Visiting Iceland was a big tick off our bucket list. We were looking for an adventure and we wanted to experience something different. That is why the four of us decided to explore the south of Iceland with a camper van. Now, let each of us share with you, our most memorable experience in Iceland.
Ryan: Our lovely camper van
My most memorable experience in this Iceland trip is our camper van. The entire experience of living in a camper van was so fulfilling! When we were planning our trip, we knew that we had to drive in order to fully experience Iceland. Never did we expect that our van would also be our bedroom, kitchen, and even living room. All-in-one!
Because we are students traveling on a pretty tight budget, booking a camper van
helped us to save quite a lot of money. First of all, eating at restaurants for every meal can be expensive because some restaurants can be quite pricey. The camper van allowed us to cook our own food as the rental comes with a portable gas stove, cookware and cutlery included. But, we still tried several great restaurants for Icelandic cuisine, the camper van just provides us with a great alternative. A small tip! Try cooking inside the van as it can get windy outdoors, which makes it very difficult for the water to boil. It helps to keep the temperature in the van warm too!
The best part of the camper van
is being able to wake up right at your destination. Most of the famous tourist attractions have camping grounds that allow you to park your camper van and spend the night there. In that case, you do not have to drive to and fro your accommodation. It saved us so much time on the road, which means more time for sleeping!!!
Clinton: Beautiful waterfalls
The number of waterfalls
that we encountered whilst driving around Iceland
were too many to count! They come in all sort of sizes; big ones, small ones and even miniature ones. Our favorite waterfall would definitely be Svartifoss.
This was the waterfall that we encountered through our hike in Skaftafell National Park
. It was a great place to take a breather from our hike and to appreciate this beautiful waterfall. We even saw a tiny rainbow! Nevertheless, one cannot leave Iceland without visiting the famous Skógafoss. This waterfall, also known as forest falls, is one of the biggest ones in Iceland. Visitors can even scale the waterfall and take in the sight of it.
James: Walking on ice, a tick off our bucket list
Glacier hiking has always been on my bucket list for years. Being born in Singapore which is well known for its hot and humid weather, the adventure loving bunch of us have only hiked in Asia before where lush greenery and vegetation were what we are used to. Hence during the planning phase of our Iceland trip, we knew that going for the glacier hike at Skaftafell is definitely a must do!
Indeed, it was one of the best decisions that we have made on this trip. As we arrived in Skaftafell, we were hooked up with crampons and were given an ice axe each which was a little intimidating. In my mind, I was thinking “ What have I gotten myself into?!” Following which, we boarded a bus which brought us to the entrance of the hike after 30 minutes.
We suited up, got introduced to our friendly guide and our hike began!
The entrance to our hike Introducing our friendly guide, Jeff!
It was a little weird walking on ice at the start but after a while we got used to it and were enjoying the breath taking views of the glaciers around us.
The landscape behind us started to get smaller and smaller hmm…
We passed by many massive cracks, ice caves and waterfalls. The guide even took a step further and walked a path that he himself has never explored before. In the end, we even got to explore a mini ice cave which was really cool. Thank god it didn’t collapse on us!
Look at this massive crack! A mini ice cave that we discovered.
Is the ice cave stable? Yes, luckily it is. Our diligent guide hacking away at the ice to check for potholes and cracks.
All in all, glacier hiking has been a really cool experience that I would recommend to anyone that’s doing a road trip to Iceland. Other than a couple of war scars ( cuts and bruises), the glacier hike has been surreal, I can only describe it as an experience that must be done in person in order to fully understand the beauty of glaciers. Simply browsing through photos itself is not enough.
Hurray! A tick off our bucket list.
Chuan: Fjaðrárgljúfur, a gorgeous canyon in Iceland
Fjaðrárgljúfur was highly recommended by my friends since my high school days. Through progressive erosion, flowing water from glaciers through the rocks and palagonite over hundreds of years to create the canyon. Indeed, it is a wonder of Mother Nature! I have always anticipated seeing this gorgeous geographical landscape and now, I am now proud to say that I have been there, done that. However, it took me and my friends two tries, before seeing the real beauty of this place.
On the first try, we drove a couple of hours driving through the Ring Road, passing by the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur before approaching this massive canyon. As we approached the canyon, the surroundings start to fog up. By the time we parked our van and stepped out of it, the entire terrain was filled with fog. So much fog!!! I stared in disbelief as I could barely see anything 5 steps ahead of me. The fog brought huge injustice to the canyon. After a brief walk, we gave up and left, feeling disheartened.
After 2 days, we thought about the canyon and decided to try our luck and visit it for the second time. I am glad to say that it was an awesome decision! Without the fog, we could see the entire place clearly. As I stepped into the canyon, I stood before the canyon in reverence and admired the beauty of it. This is one of the few natural wonders that managed to encapsulate the sublimity of the wild.
We had a short hike through the canyon, admiring the views of nature along the hike. “Stop and take a moment to admire all the beautiful things you take for granted every day”, this corny quote came to my mind as it was a perfect opportunity for any of us to take a step back in life. There was a demarcated trail that was nice and safe to hike along. The curves and bends of the trail allowed me to observe the canyon from different angles! What an eyegasm! Soon after, I was lost in admiration by the beauty of the canyon.
Anyway, through the hike, I could not help but notice at tourists that stepped beyond the walking trails onto the moss areas. As we know it, these areas are particularly sensitive and footprints and tire marks can result in significant damage that is likely irreparably. The result of human ignorance could eventually lead to the extinction of the entire Iceland! I urge people who visit this place not to ignore cordoned off areas or walking off trails. Rules and warnings are in place to allow tourism to coexist with mother nature.
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and a visit to the canyon is definitely the highlight of any trip. Stopping by the canyon would be a wonderful opportunity for a break. I would want to experience this place in winter as I believe that my eyes will be thrilled by the impressive landscape when it is filled with snow. When I have more time and experience, it would perhaps be a wonderful opportunity to explore it from the ground as the canyon doesn’t seem to have much water in it.
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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