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73 replies to this topic | 292 praises

#1

Posted 10 May 2014 - 03:23 PM

Boringchap
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By Iceland, I mean Reykjavik, the Golden Circle route and the like.



#2

Posted 10 May 2014 - 03:57 PM

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u planning a trip there? cool.

 

 

 

 


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#3

Posted 11 May 2014 - 03:07 PM

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I went Iceland quite a few years ago during summer, drove around. Driving there is not as bad as the YouTube video suggests. Main road conditions are very gd during summer, but if driving a normal rental saloon, some of the secondary non-tarmac roads will be challenging, and if I recall correctly, not covered under rental insurance.. Which rental company are you going with? I think I went with Hertz previously.

Summer is a good time to travel, its bright even at 1-2am. But don't overdo the driving bit because of extended daylight hours, dangerous because of fatigue and monotonous scenery (no trees all grassland or barren rocky landscape) Also take note that it is left hand drive. During my time there, I recall petrol stations there have 2 sets of pumps, one for self service and one for with attendant service. Self service is much cheaper.

Try their local fermented shark meat. It is undoubtedly the most disgusting stuff i ever tasted.
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#4

Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:06 PM

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Ah, Iceland, the land of fire n ice! 

 

Check out their natural hot spa too! I think called Blue Lagoon or something....



#5

Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:21 PM

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I went to Iceland 2 years ago during May time frame, all on my own.  Drove round the entire island, also did a day trip to Greenland, amazing, should not miss that.  It’s not advisable to stay in Greenland for longer than a day unless you had done study and prepared for it; it’s too cold, probably lower than negative 20, and facilities there are primitive.  You can book the Greenland trip with the local agency when you are in Iceland, the hotel/motel you stay in will be able to help you.

 

My round Iceland trip took about a month, I stayed at every town for 2-3 days.  The weather was extremely nice, there’s still plenty of ice/snow on the higher part of the mountains.  To me, the scenery was very nice.

 

Advise you to rent a 4WD SUV, I got a Nissan Quashqai from Avis.  SUV is probably the best you can get from car rental company, don’t think we can get those Landrover kind.  With 4WD SUV, you can take on some of the mild off road track, and it’s also safer going on muddy and icy part of the road.  If you want to venture off road, always consider safety first, and don’t push your luck if you don’t feel comfortable.  Some of the off road track can be very dangerous as it’s along cliff. 

 

The people there use credit/debit card for almost every purchase, no matter how small amount.  You can practically survive without bringing cash at all.  Most of the petrol kiosks need to pay by credit card at the pump card reader; somehow, for most of the station, you can’t pay cash even if there’s a person at the counter.  Somehow, I couldn't get my credit card to work on the pump card reader because the pin number the machine asked for was not what we have.  Anyway, my solution was to buy the prepaid stored value card; which you can buy at the kiosk counter, and then pay at the pump card reader using the stored value card.  The stored value card was very important because at some remote locations, or during late hours, there may be no kiosk counter, or it’s closed, the stored value card was the only way to pump petrol.  You can use the tap and car wash brushes at the petrol kiosk, it’s free.

 

The living standard there is extremely expensive compared to ours. A hot dog bun at the petrol kioks similar to Ikea one is about SGD 7 per piece.  A pizza, fish and chip lunch with drinks at their fast food restaurant for 2 persons will cost somewhere between SGD 50-100.  The soup is normally free flow.  You pay, and they give you an empty bowl, you can take as many rounds as you like.  I ever encountered one Asian family with over 10 peoples only buy one bowl.

 

Normal food are very nice, must try their small lobster, they don’t call lobster, I can’t remember the exact word, lamb steak, a salmon like fresh water fish with pink meat but much smaller in size, also can’t remember the name, lamb meat soup.

 

Unusual food if you dare to try, and I advise you should try at least once, the fermented shark meat, tastes with pungent smell like century egg x 10.  The lamb head, taste ok if you like lamb meat, it’s the look that disgust. 

 

The place is extremely safe.  The local will just leave their begs, cameras, wallets on the café table, go out to walk for hours and come back, everything still there.

 

Many of the hotel has one same key for the main door, and all the rooms.  You can open the main door yourself if you come back very late, and also all other guest rooms too, if you are curious enough.

 

Some of the motel has totally no person mending at all.  You need to go to some key dispenser machine, key in your booking code, and the key will drop out.  Everything self-service, so always remember to look around for notice and instructions on the wall when you can't find anyone around.

 

For some, when you arrive at a motel counter, they have a notice say “Be right back, if urgent, please call this number”.   Don’t blur blur wait, because no one will “come back”.  Just call the number and someone will appear in few minutes.  You will notice that once he settled you, the person drive off again.

 

Be very careful if you need to drive when the sky is dark, or when there’s heavy fog.  There’s wild animal, often is deer that may dash in front of your car.

 

Have an enjoyable trip.


Edited by LoneCatFish, 11 May 2014 - 05:25 PM.

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#6

Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:13 PM

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LoneCatFish,

Thanks very much for your detailed response. You drove round the entire island? Wow.

Anyway, our trip is definitely not as exciting. We are actually only stopping in Reykjavik and Akureyri, as part of cruise ship stop.

For Reykjavik, the ship arrives at 2pm and departs at noon the next day, so it is an overnight stop. We managed to rent a car for 24 hours. Given the limited time, what do you think are the most important sights to visit? I assume it would be the Golden Circle route.

Then the ship will sail to Akureyri and this time the stop is only from 0830hrs to 1600hrs. So we do not have much time at all. The plan is to visit the Lava fields (Krafla) and the Myvatn Nature baths.

I have 6 people in my group so the most practical car is am MPV, the Ford Galaxy. I don't plan to drive off road. Too dangerous.

#7

Posted 12 May 2014 - 09:41 PM

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LoneCatFish,

Thanks very much for your detailed response. You drove round the entire island? Wow.

Anyway, our trip is definitely not as exciting. We are actually only stopping in Reykjavik and Akureyri, as part of cruise ship stop.

For Reykjavik, the ship arrives at 2pm and departs at noon the next day, so it is an overnight stop. We managed to rent a car for 24 hours. Given the limited time, what do you think are the most important sights to visit? I assume it would be the Golden Circle route.

Then the ship will sail to Akureyri and this time the stop is only from 0830hrs to 1600hrs. So we do not have much time at all. The plan is to visit the Lava fields (Krafla) and the Myvatn Nature baths.

I have 6 people in my group so the most practical car is am MPV, the Ford Galaxy. I don't plan to drive off road. Too dangerous.

 

Hi, you are taking the cruise? that's should be nice, it's going to be a totally different experience that I had.

 

Frankly, I can't remember very well now.  I flew in to Reykjavik, that's that entry and exit point of my trip in Iceland.  It's the main city of Iceland and the biggest city in Iceland.  I roughly remember I went to the town center, spent one afternoon at a harbor view building, got many high class good eating places, very expensive steak house, etc.  Really can't remember exactly where to recommend you to go.  I suggest you do something like what I did, pick up some brochures of those local tour packages in the hotel, from there, you will find the interesting tourist spots nearby, then select those you really like to go, and find your own way there.  Get the GPS from the car rental company, their road is very simple, a little confusing in the town, but once out, it normally one straight road, should be no problem at all. 

 

One thing to remind you is the city traffic is quite heavy during the usual morning and evening peak hour.  If you are not familiar with left hand driving, try to plan your schedule to avoid the heavy traffic hours, it's extremely "exciting" if your are not comfortable with LHD and at the same time, need to figure out your way.

 

I passed by but did not stay in Akureyri, it's a huge but very quiet town.  You recall my memory, I had lamb soup with bread for lunch at one of small cafe, then went walk around the town.  I remember a huge harbor that probably your ship will dock.  I remember seeing one year 2004 Mustang, that reminded me of driven a Mustang convertible in Las Vagus of that same model many years back.  Until today, I still feel really sorry for that Mustang convertible that I rented, I took it to many places, even involved in some semi off road track, nearly got trap into deep mud hole. The car ended up extremely muddy and with lots of squinting noise when I return it.

 

Drive safe and enjoy your trip.


Edited by LoneCatFish, 12 May 2014 - 09:46 PM.


#8

Posted 12 May 2014 - 10:58 PM

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Forgot to mention, when you plan your trip in Reykjavik, it's not like Singapore that we can reach the destination in 20-30 min.  With one day stay there, if your travel companions are ok, you can plan for up to 2-3 hrs driving journey, meaning 5-6 hour round trip, that's normal distance to travel when we are oversea.  

 

Also the Greenland day trip that I mentioned set off from Reykjavik, you may want to consider trying it.  As you only have 24 hrs there, you may need to arrange the Greenland trip from Singapore, Google to find their contact, should not be difficult.  The reason I bring this up is Greenland is really a deserted place that unlikely we will plan for a trip there alone.  Going from Iceland is probably the most natural and cost effective arrangement.  It's really an life time exciting experience that I had.  The snow is taller than human height years through out.  You will get to meet the real Eskimo and can take the dog sled over frozen lake.  

 

 

 

 



#9

Posted 12 May 2014 - 11:51 PM

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Good suggestion to visit Greenland.  I hope to make it to Iceland next year or '16.


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#10

Posted 13 May 2014 - 04:31 AM

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just came back from iceland this year winter.

saaw the northern lights and it is one of the most unforgettable experience.

i drove the golden circle route in a day like 10am to 4pm so i guess it is possible for u to do it
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#11

Posted 13 May 2014 - 08:21 AM

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Aurora Borealis... Its not easy to spot 1 i heard. Lucky u.

 

[drivingcar]  [thumbsup]  [drivingcar]



#12

Posted 13 May 2014 - 05:37 PM

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just came back from iceland this year winter.

saaw the northern lights and it is one of the most unforgettable experience.

i drove the golden circle route in a day like 10am to 4pm so i guess it is possible for u to do it

 

We will be there in summer, so i think no chance of spotting the northern lights.

 

Thanks for letting me know that the trip can be done from 10am to 4pm.  



#13

Posted 13 May 2014 - 05:48 PM

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just came back from iceland this year winter.

saaw the northern lights and it is one of the most unforgettable experience.

i drove the golden circle route in a day like 10am to 4pm so i guess it is possible for u to do it

 

Is it safe to drive in winter?



#14

Posted 13 May 2014 - 07:58 PM

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Hi,

Care to share more detail of your trip? 

I am thinking of solo rod trip. is that safe? And where did you transit to Iceland? 1 transit or what? 

Thank you very much.

I went to Iceland 2 years ago during May time frame, all on my own.  Drove round the entire island, also did a day trip to Greenland, amazing, should not miss that.  It’s not advisable to stay in Greenland for longer than a day unless you had done study and prepared for it; it’s too cold, probably lower than negative 20, and facilities there are primitive.  You can book the Greenland trip with the local agency when you are in Iceland, the hotel/motel you stay in will be able to help you.

 

My round Iceland trip took about a month, I stayed at every town for 2-3 days.  The weather was extremely nice, there’s still plenty of ice/snow on the higher part of the mountains.  To me, the scenery was very nice.

 

Advise you to rent a 4WD SUV, I got a Nissan Quashqai from Avis.  SUV is probably the best you can get from car rental company, don’t think we can get those Landrover kind.  With 4WD SUV, you can take on some of the mild off road track, and it’s also safer going on muddy and icy part of the road.  If you want to venture off road, always consider safety first, and don’t push your luck if you don’t feel comfortable.  Some of the off road track can be very dangerous as it’s along cliff. 

 

The people there use credit/debit card for almost every purchase, no matter how small amount.  You can practically survive without bringing cash at all.  Most of the petrol kiosks need to pay by credit card at the pump card reader; somehow, for most of the station, you can’t pay cash even if there’s a person at the counter.  Somehow, I couldn't get my credit card to work on the pump card reader because the pin number the machine asked for was not what we have.  Anyway, my solution was to buy the prepaid stored value card; which you can buy at the kiosk counter, and then pay at the pump card reader using the stored value card.  The stored value card was very important because at some remote locations, or during late hours, there may be no kiosk counter, or it’s closed, the stored value card was the only way to pump petrol.  You can use the tap and car wash brushes at the petrol kiosk, it’s free.

 

The living standard there is extremely expensive compared to ours. A hot dog bun at the petrol kioks similar to Ikea one is about SGD 7 per piece.  A pizza, fish and chip lunch with drinks at their fast food restaurant for 2 persons will cost somewhere between SGD 50-100.  The soup is normally free flow.  You pay, and they give you an empty bowl, you can take as many rounds as you like.  I ever encountered one Asian family with over 10 peoples only buy one bowl.

 

Normal food are very nice, must try their small lobster, they don’t call lobster, I can’t remember the exact word, lamb steak, a salmon like fresh water fish with pink meat but much smaller in size, also can’t remember the name, lamb meat soup.

 

Unusual food if you dare to try, and I advise you should try at least once, the fermented shark meat, tastes with pungent smell like century egg x 10.  The lamb head, taste ok if you like lamb meat, it’s the look that disgust. 

 

The place is extremely safe.  The local will just leave their begs, cameras, wallets on the café table, go out to walk for hours and come back, everything still there.

 

Many of the hotel has one same key for the main door, and all the rooms.  You can open the main door yourself if you come back very late, and also all other guest rooms too, if you are curious enough.

 

Some of the motel has totally no person mending at all.  You need to go to some key dispenser machine, key in your booking code, and the key will drop out.  Everything self-service, so always remember to look around for notice and instructions on the wall when you can't find anyone around.

 

For some, when you arrive at a motel counter, they have a notice say “Be right back, if urgent, please call this number”.   Don’t blur blur wait, because no one will “come back”.  Just call the number and someone will appear in few minutes.  You will notice that once he settled you, the person drive off again.

 

Be very careful if you need to drive when the sky is dark, or when there’s heavy fog.  There’s wild animal, often is deer that may dash in front of your car.

 

Have an enjoyable trip.

 



#15

Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:49 PM

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Hi,

Care to share more detail of your trip? 

I am thinking of solo rod trip. is that safe? And where did you transit to Iceland? 1 transit or what? 

Thank you very much.

 

 

It was more than 2 years ago, I don't remember the details.  My wife did the planning.  She read the lonely planet guide book, and reference to those tour packages brochure, from there, we pick up the places we wanted to visit.

 

We transited at London, one transit from Singapore, then over to Reykjavi, which is the capital of Iceland.  There's a main trunk road round Iceland that link all the major cities.  The trunk road is well paved, very good condition.  Some part of the trunk road goes through the mountainous area which have steep up and down sloop, and sharp turn near cliff.  As long as you don't drive beyond excessive speed, it's definitely safe.  There are hardcore off road tracks which I feel is definitely not suitable for the rental 4WD, you can try some of the mild one, which I did for few, but don't push your luck as we are normally not used to such off road driving, back off once you don't feel comfortable, better be safe than sorry.

 

Most tour group takes the clock wise direction round the trunk road; I took anti-clock wise, simply because that lead us to most of the places we wanted to go in the initial part of the trip, so it's up to you.

 

I remember I went to one of the off road track, which is strictly for 4WD only according to guide book instruction and the road number marking.  The road suppose to lead to a mountain top with a nice cafe.  It was raining and with heavy fog, the road was rocky and slippery, and mostly along cliff.  I traveled for some distance with the rental 4WD SUV, and really could feel my that body part shrinking  :o as the car was slipping left and right over the wet rocks, so I decided to back off.  On my way down, a local auntie driving a Suzuki swift past me at very high speed up the mountain, so I guess she's might be the owner of that cafe, running the same road everyday, probably it all voice down to experience and how much guts you have.

 

To get to some of the towns, you need to travel off the trunk road, especially to those in the northern half of Iceland, there's lots of peninsular, which is called "fingers", but  the roads are equally good as the trunk road. I skipped all those "fingers" on the north-west part of Iceland, because it's mostly quite deserted, and also it's near end of my trip and running out of time.

 

We took a one day cruise, can't remember from which city.  We went out to the sea, visited few of the glaciers.  The crew member took the ice block from the sea to make cold drinks for us, very interesting, taking icy drink at sub zero degree temperature.  

 

Safety wise, it's extremely safe if you are talking about human threat, such as robbery, etc.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I feel that the country is practically crime free.  Before my trip, I read somewhere that it's common to meet the drunken, but I didn't meet any at all during my trip.  The people are extremely nice and helpful, you can really experience what's the meaning of matured society mentality.  Everyone take pride of their work and show professionalism no matter what's their job.

 

Overall, yes, I feel it's definitely safe to drive in Iceland, as long as you take your own precaution not to get into any trouble yourself.  


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#16

Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:37 AM

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Just coincidentally finished watching the Secret Life of Walter Mitty last nite. nice to read on your trip.


You have eaten 10 curry puffs, 4 cakes and a tao sar boa.
You have drunk 10 cokes, and a jug of sarsi and I don't know how.
All you do is waddle, when the others run.
Eat a little less, play a little more.
You will find that life is a lot more fun than it was before.

#17

Posted 15 May 2014 - 11:01 AM

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By Iceland, I mean Reykjavik, the Golden Circle route and the like.

 

yeah i was there last year... love it, wanna go back again... No GPS, lots of roundabouts, opt for full insurance when renting car, got a regular front wheel drive but u have to decide yourself. Easy drive coz traffic is light when on the ring road which is one lane each way.

 

petrol station is limited, plan accordingly and buy fuel cards, there are many unmanned stations! Fuel card step by step:

1. Insert card... machine will do credit check
2. Machine spit out card
3. Pick up gas pump (diesel or 95) and start filling up
4. Some pumps i encounter fills up in fits and starts so do watch it in case petrol overflows
5. Once done put pump back into its holder... that's it... drive off
Optional: if need receipt put card back into machine

 

Eat lamb there! i had the best lamb steak i can remember.Bring extra batteries for your camera!


Edited by Dice, 15 May 2014 - 11:14 AM.


#18

Posted 02 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

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I've driven round the whole of Iceland, skipping the Westfjords. The whole trip took eight days, and was done at the end of autumn / beginning winter. Weather conditions very challenging, with hail, blizzard up north, strong winds, lightning, potholes, heavy rain. Very exciting trip. I drove a small car, Toyota Auris, so had to struggle to keep it under control. PM me if you'd like more details.


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#19

Posted 03 June 2014 - 04:32 PM

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I forgot to mention, best to take out comprehensive insurance in case you wreck the car. the weather and terrain up north and in the interior is quite wild. In autumn:winter, some roads are not passable at all and you cannot take the car there or the warranty or insurance will be void.

It's true that human wise it's quite safe. Crime rates are low. There was one stop up in the far north I decided to leave my car engine running to keep it warm. I went for a short walk near a waterfall and got lost for nearly two hours in the rapidly worsening snow. I thought I was a goner. When I finally retraced my footsteps, the car was still there. Amazing. Thing is, there was not a single other person for miles around.

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 05:04 PM

Celicar
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The living standard there is extremely expensive compared to ours. A hot dog bun at the petrol kioks similar to Ikea one is about SGD 7 per piece.  A pizza, fish and chip lunch with drinks at their fast food restaurant for 2 persons will cost somewhere between SGD 50-100. 

All this talk makes me very gian to go, although this part about the per meal cost almost made me fall off my chair.Fast food for 100 buckeroos! OMG!!




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