What I did for my birthday 2017…Iceland!

When I bought my flight ticket to London, I had no idea what I was going to do while I was there. I’ve practically been solo-flying to London every year since 2015, and I just thought that this would be my yearly solo vacation spot.

I love traveling solo. It’s liberating…something I’m comfortable doing, yet always something new to experience.

So, this “something new to experience” brought me to choose Iceland as my main destination for this trip. I had always been caught up with its name since I was a little girl – a land made out of ice? Ha. Furthermore, I could experience the Northern Lights. Two things to strike off the bucket list at the same time.

Also, it was time to go to a place where English isn’t the national language. But I’m so glad Icelanders speak good English!

Here’s a summary of my trip expenses (excluding food and miscellaneous items):

capture

The green colour indicates “paid”, while the red one indicates “to be paid when there”.

  • 26th Jan – depart BWN, Brunei
  • 27th Jan – arrive LDN, UK
  • 28th Jan – depart LDN; arrive KEF, Iceland, Northern Lights hunt
  • 29th Jan – South Shore Adventure (Vik)
  • 30th Jan – Golden Circle Classic
  • 31st Jan – Leisure in Reykavik
  • 1st Feb – depart KEF; arrive LDN
  • 3rd Feb – depart LDN
  • 4th Feb – arrive BWN

Initially, I wanted to stay in an airbnb in Reykjavik (the world’s northernmost capital city!), and there was this beautiful apartment next to a lighthouse(!!) but the host said that he wouldn’t be accepting guests on my requested dates so…bummer. I’m actually glad for this because the hotel that I booked for (Hotel Fron) was one of the best decisions I made for this trip. Will tell more in another post!

I’m usually not for big tours, but upon researching into hiring a car, I thought better of it. Hiring a car to drive in winter would be a first for me…what more driving solo. (Many advised about solo driving in Icelandic winter – not recommended!) As much as I would have loved to drive, surrounded by beautiful landscapes, I had to scrap the idea and opted for guided tours. I splurged on one of the tours, which was for the Northern Lights hunt. Reading the reviews for the hunt with a big tour seemed like an almost impersonal experience, so I chose the jeep tour, which had me and four other people, plus the driver. It was a little pricey, but definitely worth it! The experience was magical, and for another post! ;)

Oh, right. I researched on flying into Keflavik International Airport, and found two competitive budget airlines, flying from London i.e. Icelandair and WowAir (baggage allowance included in fare). Of course, reviews are important, and tbh, there weren’t much difference between the two, in terms of their pros and cons. What made me decide to go with Icelandair was that it had a reasonable flight time and a convenient point of departure that I wanted to fly from i.e. Heathrow. It was overall a good flight experience for me. Also for another post. Maybe. Haha.

Be prepared to pay more for food. I think I only had three proper restaurant meals on my 5-day trip. Had breakfast every morning in the hotel, and hot dogs when I was out and about. Their hot dogs are famously affordable and they fill your tummy just right.

I didn’t get to try the beers (did try wine! Nyum!) except for one…which I can’t remember the name of, but the bartender said it’s similar to Viking’s. Not a fan of beers, but that one was just nice. Had loads of free, drinkable Icelandic water.

All in all, I’m glad I chose to go to Iceland for my birthday trip. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do, and, the fact that Iceland earned the numero uno position in Global Peace Index (last checked in 2016), it was perfect for my thirst of solo travelling.

Iceland was magical.

northernlights
Photo taken by Superjeep.is, my jeep tour guide, 28.01.2017. Beautiful!
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