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Old 07-09-2012, 08:44 AM   #16
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Ruriel..
Any recommendations of staying at Ivalo and Helsinki ?
Are the expenses heavy there ?
Mmmm.. you mentioned that you will be following a tour right? Wouldn't they include accommodation for you?

I really highly recommend Saariselkä for a couple of chill out, relaxed nights. The small town is a bus ride away from Ivalo Airport. Or you can grab a cab there (which is, uh, expensive...). It's uber quiet (you hardly hear anything else except the wind) and peaceful. Unless your "neighbour" is having some Finnish drinking party or something -_-;

Don't stay more than 2 nights there though... you'll seriously run out of stuff to do if you don't hike in winter or ski or go for husky rides (which can cost up to EUR100+ per pax). If you have the budget, go for the log cabins as they are definitely better for the experience. Why go all the way to Lapland to stay in a hotel? Most have a real fire place (you need to start it going yourself, of course ) which you can BBQ those sausages that you bought from the nearby supermarket for dinner while watching some DVDs that you bring over yourself.

Gotta take note though... Log cabins are pretty much very expensive... They are usually big, for accommodation for 5-6 pax or even more. The one I stayed before is this. There are others that you can browse on the same site..

For Helsinki, it depends on your budget. I stayed at a friend's place when I was there, so I have no experience in staying at Helsinki's hotels. Generally, you still can find S$100+/night decent hotels in Helsinki. They are just probably a little off from the main train station.

Cost of living in Scandinavia is generally quite high... but not alarmingly high. Euros have dropped quite a fair bit, so I guess it's still manageable for us now. Taxi is expensive. Try to avoid them if you are on a tight budget. I remembered the taxi from Ivalo Airport to that log cabin which I stayed in Saariselka cost about EUR50+ per trip. -___-; Not sure if it's because it was pre-arranged or what... I only jaw-dropped when I see the meter. I'm not the one paying, but still...

Shopping... well they have H&M. I don't usually shop, so I don't know if the prices are any better there. Chocolates - Cheap, if you go after Christmas. They are pretty expensive before Christmas period...

As for food, well.... to put things in perspective, you can take a look at Rosso's menu to see their casual restaurant prices in Finland. It's a franchise that you can find all around Finland. It's not fine dining, just casual... much like Spageddies or Pizza Hut here.

Slightly cheaper eats can be found in small eateries at shopping malls in Helsinki. I found this "Singapore Hot Wok" eatery/cafe at Kamppi when I was there in 2008, and prices are as below:



Yup, it's pretty much expensive for a plate of char kway teow and a cup of Pepsi if you compared it to the prices back home... but their portion was huge. I couldn't finish my "nasi goreng" (essentially just chinese fried rice, not really nasi goreng)...

So hopefully now you get a rough idea of what to expect when you are there...
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:25 AM   #17
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To me, expenses there are really high!
As shown by Ruriel, eat out at "cheap" eatery easily 7-10euros!!
Tough for budget backpackers... even dorm beds in Helsinki is min 20euros per bed!

Ruriel..
Any recommendations of staying at Ivalo and Helsinki ?
Are the expenses heavy there ?
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:59 PM   #18
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ah sorry for the late reply.. by then u have the whole load of information. lol
i only know of a tour group who is specialized in bringing u to see aurora borealis if any ...
Yr itnerary is similiar only that I did not include the ice igloo in.
Plan not certain yet. Yrs is confirmed ?
eiii....i'm targetting at cny period next year. my info so far are in bits and pieces cos very busy with work.
the tour group you mentioned belongs to singapore tour agencies?
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:03 PM   #19
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Mmmm.. you mentioned that you will be following a tour right? Wouldn't they include accommodation for you?

I really highly recommend Saariselkä for a couple of chill out, relaxed nights. The small town is a bus ride away from Ivalo Airport. Or you can grab a cab there (which is, uh, expensive...). It's uber quiet (you hardly hear anything else except the wind) and peaceful. Unless your "neighbour" is having some Finnish drinking party or something -_-;

Don't stay more than 2 nights there though... you'll seriously run out of stuff to do if you don't hike in winter or ski or go for husky rides (which can cost up to EUR100+ per pax). If you have the budget, go for the log cabins as they are definitely better for the experience. Why go all the way to Lapland to stay in a hotel? Most have a real fire place (you need to start it going yourself, of course ) which you can BBQ those sausages that you bought from the nearby supermarket for dinner while watching some DVDs that you bring over yourself.

Gotta take note though... Log cabins are pretty much very expensive... They are usually big, for accommodation for 5-6 pax or even more. The one I stayed before is this. There are others that you can browse on the same site..

For Helsinki, it depends on your budget. I stayed at a friend's place when I was there, so I have no experience in staying at Helsinki's hotels. Generally, you still can find S$100+/night decent hotels in Helsinki. They are just probably a little off from the main train station.

Cost of living in Scandinavia is generally quite high... but not alarmingly high. Euros have dropped quite a fair bit, so I guess it's still manageable for us now. Taxi is expensive. Try to avoid them if you are on a tight budget. I remembered the taxi from Ivalo Airport to that log cabin which I stayed in Saariselka cost about EUR50+ per trip. -___-; Not sure if it's because it was pre-arranged or what... I only jaw-dropped when I see the meter. I'm not the one paying, but still...

Shopping... well they have H&M. I don't usually shop, so I don't know if the prices are any better there. Chocolates - Cheap, if you go after Christmas. They are pretty expensive before Christmas period...

As for food, well.... to put things in perspective, you can take a look at Rosso's menu to see their casual restaurant prices in Finland. It's a franchise that you can find all around Finland. It's not fine dining, just casual... much like Spageddies or Pizza Hut here.

Slightly cheaper eats can be found in small eateries at shopping malls in Helsinki. I found this "Singapore Hot Wok" eatery/cafe at Kamppi when I was there in 2008, and prices are as below:



Yup, it's pretty much expensive for a plate of char kway teow and a cup of Pepsi if you compared it to the prices back home... but their portion was huge. I couldn't finish my "nasi goreng" (essentially just chinese fried rice, not really nasi goreng)...

So hopefully now you get a rough idea of what to expect when you are there...
wow!! nice log cabin you stayed!! i'm still figuring if i should spend a day or 2 at Saariselkä cos i understand the lodgings are quite exp. as for the sledging trips..i'm still trying to determine to take up when i'm at Rovaniemi.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:24 AM   #20
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wow!! nice log cabin you stayed!! i'm still figuring if i should spend a day or 2 at Saariselkä cos i understand the lodgings are quite exp. as for the sledging trips..i'm still trying to determine to take up when i'm at Rovaniemi.
Indeed, the cabin was one of the best accommodation I've ever stayed in during a holiday. The kitchen is fully stocked with any kind of utensils or crockery you can think of. Even salt/flour/etc is available. Coffee machine, toaster, frying pan... There's a built-in Miele dishwasher too. And a Miele washing machine/dryer for your laundry. There's washing powder provided as well. That explains the price, I guess.

If you are going at CNY period, it means that it's almost at the dead of the winter. Gonna be super cold... I was at Rovaniemi two years ago during Christmas, and I remember the temperature at the town square reads -20 degrees...
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:06 PM   #21
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Indeed, the cabin was one of the best accommodation I've ever stayed in during a holiday. The kitchen is fully stocked with any kind of utensils or crockery you can think of. Even salt/flour/etc is available. Coffee machine, toaster, frying pan... There's a built-in Miele dishwasher too. And a Miele washing machine/dryer for your laundry. There's washing powder provided as well. That explains the price, I guess.

If you are going at CNY period, it means that it's almost at the dead of the winter. Gonna be super cold... I was at Rovaniemi two years ago during Christmas, and I remember the temperature at the town square reads -20 degrees...
hehehe~~ya...i know it's the coldest period of all. i think i may wanna take up the challenge

how many layers did you don when you were at Finland?
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:15 AM   #22
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hehehe~~ya...i know it's the coldest period of all. i think i may wanna take up the challenge

how many layers did you don when you were at Finland?
Let me see... I had a tee, a turtle-necked sweater (not wool), and a 2-layer windbreaker (as in it's a wool jacket underneath a windbreaker - they come together. Not sure what's it called ). With a beanie and mittens, of course. I didn't wear any thermal top, but I did put on a thermal pants under my jeans.

Remember wool socks too. Not sure what kind of shoes will you be wearing there... but don't wear sports shoes if you can help it. I bought my shoes there at their dept stores in Helsinki - a very nice pair of all-weather outdoor boots by CAT. The prices for such boots are cheaper there than here, simply because it's kind of a "necessity" there, I think? You can get similar stuff from Timberland here, but a pair easily cost about S$200+, the last I checked...

Be very careful when you walk on the paths and roads. Even though all you see may be snow, there are layers of ice underneath it. Imagine - snow lies on top of road, the temperature rises a little, the snow melts. Then when the temperature dips, the melted snow freezes into ice and fresh snow fall on them, hiding them from view. This cycle repeats and before you know it, you may slip and fall if you weren't careful. Even locals often slip when walking on the road during winter.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:26 PM   #23
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Let me see... I had a tee, a turtle-necked sweater (not wool), and a 2-layer windbreaker (as in it's a wool jacket underneath a windbreaker - they come together. Not sure what's it called ). With a beanie and mittens, of course. I didn't wear any thermal top, but I did put on a thermal pants under my jeans.

Remember wool socks too. Not sure what kind of shoes will you be wearing there... but don't wear sports shoes if you can help it. I bought my shoes there at their dept stores in Helsinki - a very nice pair of all-weather outdoor boots by CAT. The prices for such boots are cheaper there than here, simply because it's kind of a "necessity" there, I think? You can get similar stuff from Timberland here, but a pair easily cost about S$200+, the last I checked...

Be very careful when you walk on the paths and roads. Even though all you see may be snow, there are layers of ice underneath it. Imagine - snow lies on top of road, the temperature rises a little, the snow melts. Then when the temperature dips, the melted snow freezes into ice and fresh snow fall on them, hiding them from view. This cycle repeats and before you know it, you may slip and fall if you weren't careful. Even locals often slip when walking on the road during winter.
Thanks for the great tips!! The first step right now is to source air tickets. Not many airlines fly to Helsinki direct...
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:51 PM   #24
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nah.. i m planning f&E .The tour grp I mentioned is like for photography grp. they takes u to places where the chances of seeing aurora borealis is brighter or higher..

expenses r really high!

Finn air got direct ?

ah my intention is around mid march ?? got to study the moons before confirming..
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Old 13-09-2012, 08:10 AM   #25
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Thanks for the great tips!! The first step right now is to source air tickets. Not many airlines fly to Helsinki direct...
There's only one airline that operates direct flight to Helsinki from Changi Airport as far as I know. Finnair. They code-share with Qantas though, but the flight to HEL is still operated by Finnair.

Do try their apple juice on your way back if you are flying Finnair for both ways. I love their Finnish brand of apple juice onboard.
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Old 13-09-2012, 02:47 PM   #26
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Sorry OT a bit. Anyone been to finland in May during Summer? Nice?
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Old 13-09-2012, 04:56 PM   #27
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Sorry OT a bit. Anyone been to finland in May during Summer? Nice?
Which part of Finland? May is kinda end-spring, not quite summer yet. In Helsinki, its very cool (around 15-20deg max), but not cold, unless you are near the sea. Nice, coz the flowers are blooming / have bloomed. More colours in the city, not as dreary as during winter.

Nice time to grab pre-summer/end-spring sales too.
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Old 14-09-2012, 10:15 AM   #28
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Which part of Finland? May is kinda end-spring, not quite summer yet. In Helsinki, its very cool (around 15-20deg max), but not cold, unless you are near the sea. Nice, coz the flowers are blooming / have bloomed. More colours in the city, not as dreary as during winter.

Nice time to grab pre-summer/end-spring sales too.
Not quite decided yet honestly. Cause still deciding between Finland or to go yo Yellowknife
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Old 18-09-2012, 11:58 PM   #29
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Just bought a package to lapland with universal travel in Feb 12! As compared with the other few agencies, Universal Travel provide us with additional thermals wear and accessories. For us, it is the deal breaker because frankly speaking, - 20degrees is no laughing matter. As excited as i am to the trip, I am still worried if the weather is too harsh for us. We already have the necessary winter clothing ie long john , wool/cashmere sweaters and down jackets. Any more kind advice/tips on preparation for the weather there? Wonder if the cold weather will spoil our holidays =(
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Old 19-09-2012, 08:20 AM   #30
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Just bought a package to lapland with universal travel in Feb 12! As compared with the other few agencies, Universal Travel provide us with additional thermals wear and accessories. For us, it is the deal breaker because frankly speaking, - 20degrees is no laughing matter. As excited as i am to the trip, I am still worried if the weather is too harsh for us. We already have the necessary winter clothing ie long john , wool/cashmere sweaters and down jackets. Any more kind advice/tips on preparation for the weather there? Wonder if the cold weather will spoil our holidays =(
Don't worry too much, as long as you are able to keep your body, head, feet and hands warm, the weather itself will be a fantastic experience. If your ears hurt from the cold wind, just pull down your beanie or pull up the hood from your jacket. Don't waste money on ear muffs - they are more or less useless. Your face will be constantly exposed to the harsh weather though. Nose will leak without you knowing.

Remember to put on body lotion at all times too. Even though you are under layers of clothes, your skin will still dry up from the weather. What I've learnt from my numerous Finland trips is that normal pharmaceutical brands that you can get from Watsons/Guardian are all useless for me. Now I only rely on Khiel's. They have one body lotion (yellowish in colour) that's exceptionally good for extreme dry weather. Super oily (be prepared to see oil floats up in your pail if you hand-wash your clothes when you come back to SG), but at least my skin didn't dry up. Those areas which I put lesser lotion on (I got lazy at some point - slathering body lotion every day from top to toe for 2 weeks is no fun )... I started to see patches of dry skin on them.

Face moisturizing cream is another must - for the lady at least. Remember the rest of your body are at least covered up. Your face however, is exposed to the weather all the time. Normal moisturizing cream that works in aircon conditions here won't work there. At least all the Nivea, Neutrogena etc didn't work. I got Khiel's again, and it worked wonderfully. Same goes for your lips - this one is for everyone. Lip balm is a must... cracked lips are darn painful especially in winter. Normal lip balms are okay-ish... if you don't mind reapplying them every hour. Khiel's lip balm is good (if I'm not wrong, they only have one series.. with different flavours)... super oily (really looks like you've been eating super oily KFC and forgot to wipe your mouth), but at least it stays on slightly longer than normal lip balm coz it's harder to dry up.

All the Khiel's products that I got are kinda useless in SG... they are way too "oily" and thick to be used here, even in aircon environments. But they are really good if you are going to countries with extreme winter conditions. So... it's up to you whether you want to spend that kind of money on some products that you ain't gonna use so often.

Last but not least, this may be common sense to most, but I think I should still say it. During winter, please don't step out with wet or even damp hair. Oh, and please don't lick snow with yellow stains too.
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