I just got engaged and had made a promise with my mum to travel to Iceland before my wedding in 2018. And so, we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Reykjavik for a total of 24 flight hours. I was very excited and feeling anxious as this was my first time planning a trip all by myself. As soon as we arrived Keflavik International Airport, we immediately headed to Rent.is where we pre-booked a VW Caddy Camper for 7 days with Rent.is. From snow-topped mountains and endless green landscapes, to bright blue lakes and natural hot springs, there was so much beauty and stunning scenery to marvel at and admire whilst driving. The landscape opportunities in Iceland were unbelievable, and we found ourselves constantly pulling over for photos.
We were informed that renting a camper for road trip is important as a self-drive tour is a way to go. I can stop anywhere giving us complete freedom. It was perfect to maximize exploring and photographing landscapes. What we enjoyed the most was that it covered our accommodation allowing us to pull over and sleep pretty much anywhere. The camper van was convenient and fully equipped with free WiFi, pots, pans, dishes, refrigerator /cooler, sleeping bed for 2 people, cooking gas and etc.
With WiFi, it was very easy to navigate any destinations via Waze App (very accurate and no issues on internet connection in Iceland). The unforgettable moment was when we were on the way to Seljalandsfoss, I received a warning signal on low tire pressure, and eventually the tire punctured. To be honest, I felt stressful from my mum’s nagging and the weather was freezing cold and started to rain at that time. However, the experience was not painful as the camper van was fully equipped with a spare tire and the necessary tire repair kits.
Blue Lagoon is a manmade and Geothermal Spa featuring three active ingredients: Silica, Algae & Minerals in the hot springs. The hot water is the result of runoff from a nearby power plant, Svartsengi. The power plant was for electricity and hot water for nearby communities and the Blue Lagoon was formerly an accidental byproduct of this process. Even though the water looked blue (due to the reflection from the sun), the water has a milky white colour. What we enjoyed the most was the warm temperature of milky water (like in a giant hot bathtub at house) and unlimited free silica mud masks – good for skin. Luckily, we pre-booked the comfort ticket (i.e. standard/basic entrance) well advanced in April 2017 and managed to get a reasonable entrance free of ISK 6,100 per person.
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of Iceland’s most famous attractions. These beautiful green (and sometimes white, pink and purple!) lights danced around the sky in Iceland quite often – but can only be seen in the wintertime. The locals mentioned that in order to see them, it needs to be dark and depends on the forecast that can be checked via Internet (Icelandic Aurora Light Forecast). We were lucky that we witnessed them for two times from our guesthouses during our trip. We were happy that we saved $$$ – free of charge without joining any Northern Lights tour. It was mesmerizing and we lost for words as we saw them dancing in the skies for more than 2 hours.
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash created a beautiful and mystic landscape feelings at Black Sand Beach. The history started on Nov 24 1973, the US Navy airplane – a Douglas Super DC-3 – was forced to crash land on Sólheimasandur beach. The crew all survived the impact, but the plane was abandoned rather than recovered – and lies there still. Besides that, it was also many beautiful images from Dilwale’s newly released song “Gerua”, whom Bollywood actress and actor posing atop the wrecked plane. Even though it took us one hour by walking to reach the wrecked area from the parking, my mum did not show any sign of tiredness as that was her “must-visit-stop”.
Iceland is a country of many amazing waterfalls. We were perplexed as there are 10,000 plus waterfalls around Iceland. The main reason behind various amount of waterfalls due to North Atlantic climate that produces frequent rain and snow; and large glaciers feeding the rivers during warmer days. We also learned the word “Foss” which simply means “Waterfall” in Icelandic. I enjoyed driving along the Ring road around the island, waterfalls seem to appear on every mountain. As the Sun conditions were favorable, we could also see many vivid rainbow in front of the waterfalls.
Iceland is also home to three of Europe’s largest glaciers, Langjökull and Hofsjökull in the central highlands, and Vatnajökull in the southeast which is larger than all of Europe’s glaciers combined. Interesting fact: Glaciers are not affected by the sun, and they have their own weather systems! The breathtakingly beautiful Jökulsárlón is an 18 km2 glacier lagoon located in the southeast of Iceland. The lagoon is filled with ever-changing icebergs with some of the most beautiful blue colors you will ever see. Visiting the lagoon is never the same experience as the icebergs are always reforming, melting, flipping over and new ones are joining the herd.
Looking back on my trip, I have no regrets. I was extremely fortunate with the weather I experienced and wouldn’t change anything about it. Perhaps the only thing I wish I had found time for was to experience helicopter tour will give travelers a completely different perspective of Iceland’s magnificent and very diverse landscapes. There were likely opportunities for it on the seventh day of my trip, however it didn’t occur to me until it was too late and in hindsight is something I probably would’ve booked in advance if given another chance. We had a wonderful time in Iceland. It has varied and distinctive scenery, a fascinating history and society, and friendly people. One week wasn’t nearly enough to do Iceland justice — we only visited the southern part of the country, and could have spent more time there. A month would be nice! All in all I couldn’t have asked for a better trip, and am glad everything worked out the way they did.
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