Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Back from Ivalo, Finland

It has been a satisfying 2 weeks "rest" for me at Ivalo. Why I indicated inverted commas is because I did more strenuous activities at Ivalo than what I had tried in Singapore. :)

Finland is a place where everyone should go. The air is fresh, and the land is so big with so little people per sq km. It's only there where you can appreciate the advantages of having more personal space. It's also only there where you can appreciate the true sound of silence. It has a calming, soothing effect on you. If you wish to join in activities such as Skiing, Snow Shoeing, Snow mobile driving and Husky safari, it is best to also go there when you're young. The activities are pretty strenuous. My arms were sore within the first 2 days of arriving at Nellim, Ivalo. :)

If you're interested in going to Ivalo via Singapore, Finnair will be the most economical airline to take and it will handle all the transits for you. Based on my research, Finnair seems to be the only airline that handles the internal domestic flights so it will be better if you're taking the same airline all the way. I personally believe it will reduce the risk of your luggage being "misplaced". :)

It's about 11 and a half hours journey to Helsinki, and another 1 and a half hour flight from Helsinki to Ivalo. Yes, you will get leg cramps so don't be shy in walking around the airplane. You will need it.

The transit is pretty smooth. The map of how to transit to your next flight can be found at your seat pocket. You will just need to pass one border security point (just a check on your passport and air ticket) to the transit area.  When I arrived at Helsinki, we were at gates 32 - 40 in Terminal 2, which is the smaller area of the terminal. However, do take note that there are certain shops such as the Stockman shop at that area sells pretty unique stuff that are different from the Stockman shop at the other side of terminal 2, so do your shopping before crossing over through the border security. Do also note that the Santa shop is only found at that smaller area of Terminal 2.

There are a couple of things to take note in Helsinki Airport. First thing is that the duty free shops are only meant for international travelers. Meaning that if you're there to transit to a domestic flight, you're not eligible to buy anything in the duty free shop. If you're flying back to Singapore, then you can buy things in the duty free shop. From what I can see, there are 3 duty free shops within terminal 2, one of which is situated at the smaller section of terminal 2 (e.g. gates 32 - 40). One of the duty free shops will close at 830pm but the other 2 were open till quite late, so do not worry too much.

Having said that, it brings me to the second thing you will need to take note. Almost all the shops will close from 8 - 830pm, with the exception of certain cafes, duty free shops, and the Santa shop to name a few. So if you wish to do your shopping, make sure you go to those shops before 8pm to stand a chance of getting something. I was not aware of the closing time so there were a number of shops that we did not get to explore when we were waiting at Helsinki airport for our transit flight. They are open pretty early though. Most shops were opened when we were there at about 6+am.

There is free Wi-fi at Helsinki Airport, and Ivalo airport (after you checked-in). Just look for the Wifi access point that starts with "Free Wi-Fi ... ...".

Ivalo airport however, is a different story altogether. Below is the picture of Ivalo airport and the Ivalo airfield.

In another words, the Ivalo domestic airport is super small. I personally believe that the airport could only contain 1 airplane, which is the plane that I will be flying on. :)

There is practically nothing at Ivalo airport and the shops and service counter will only open 2 hours before the next flight (whether it's arrival or departing) so do not bother arriving there too early. There is practically nothing you can do at the domestic airport (except for sleeping) if you're there too early. The main crowd only came streaming in at around 1 and a half hours before departure. The free Wi-fi as explained earlier is only available once you checked-in, so are the food and drinks which is not very cheap. :) Personally I feel that the shops at Helsinki airport sells the stuff much cheaper but my friend said that there are certain items that are cheaper at Ivalo.

I will write more about my "adventures" at Ivalo in my subsequent posts. Stay tuned. :)


Anonymous said...

hi! Happen to chance upon your blog while searching for Finland vacations. I read all your posts about it and it seems really awesome! May I ask how much did you spend in total for it?

chantc said...

About 5k per person if I recall correctly. 3 of us went for the trip.

Anonymous said...

Hi, read about your great trip in Finland and would like to find our more:

1. Package by the Wilderness Hotel - how many nights did you stay? And which package did you take up? The Reindeer Safari at Saariselkä is a top-up in additional to the package?

2. How did you travel between Helsinki, Inari, Ivalo and Rovaniemi?

3. Do you remember how much was your air ticket from SG to Finland - did you book for multiple cities?

Thanks much!

chantc said...

Apologies. Missed this comment.

You can check the latest pricing from Wilderness Hotel site. It may have increased. The reindeer safari was also arranged by them and it's a top-up if i recall correctly

From helsinki to Ivalo, it was a domestic flight. We did not stop at helsinki at all. If you take Finnair, there should be an option. For the rest, Wilderness hotel handled the rest. You have to call taxi from the hotel because there will be no taxis on the roads.

I can't remember the air ticket pricing but it may be irrelevant now. Different timing different pricing. Best to check out from Finnair website

Anonymous said...

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Visit Finland said...

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