Travel

2017 – Chasing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland – The Planning

slide1

After dreaming for many years about chasing the Aurora Borealis in Europe, I finally planned a trip to have it off my bucket list. Yeah ! I am totally glad that I did this !

This has been a long planning. Too many factors to be considered.. whether I can withstand the cold temperature… which month I should travel.. which country I should visit… whether I will catch the lights or waste a trip and be disappointed. I did all the research. Read all the different blogs I come across online, going through all the different recommendations and comments people around the world made. And after two years, I did nothing. No plans at all.

Actually, chasing the Aurora Borealis is not the top item in my bucket list. My list is long (trust me… its long), and chasing the lights is maybe in the middle of the list. This was added to my list when I saw the lights in the television when I was young. I think it was a show or movie, talking about the ‘edge of the world’ in Scotland. There was a castle at the edge of a cliff. The male actor was standing on the cliff, overlooking the ocean, with the awesome castle in the background. In front of him, was an amazing display of the Aurora Borealis.

wallup.net

(Free wallpaper from Goggle)

I was in awe… totally surprise that we are able to see such wonderful and beautiful display in the sky. I lived in a small country (I am from Singapore… Hi!), we do not have a beautiful night sky. We barely see any stars at night most of the time. So having to see this on television, made me promise myself. If I ever have the chance to travel the world, I want to make this one of the things I want to do!

Okie, back to the planning process, I short-listed two locations after much reading. Norway, Tromso and Iceland, Reykjavik. I was leaning towards Tromso after so many recommendations about the charming town and the high percentage of catching the light. I personally liked the day activities that are available, like husky sledding, automobile, visiting of husky puppy farms … etc.

But ultimately, I made the choice of visiting Reykjavik. Mainly due to the reason on the flight arrangement and the number of days and time I hope to maximize.

reykjavik-iceland

(Free wallpaper from Goggle)

It will be a 8 days trip, 4 days in Iceland, 2 days in London and of course, 2 days of flying.
A good friend of mine, went to Canada and successfully caught the lights and her very very important advice to me is to stay warm, very warm. She was sooooooo cold and so depressed while waiting for the lights. SO, I took her advice and did some serious shopping for some gears I know I will need.

I have never travelled to such a cold country before. The closest I have experience was in Zurich, Switzerland, where I visited Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe (maybe I will share about that trip soon). That was a really fun experience for me to be surrounded by that much snow and catching some light snow falling. That was the first time I experience falling snow. It was really light and you can barely see the snow, but you feel them landing on your face and hand lightly. Awww…. I love that feeling.

So for this trip, I want to make sure I am fully equipped and hoping I will be able to catch some beautiful falling snow.  Crossing my fingers on this.

There were some cool activities I really really hope to do while I am in Iceland. The first activity is Dog Sledding ! I Love Love Love dogs! I am Soooooo excited about this as I really think this COOLEST THING I can ever do in snow land. Playing with the snow dogs in snow land, and sledding through the snow and feel the wind in my face. Very sadly, there is only one company providing dog sledding activity in Iceland, Dogsledding Iceland, I really didn’t think that it will so difficult to book a tour with them. But they are fully booked for the month of Jan, Feb and almost March. So I have to disappoint myself because I did not plan and decide on this earlier. No dog sledding for me. But I promise myself, if I ever have the chance to this do this in future, I will book the activity way way WAY in advance so I will not be disappointed again.

dog-sledding

(Free wallpaper from Goggle)

Another thing I got very interested is the Aurora Borealis Photo Tour. I have picked up photography not too long ago. Bought a 2nd hand DSLR and some lens, trying to learn as much as I can online on my own and took short trips with my camera, hoping to learn some good basics and gear up for this trip. But when I realized there is such thing call Photo Tour, I was overjoyed ! The tour will be guided by a professional photographer, guiding and teaching us during the tour. Since this is the first time I am experiencing chasing the Aurora, I decided I should learn from the professional first. I believe must be some right and proven way to take to those beautiful pictures and videos of the northern light like many others did.

After much reading, I have decided on Iceland Aurora Photo Tours, there are so much great reviews about this company and their photographers, I cannot ignore. So I booked myself into this tour, hoping to learn some good stuff on my first night and then go garang on my own the next few nights. By the way, ‘garang’ means being fierce and impulsive in my country.

photo-tour(Photo from Iceland Aurora Photo Tour)

There are many other places I wanted to see. After going through Tripadvisor, I have decided a 16 hours tour with Extreme Iceland, the Sensational Iceland – Waterfall, Glacier Hike & Aurora 

In this tour, I will get to see some majestic waterfall, do some glacier hike, visit a black sandy beach and go chase the Aurora Borealis at night.

tour-map-copy
(
Map from Extreme Iceland)

I seriously do not know if I can survive this 16 hours out in the cold. But I am determined to be strong, have tonnes of fun and take some amazing photos. I hope I will have some amazing photos to share on this blog really soon !

I plan to do 2 days of self drive seeing the rest of Iceland. As I can foresee that it will hard for me to get up early in the morning to join more tours for the remaining days. So I read up some more recommendations online on where I should to visit in order to see more beautiful scenery and take a hell lot of amazing photos. I stumbled onto this blog, Expertvagabond, and gotten a lot of recommendation from Matthew Karsten from his blog. Thank You Matthew !

ring-road(photo from expertvagabond)

Matthew has travelled almost half the world and his advice and amazing photographs has awed me so much. After devouring his Iceland photography adventure,  I decided to take on part of the Ring Road, The Golden Circle and find the Famous Sólheimasandur plane crash site. Matthew gave very specific details on how go aound the Golden Circle and Ring Road. Even the exact route to take to find the crash site. I will plan the route slowly as I still have 2 weeks to go before I embark on this unbelieveable journey.

If anyone has any other recommendations I should not miss out, feel free to leave me some comments and suggestions and maybe I can get some new insights and discover more hidden gems I missed out.

Can’t wait to land myself onto Iceland immediate and and have hell lot of fun out there! I will be sharing the amazing photos I take during the trip soon. So wish me the best of luck on seeing the Northern Light ! Every Single Night !!! Haha !!

(Disclaimer : As I haven’t embark on this trip yet, the photo shown here are borrowed. If I have fringed any copyright, please let me know. I will remove them immediately.
I do not get any compensation or commission for mentioning the tours and blog in this write out too)

One thought on “2017 – Chasing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland – The Planning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s