“It is so beautiful that I hate to leave this place”
I kept saying this to my wife as we enjoyed our last breakfast in Longyearbyen, Svalbard before making our way back to the mainland. 4 days is just too short to appreciate Svalbard especially with weather that can change drastically and spoil plans that have been prepared. Nevertheless we had fun dog-sledding in the middle of the night, hiking and ice-caving as well as exploring the Longyearbyen town.
All in all, our #KeHujungDunia mission was a success and we had a lovely visit, but all good things must come to an end. In this post, I will share about our journey leaving Longyearbyen with special focus on the world’s northernmost airport (with scheduled services). I guess this post is for both #AviationGeek as well as #TravelGeek out there 🙂
It’s time to leave “the world’s northernmost full service hotel, the Radisson Blu Longyearbyen.
We had a lovely 3 nights stay and would highly recommending anyone visiting Longyearbyen to stay at this hotel. Good location, good breakfast buffet and good rooms! Click here to get even better rates!
Like any hotels in Svalbard, taking off shoes before entering a building is a must. This is rare to many westerners but for us Asians, it reminded me of home! 🙂
Breakfast with an awesome view.
And of course delicious food!
Stuff that will cost a bomb in Malaysia! 😛
Journey to the airport is a short 10 minutes’ drive. We hopped into a taxi that cost us NOK220 (RM110!)
The cab driver, a friendly guy from Finland, was kind enough to share stories as well as pointed out some nice views on the way to the airport.
The Longyearbyen Airport. Heard many interesting stories from the locals about how interesting flights to and from this airport can be during bad weather. The airport was also listed on Nat Geo as World’s 7 Most Extreme Airports.
Catering to more than 7,000 flights a year, this is quite a busy airport up north in the Arctic. One of the reasons is probably the fact that Longyearbyen can only be accessed by air and sea. Of course sea is not an option during winter months.
The airport is a simple structure but with all the facilities a small airport would have.
The airport is famous for this sign.
A sign showing the distances to far-away cities on earth.
Check in. Smooth and fast. We were checked in for both our Longyearbyen to Oslo flight as well as Oslo to Paris-Orly flight with bags going all the way to Paris. Useful as we had only 50 minutes to transit.
Yes, she is cute. 😛
Ok back to the story.
The security screening at Longyearbyen airport was one fun experience. It was thorough but the security agents were very friendly and asked about our trip. She insisted that we should re-visit Svalbard one day for a longer time which is indeed in my plan.
The best part was the cultural awareness shown by one of the lady agents. My wife was wearing a snow hat instead of hijab/tudung/scarves to cover her hair. Without even us explaining why my wife could not take off the hat for screening, she approached her and asked “if this is part of a religious requirement”. She said it’s ok for her not to take it off as long as she can gently check on it with her hand and handheld device. Perfect.
Now if this happens in Oslo or in major cities, I would understand. But here in Longyearbyen at 78 degrees north and with not many Muslim visitors, it’s amazing that one can be this sensitive towards other religions and cultures. Kudos to the staff of Longyearbyen Airport security. Too bad I could not catch her name but if anyone could pass on this message, it would be awesome.
I did press “Excellent” a few times!
The departure lounge. Large enough to cater the passengers.
Who need TV when you have such view?
A CRJ Registration SE-DUX aircraft of West Air Sweden doing a cargo run. Interestingly at the back, you could see the unique entrance of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. A unique place that I talked about here.
Lufttransport Dornier Do.228 LN-LYR being prepared for a flight. Probably the coolest pushback truck that I have seen at an airport.
Glad that our aircraft reached on-time. When you have a tight transit window, every second counts.
Boarding was straight forward and with heavy hearts, we head towards the aircraft taking us back to mainland.
Not before snapping some of the best aircraft photos that I have ever taken. It was -27 degrees and with winds that brought the temperature even lower, taking a proper photo was not an easy task.
Our postcards making its way to KL!
Last view of Longyearbyen Airport.. Till we meet again.
Just as I thought the view could not be better, I was proven to be wrong. The sight that we saw from our aircraft windows a few seconds after take-off was purely amazing.
Svalbard is a trip to remember full with excitement from the moment that we flew in to all the way when we flew out of Longyearbyen. It’s definitely worth every RM that we spent for this trip. Alhamdulillah.
Our journey continues in Paris (my next blog post) before we head back to KL. To catch up on my earlier #KeHujungdunia stories, click here.