Mint

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14/11 Bled, Slovenia Flixbus from Zagreb → Ljubljana S$9.67 (one of the best bus ride (the other one is in Norway, from Tromso to Narvik)! With beautiful scenery along the way and make me fall in love with Slovenia at first sight) Ljubljana → Bled 6,30€ (by at the counter or with the driver, Platform 7, about 75 minutes of bus ride, but the scenery along the journey will definitely leave you in awe!) Stay: Castle Hostel 1004 12,96€ for a night (pay in cash, they don’t accept cc) Eat@Bled: Zima for the traditional Slovenian cake – Kremsnita (Bled Cream Cake) 2,90€

15/11 Bled, Slovenia Stay: Castle Hostel 1004 12,96€ for a night (pay in cash, they don’t accept cc) Slovenia’s expenses in cash: 71,00€ (10€ for Blablacar)

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16/11 Venice, Italy Ljubljana → Venice by Blablacar (3 hours by car) 10€ Stay: Generator Venice 26,60€ for 2 nights Vaporetto (water bus) pass for 48 hours itself costs me 30,00€  Italy is expensive

17/11 Stay: Generator Venice But, with the water bus pass, you can go to Murano and Burano, the one-way ticket itself is 6.50€, as Generator Venice is located on the opposite island of Venice, called Zitelle, I have no choice but to get a water bus pass. I took at least 10 water bus rides, so divided it out, it should be 3€ per ride? Haha. Venice’s expenses in cash: 42,22€ (Blame the water bus pass, otherwise I could possibly have more Gelato, hmm..)

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18/11 Milan, Italy Venice → Milan by Blablacar (3 hours by car) S$26.43 (by credit card) Stay: Best Hostel Milano (the room is like a room for princess! For goodness sake! With a city view) But it is also a very expensive hostel.. 23,00€ + 2,00€ city tax Milan’s expenses in cash: 21,06€

19/11 Zurich Flixbus Milan → Zurich S$29.43 Zurich’s expenses in cash: Swiss Franc 22.30 Fly from Zurich to Hong Kong at 10:40 pm

20/11 HKIA – Tsui Wah Restaurant

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Please make full use of Google! Must have when travelling abroad: A decent smartphone with a full battery, credit card, passport, and viola~! You can go already haha Ok well, please also get ready for the following applications on your mobile phone:

Flexiroam (available also on iOS and Android)

(use my referral code, you will get 100MB too, Astrid’s referral code: 5J4PTHHH) What is flexiroam? It is actually a sim sticker, and if you are visiting KLIA and KLIA2, they do have a kiosk where you can buy with them there (save shipping fee!) And what is sim sticker? Hmm. It is actually a sticker to stick with your sim, and you get to use data (by switching sim) abroad, I think they collaborate with Vodafone those, supporting countries is more than 100, coverage is good. 9.90 USD for a one-year membership, but you need to get a lot of referral (that’s why I am sharing my referral code here) or buy the data. Note: No coverage in Slovenia and Vietnam. Other than that, it is all fine.

Maps.me (available also on iOS and Android)

An offline map, do download the map of the cities that you are visiting beforehand, everything comes in handy! P/s: Hi Mom! I am safe to wherever Google can find me! (*giggle) With data, smartphone and google, every girl can go travelling alone!

Blablacar (available also on iOS and Android)

You must have heard of hitchhiking? This one is kind of like car pooling (uber shareride? Sometimes it’s cheaper than the bus, but like all startups, this app also can be a bit crazy at times, especially its search function, gotta be patient. Hope it can expand to Singapore – Malaysia though so that I can have more share ride to go home!

–  GoEuro (available also on iOS and Android)

An app to find the cheapest way to get around in Europe, most of the place though. I do use it together with Busradar because the coverage of GoEuro might not be very good – Busradar Find the cheapest bus ride!

Busradar (available also on iOS and Android) Find the cheapest bus ride!

XE.com (available also on iOS and Android)

An app to let me know how much an apple in Sweden costs in Malaysian Ringgits or Singapore Dollars (you customised it). It is ok if the country uses €, but when you have to use Hungarian Forint, Polish Zloty, Croatian Kuna, CZK, ok, stop it, let’s use XE to help me with the conversion

Hostelworld (available also on iOS and Android)

Booking.com (available also on iOS and Android)

Tripadvisor (available also on iOS and Android)

Google Trips (available also on iOS and Android)

Google Translate (available also on iOS and Android)

Skyscanner (available also on iOS and Android)

– And…not to forget to shopback for every hostel booking! What is shopback? You get cashback for every of your booking! (the percentage might be low, but you can snowball and cash out later on when the amount is larger)

Shopback SG version: https://www.shopback.sg/?raf=o8ilTE

Shopback MY version: https://www.shopback.my/?raf=5UkTs1

– Airbnb: www.airbnb.com.sg/c/hongf2

 

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