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Study Trip

A visit to Iceland Beautiful winter landscape and chance to see Northern Lights

Friday 15 to Sunday 24 November 2019
Leader: Khun Kanitha Kasina-Ubol, Managing Director of The Siam Society

 

Hallgrimskirkja Church, Reykjavik

 

Iceland is a unique destination that offers pristine nature, breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture. Nowhere on earth are the forces of nature more evident than here, where glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, icecaps, tundra, snow-capped peaks, vast lava deserts, waterfalls and active volcanic craters vie for the visitor’s attention. On the cliffs that gird much of the coastline are some of the world’s most crowded sea-bird colonies, and in the summer, the lakes and marshes teem with nesting waterfowl. Superimposed on this wilderness is a tough and independent society, decedents of the farmers and warriors who fled the tyranny of medieval Scandinavia to settle a new and empty country.

With an area of 103,000 sq km, Iceland is the second largest island in Europe. Iceland is a mountainous island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, located between Europe and North America. Though not part of the continental mainland, the country is considered Nordic European. The south-east coast is 798 km from Scotland, the eastern end is 970 km from Norway and the Westijords lie 287 km east of Greenland. The main island, which extends 500 km east to west and 300 km north to south, is roughly duck—shaped, with the head in the Westfjords. Although the northernmost point of the mainland extends to within a few hundred metres of the Arctic Circle, the island of Grímsey off the north coast actually straddles it.

Most of Iceland, a real juvenile among the world’s land masses, is characterised by desert plateaus (52%), lava fields (11%), sandur or ‘sand deltas’ (4%) and glacial icecaps (12%). Over half the country lies above 400m, which is more significant than it sounds given the northerly latitude. The highest point, Hvannadalshnúkur, rises 2119m beneath the glacier Öræfajökull. Only 21% of the land, all near the coast, is considered arable and habitable.

Iceland was first inhabited by Nordic and Celtic people in the 9th century CE - tradition says that the first permanent settler was Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking who made his home where Reykjavik now stands. It is thought that Irish monks had temporarily inhabited the island some years prior to this. The Icelanders still basically speak the language of the Vikings. Iceland has received a great number of immigrants over the last 10 years. In the last 5 years the population of immigrants has doubled. As per 2013, the population came up to 322,000 people. The bulk of Iceland’s population and agriculture is concentrated in the south-west between Reykjavík and Vík.

 

Kirkjufell Mountain

 

During this trip we expect to see the Northern-Lights.

The northern lights - aurora borealis - are often called "magical" by those who have seen them. Vikings of old considered they were reflections from the armour and shields of the gods. The lights form when charged particles from solar flares penetrate the magnetic shield of our planet, and collide with atoms and molecules in our atmosphere. These collisions result in countless bursts of light (photons) which make up the aurora. These lights can be seen across Iceland during the winter months, especially if you are away from urban light pollution AND the night sky is relatively dark.

Bear in mind, though, that although it is dark by 6 pm in winter, it is also a matter of luck whether one may see this natural phenomenon at a particular time

Under the leadership of Khun Kanitha Kasina-Ubol, the Siam Society is arranging an expedition for members to visit Iceland from Friday 15 to Sunday 24 November 2019. This trip will enable you to enjoy the beauty of winter landscape of Iceland, as well as good chance to see Northern lights, the majestic natural phenomenon of the world.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Friday 15 November: Bangkok – Helsinki

7 am Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, check-in at row G for Finnair
9.05 am Depart Bangkok for Helsinki by Finnair flight AY142(duration 10.55 hrs).
3 pm Arrive Helsinki Airport, transfer flight to Reykjavik(Iceland).
4 pm Depart Helsinki for Reykjavik by AY993(duration 3.50 hrs).
6 pm Arrive Keflavik Intl International Airport Reykjavik, transfer to Sand Hotel by Keahotels.
- Dinner at local restaurant.

Day 2: Saturday 16 November: The Golden Circle (Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal hot spring area and Gullfoss)

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9 am Proceed to visit Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO heritage site - place of great historical and geographical significance. Þingvellir is where Iceland’s parliament, the Alþingi, was founded in the year 930, making it the oldest running parliament in the world. It is also a place where two tectonic plates are drifting apart, which can be seen in the cracks and rock fractions which traverse the region.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Continue to see the Geysir geothermal hot spring area, where the hot spring Strokkur ejects its water column high into the air every 5–10 minutes and where numerous small springs boil and bubble. Then continue to see the powerful Gullfoss waterfall, the glacial river Hvítá takes a dramatic 32-metre flow into a canyon, creating the stunning and beautiful waterfall.
Evening: Check in at Hotel Selfoss, dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: Sunday 17 November: Explore the South Coast(Waterfalls and Volcanic beaches)

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9 am Check out of the hotel and proceed to Lava Centre, See the interactive exhibition about Iceland’s unique geology and volcanic activity which evolved over millions of years. After that continue to see the fairytale-like Seljalandsfoss, Experience walking behind the icy cascade and visit the waterfall Skógafoss, measuring the same height (60 metres).
Next, continue to the little village of Vík í Mýrdal, which is famous for black sand beaches.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant at own arrangement in Vík í Mýrdal.
 

Volcanic black sand beach , Vik

Afternoon: Visit the black volcanic beach from where we can view the spectacular rock arch and steep cliffs of along with the Reynisdrangar basalt columns just off the shore.
Continue to Kirkjubaejarklaustur, check in at hotel Klaustur.
Evening: Dinner at the hotel.

Day 4: Monday 18 November: Continue along the south coast to the east (Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon)

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8.30 am Explore the ice highlight of the south, the beautiful Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park, named for Iceland’s largest glacier. Visit Skaftafell and the well-known Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which huge chunks of ice break away from the outlet glacier Breiðamerkurjökull, dropping into the lagoon's still surface where they creak against one another as they move out toward the wide Atlantic Ocean. Next to the glacier lagoon, we will stop at the Diamond Beach to see big chunks of ice that have washed up on shore after being polished in the surf of the glacier lagoon.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Continue to the village of Egilsstadir, on the banks of Lake Lögurinn, in the centre of Eastern Iceland.
- Dinner and overnight at hotel Herad Icelandair in Egilsstaðir area.

Day 5: Tuesday 19 November: To the Moon-Like northern Iceland (Lake Mývatn - Lava Formations – Geothermal & Volcanic Activity)

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8 am Proceed to the northern part of Iceland; visit Ásbyrgi, a horse-shoe-shaped canyon, measures approximately 3.5 km in length and 1.1 km across
After that continue to Mývatn.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Exploring the wonders around Myvatn lake, which is one of Iceland's most interesting regions with fantastic volcanic formations. Visit the Namaskaro pass, the lava formation at Dimmuborgir (Dark Castles) and Skutustaoagigar pseudo craters.
Evening: Dinner and overnight at Fosshótel Mývatn.

Day 6: Wednesday 20 November: Mývatn – Akureyri – Laugarbakki

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8 am Proceed to see the Goðafoss, (the waterfall of the Gods), one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland and continue to the charming town of Akureyri, where we will have free time to stroll in the heart of the city centre.
Noon: Lunch at own arrangement in Akureyri
Afternoon: Continue to the west.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
- Overnight at hotel Laugarbakki in Laugarbakki

Day 7: Thursday 21 November: Snæfellsnes peninsula (west side of Iceland) - Reykjavik

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9 am

Proceed to visit the Snæfellsnes peninsula with its stunning nature beautifully located on the west side of Iceland. The region is renowned for its majestic coastlines, volcanic craters and expansive plateaus of dried lava.

Visit some iconic spots and sites such as the “mountain like an arrowhead”, Kirkjufell, now famous for its backing role in HBO’s popular fantasy series, Game of Thrones, Snæfellsjökull glacier, Gerduberg, a columnar basalt cliff in Hnappadalur valley, and Ölkelda, a natural spring of clean drinking water and visit Hellnar and Arnastapi with its unique rock formations and its extraordinary shores and spectacular scenery.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed back to Reykjavik.
Evening: Check in at Sand Hotel by Keahotels. Dinner at own arrangement.

Day 8: Friday 22 November: Reykjavik

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9 am Sightseeing  of  Reykjavik, Capital City of Iceland.
Visit the Hallgrimskirkja church, the largest church in Iceland, the University of Iceland area and the old town center, where the Icelandic parliament Althingi and the town hall are situated, the presidential residence at Bessastadir, the fish market in Hafnarfjordur and the Perlan, a landmark building in Reykjavík. The Perlan is 25.7 metres high and was originally designed by Ingimundur Sveinsson. It is situated on Öskjuhlíð hill where there have been hot water storage tanks for decades that hold the city's hot water supply.
- Proceed to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Noon: Lunch at restaurant in the Blue Lagoon.
Afternoon: Optional: Recommend to swim and take a relaxing bath at The Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon has warm water with natural active ingredients; mineral salts, silica and blue green algae help you relax and unwind while the white silica mud gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin. Cost for entrance fee to the swimming pool is extra, you can pay on spot.
Evening: Dinner at own arrangement.

Day 9: Saturday 23 November: Reykjavik – Helsinki – Bangkok

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8 am Transfer to Reykjavik Keflavik Airport.
10.20 am Depart Reykjavik to Helsinki by AY992(duration 3.35 hrs).
3.50 pm Arrive Helsinki Airport, transfer for flight to Bangkok.
4.50 pm Depart Helsinki to Bangkok by AY141 (duration 9.30 hrs).

Day 10: Sunday 24 November: Bangkok

7.25 am Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

 

Icelandic horse

Booking

THB 143,000 (THB 146,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge THB 27,000. A deposit of THB  50,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 60 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Sunday 15 September 2019)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively, you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be canceled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

In order to make the trip possible, at least 15 participants are required.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), airfares, personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

Airfares are not included in the price, but for those who would like us to book and buy their tickets it can be arranged at the time of booking.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

60 days before the start of the trip:                                                  Deposit forfeited
60-30 days before the start of the trip                                              50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:                               No refund

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received. Please book your place as soon as possible. Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.