We went free and easy. I don't think I will enjoy going with a tour group as much as I enjoyed exploring the cities just the two of us. I know because I went on a one day tour in London and I felt that it would be better if we had more time and not stick to a group of strangers too much. Although I didn't mind because it was only for one day and we needed to save on time while in London. Okay that part will be covered in the London entry haha.
Going free and easy means you will probably get lost but, I don't mind getting lost, we didn't even get lost much actually. But of course, some of you will prefer the conveniences of going with a tour. But I want to prove you otherwise! The places we went were easy to navigate that the inconveniences of traveling by public, looking out for places and getting lost were merely mini adventures for us.
We went to Switzerland, Amsterdam, London (including Liverpool) and Paris. Our Qatar flight was from Singapore – Zurich and Paris – Singapore with stopovers at Doha. In between Zurich and Paris we booked our connecting flights.
Our Switzerland trip was for 6 days and 5 nights.
Interlaken – 2 days
Lucerne – 2 days
Zurich – 1 day
We left Switzerland on the 6th day which explains why we only have 1 day in Zurich. We shortlisted Bern and Zermatt but couldn’t fit them into our 6 days itinerary. Zermatt was too far off but super lovely from the pictures I’ve seen and reviews from the people who went. Would be our first choice if it wasn’t too far off!
Day 1 - Once we arrived at Zurich airport we bought our Swiss Pass. We paid a lump sum of about 200 plus Swiss Francs to travel for 5 days on their trains. We then proceeded to Interlaken by train. There were two stations there, the Interlaken East (they call it Interlaken Ost) and West. Our hotel was at Interlaken West about 5 to 10 minutes from the train station. By the time we checked in at 5pm it was already dark. That night itself we walked around our hotel area which was located at a centralised location with the Christmas market just outside. Shops and food were all within walking distance. Only saw one halal kebab place there but good enough for me.
Their trains are double deck. We bought the Swiss Pass for second class and they're good enough!
Christmas market outside.
Decent hotel! Big and not too pricey.
Halal kebabs! Yummy.
Day 2 - Next morning we went up the mountain, Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe! We didn't need to pre-book anything. With our Swiss Pass we just took a train up the mountain, but we needed to top up a certain amount because the Swiss Pass doesn't pay for Jungfraujoch. We did sledging and just walking at the mountains.
The Swiss Pass.
Lunch with a splendid view.
Day 3 - We proceeded to Lucerne by train. Same thing, we used our Swiss Pass. About two hours to Lucerne. When we reached Lucerne we checked in and left to explore the city. We walked a lot. Everything was near each other. Our hotel was about 5 to 10 minutes walk too. With heavy luggage and haversacks, 10 minutes walk was quite long for me to endure haha.
The view from our train journey to Lucerne. Like a painting!
We took Ibis Budget and it was really good for a budget stay.
Day 4 - We went up Mount Titlis this time. We were deciding between a few mountains there like Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus but somehow chose this. This was one of the things that we only planned when we were there. Before the trip I shortlisted the places I wanted to go in each city but I didn't decide when and which day exactly I should go there. So usually we plan on which day to go once we reach the city itself. It's pretty much impromptu on some cases.
Yeah they're all picnicking on the mountain.
Day 5 - Took a train to Zurich. Where our airport was also located. Our hotel was not very near the train station so we had to take a bus to go there. About 4 bus stops so not so bad la. At Zurich we went to the Rhine Falls by train, bus and walking. It wasn't crowded at all so we had the place to ourselves with a few other people. We usually ask the hotel staff on how to go to these places by public and they're all accessible and easy to find with signboards everywhere.
We left our luggage at the hotel and only checked in at night.
Day 6 - Packed and proceeded to the next city!
This was at 5am k.
Zai surprised me with a new book at the airport hehe.
Okay just some tips which I hope will be useful la. If not useful just ignore k haha.
Tip 1: Get a traveling pass if you're going to travel a lot. You can check the point-to-point ticket prices online and decide if getting the pass is worth it. They have other passes as well so choose what suits you best. It covers almost everywhere except places that are too far off and mountains. Even so, some of those places still get some discounts with the Swiss Pass. And there's no need to book or buy online beforehand. I’m very bad at remembering prices but you can find out the prices and details from this website. And their train network is easy to understand after a while. Just look at the display board and they'll tell you which platform to go for your destination.
Tip 2: I realised that if you’re going to go out often, having a hotel near the train station will be mega helpful and convenient! So you just have to understand the train network system and it can get you pretty much anywhere. We took a lot of trains, walked and took a few buses to some places of attractions. And if you don't mind, don't have to splurge on hotels cause you probably won't be at the hotel room often.
Tip 3: Oh yeah days are shorter in the winter so we try to wake up early every morning to maximise the limited time.
Tip 4: Get all your directions to the hotel ready so that when you're already at the city, you know where to go straight away and what to look out for.
Tip 5: If you're going up a mountain it's best to set aside the whole day there and not plan any other activities except for maybe own-time-own-target kinda activities like walking at the Christmas market or around the town after that.
Tip 6: Remember to write down the travel dates on your Swiss Pass. Someone will be on the train to check the passes and they want to see the dates. You can write down the date on the day of your travel itself before you travel.
Tip 7: Get a hotel with wifi I'm sure you know this. Can help you with the research and directions and keeping in touch with families and friends.
Tip 8: Get proper boots. Waterproof would be good. So when the ice melts, your toes won't be wet and cold.
That's all! I hope it's not too lengthy. Till the next entry, which will be on Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam!