Every winter, the Arctic region of Norway embraces two amazing natural phenomena – Polar Night when the sun never rises, and Aurora Borealis (northern lights). During this trip, you shall experience both. You will journey to the world’s northernmost city Longyearbyen, Svalbard, which is enveloped in darkness 24/7, but residue lights reflected off the sea and snow would bath the surrounding landscapes in an atmospheric deep blue hue. You will also visit the “Aurora capital” of Norway – Tromso, which is ideally located in the zone where aurora borealis is most likely to appear. In addition, visit an Artic coal mine, and have fun with dog sledding.
Take a night flight to Oslo, Norway, via a transit stop. Arrival next morning. (*note: those embarking from a third country shall meet the group in Oslo)
Upon landing, take a train into city center, check-in to a hotel near Oslo Central train station. Afternoon walkabouts in downtown, sites of interest within walking distance from hotel include the main shopping avenue Karl Johans Gate, the medieval Akershus Fortress, and the avant-garde Oslo Opera House.
Morning flight (3h) to Svalbard. Arrive in Longyearbyen around noon – but darkness all around during Polar Night – the main town of Svalbard archipelago located in the Arctic Circle. Upon arrival, take airport shuttle bus to apartment-style lodging; nearby are shops, restaurants, and the only supermarket in town. After lunch, visit Svalbard Church, the world’s northernmost church. Later, do grocery shopping for self-catering dinner.
After breakfast, visit a coal mine in the Arctic. Prior to 20th century, Svalbard archipelago has no permanent residents due to severe winter and harsh environment, but explorers were attracted by its isolation and natural resources. In 1906, an American named Longyear (the city was later named after him) came to invest in coal mining, offering high wages to recruit workers, who became the pioneer residents in town. We shall visit the mine no.3, which has ceased production in 1996, learn about coal mining history in the Arctic and the life and working conditions of miners.
Free & easy day. Self-pay optional activities available (eg: snowmobile ride, sleigh ride, etc) or join the team leader to climb a hill in downtown for vantage viewpoint of the city below and the sea beyond. One may also opt to visit museums or art galleries in city centre or visit the world’s northernmost post office to send postcards from the Arctic to family and friends. The main street is lined with souvenir shops and cafés. Dinner self-catering or dine out at restaurant.
Morning free and easy, after an early lunch, take shuttle bus to the airport, board an afternoon flight to Tromso, the aurora gateway of Norway. Upon arrival, transfer to bay side cabins in the countryside. The countryside cabins are facing the sea, a peaceful isolated spot, an ideal place for northern lights sighting. Dinner self-catering or dine out at restaurant.
Today’s highlight is dog sledding activity, a unique winter transport in the Arctic. Tour members shall visit the kennel and learn how to care for the dogs and set up the sled, followed by a crash course on how to control the sled, and then enjoy racing across the snow land on dog sleds. After the activity, return to bay side cabins, wait for northern lights sighting. Self-catering meals or dine out at restaurant.
Free and easy day. Tour members may relax at the bay side cabin, or explore the scenic surroundings – views of fjords, islands scattered here and there, cliffs rising out of the sea – on foot to enjoy the picturesque nature and lots of photo opportunities. Self-catering meals or dine out at restaurant.
After breakfast, check out from bay side cabins and transfer to Tromso city centre. Leave luggage at the hotel, then take a stroll in the city. After lunch take the Fjellheisen cable car up to Storsteinen Hill for impressive panoramic view of the city. Later, descend back to the foothill and walk to Arctic Cathedral, an iconic building in Tromso. If time permits, tour members could also visit other optional sites, such as Polar Museum. Last chance to spot the aurora at night.
Early morning transfer to Tromso airport, take a domestic flight to Oslo, then connect to the international flight bound for Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon.
Arrival in Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon, end of tour.
A *security deposit of RM 2,000 is payable to secure booking. Balance fee RM 6,800 to be collected upon booking deadline or when the tour is fully booked.
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Lam Yuet is an avid traveler, leaving her trails in four continents of the world. She had once spent two years making an Asia-Europe overland journey. Her tales from the road have been published under three titles – The Grand Overland Voyage, A State Called Home, and My Private Map.
She was a feature journalist, specialized in travel writing. As her former job involved lots of oversea assignments, she had experienced luxurious business tour as well as travel on a shoestring. Backpacking is still her preferred choice.
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