The Europe Itinerary Part 5     

I should be reaching Paris on the morning of Day 5. This mean I need to catch the earliest train from Geneva to Paris. The reason I’ve chosen train instead of flight is because my hostel in Geneva is just 10 minutes walk from the Main Train Station. This will save me some time and money travelling to the airport, especially in the morning hours. To book your train ticket, check out the Europe Speed Trains here. The earliest train departs at 0717 from Geneva, arriving at Paris Gare De Lyon (GDL) by 1051. The entire journey took around 3.5 hours.

For the next 48 hours, I will be focusing my visit in Paris. The first thing that popped up my mind was commuting within the city. My plan was to see as much as possible of the city, and also to visit the usual tourist attractions like Eiffel Tower, Lourve Museum, Arc De Triomphe, and Notre Dame. I need a fairly cheap “unlimited” metro travel pass. The reason to go for a travel pass is money-saving and to avoid the hassle of queuing to buy ticket (that’s such a waste of time!).

For backpacker like myself, you would either go for a Mobilis Card or Paris Visite Pass. Mobilis Card is a one-day unlimited travel (based on zones) pass using Metro, RER (Regional Express Networks) and bus. Paris Visite however, offers extra saving/discount on specific attractions in Paris. Both passes is an initiative from RATP, a transit operator responsible for public transportation in Paris. If you plan to visit Paris for more than 4 days, I would recommend you to get a Paris Pass instead. The Paris Pass offer you even more saving in terms of attractions, bus tour, free entry to museums, etc.

Well let’s start planning my own tour! First thing first when I reach Paris, check into my hostel, keep my luggage, wash up and have some rest. Next, I need some foods to keep me up and running! Heading to the Lourve Museum will be next, spending perhaps 3-4 hours, then proceed to the Eiffel Tower for sunset. I’m not planning to go up the tower, hence I will be taking pictures and wondering around until evening. Time for dinner by then, perhaps a quick meal, then I will be heading to Arc De Triomphe and Champs Elysees. By then, it should be just in time for a cabaret show at Lido until midnight. Lastly, returning to my hostel for a good rest.

Next morning, I’ve planned to visit the Paris Bibliotheque Library, then heading to Notre Dame before coming back to check out from my hostel. Then I need to find a way to store my luggage, either at the hostel or train station. Probably a quick lunch then will be heading to Versailles Palace (zone 4) for 2-3 hours (i know it’s not enough). Back to central Paris after that, I will be heading straight to the tallest building in Paris – Montparnese Tower, hopefully to catch sunset in Paris. Last destination perhaps would be Sacré-Cœur (pronounced as “Sack-kray-co-r”), and then heading to Gare Du Nord to catch the last train to London.

Some hidden tips of this planned itinerary:

  1. Buy a Travel Pass when you reach Paris
  2. Visit all attractions in one area, then only visit the next – Avoid wasting time traveling in and out the same area.
  3. Choose an accommodation that is close to airport, train or metro station – I’ve booked Le Regent Montmartre (Very close to Sacré-Cœur, Anvers Metro and fairly close to GDN).
  4. Store/Keep your luggage near your last stop – you can pick them up before you depart (you don’t want to carry your luggage around?).
  5. Make good use of your Travel Pass – I will be getting discount for Lido, Montparnese Tower, Arc De Triomphe and Bateaux Parisiens (River Cruise – if I have enough time).
  6. Book, pay and print out your cross-country train ticket at least 1 month earlier – ensure cheaper price and availability.

Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 4:09 pm. Add a comment

The Europe Itinerary Part 4     

Day 3 scheduled back at Interlaken around evening, I might have some time to travel around the town and takes some photos before sunset. Moving on to Day 4, what I initialliy planned was a trip down to Geneva and take an evening train to Paris; arriving at Paris by night, check-in a hotel and have a good rest. However, I found out that staying a night at Paris actually cost me 60% more expensive than staying a night at Geneva (a hint for budget travellers)! Hence, I decided to stay a full day at Geneva for Day 4, then travel to Paris on Day 5 in the early morning (probably taking the earliest train).

Taking into consideration I have approximately 10 hours of “day-time” in Switzerland, let’s plan what I can do along the journey from Interlaken to Geneva. The train route I will be taking is most probably from Interlaken to Montreux (GoldenPass Line), then routed to Geneva via Lausanne (Inter-City or Inter-Regio). Below is my planned itinerary for Day 4.

The Golden Pass Line has it’s schedule published here, I reckon you to check out the schedule before planning your itinerary. From the above itinerary, we see that it take 3 hours to travel from Interlaken to the northern tip of Lake Geneva. Then we planned to stop by for lunch and a short walking tour around Montreux town. Our next destination would be Chexbres, a wine-growing village located in the district of Lavaux, Swiss. We estimated an hour walking tour around the village, photo-taking and wine tasting perhaps.

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Following Chexbres will be Lausanne, the Olympics town! As you would noticed my itinerary having Lausanne highlighted as optional stop-by (blue rows), this is because I would like to make my itinerary more flexible, allowing me to decide there and then. Then the 2 pink rows will be my alternative, if I decided not to stop by Lausanne and heading straight to Geneva. You would also noticed the orange rows, yet another alternative if I decided not to stop by Chexbres and Lausanne. The reason behind was to allow me enough time to check-in hostel at Geneva before sunset by around 1846. Also, if I reach Geneva late, I will not have enough time to tour around Geneva!

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Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 5:24 am. Add a comment

The Europe Itinerary Part 1     

It was a quick decision made to visit Europe during autumn 2009. The AirAsia promotional airfare (during Oct 08) from KUL – STN was so attractive that I’ve made the booking immediately! That leave me roughly 11 months to plan and prepare for the trip. It was just a 8 days trip, and I have decided to go to 3 specific places (and countries) on backpack! The first thing to plan your itinerary: (1) Lock down your destination(s).

I’ve been studying and working in London for 3 years, hence staying longer in the UK was not my plan. I would just estimate my stay in London for 2 days (6 days left). My next preferred destination was Interlaken, and of course Jungfraujoch (pronounced as Yong-Frau-York) in Switzerland. This was the place I have missed out from my last visit to Switzerland 5 years ago, and I’m definitely heading to the Alps this time! Last but not least, Paris is a romantic destination you cannot miss if you are travelling with your partner.

Once you have picked your destinations, (2) draft your travel route in a map, it’s as easy as joining the dots! Google Map offer a good way to start. Plotting your travel route in a map will let you have a general idea of where you will be going, and it also let your friends and family know your whereabouts during the trip. Below is my travel map.

If you have noticed, Interlaken is not plotted in the map. Sometimes, the place you wanted to go may not have airport for you to reach there. The nearest airport is either Berne, Zurich or Geneva; and perfectly, Interlaken was situated in between these Swiss city! I have decided to fly to Zurich and head south towards Interlaken and Geneva.

Interlaken is the entry point for most visitors to Jungfraujoch – the top of Europe, I did some homework to find out the local attractions and tour packages. Most tour suggested that Jungfraujoch is a full day excursion, that would make my stay for at least 2 nights in Interlaken (3 days left).

My next focused destination is Paris, France. From Interlaken to Paris, I found out we have 2 possible routes: Berne-Paris via train or Geneva-Paris via flight (or train). Travel via rail is obviously cheaper than flight, but it takes longer time, often 1-2 hours more. Besides that, I have to check the timetable for the best possible schedule according to my itinerary.

My initial plan does not include Berne as a travel point. Now I have to find out what I can do in Berne versus Geneva, and then decide where I should depart from Switzerland to France.  I have been to Berne in my previous trip, it’s the capital of Switzerland, a beautiful medieval town with cobblestone streets. Geneva on the other hand, has a diverse history dating back to the Protestant Reformation. Situated along the banks of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps, Geneva is a paradise for landscape photographers!

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While I have no decision yet whether to depart from Berne or Geneva, let’s continue my planning on Paris. I would like to know what attractions we have in Paris, google search result returns with tons of places to visit in Paris. Estimate stay for 2 nights in Paris (0 days left).

Below is my drafted itinerary so far. Continue with Part 2.

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 6:46 am. 2 comments