Our Svalbard tour from India

Hey readers, I am Shwetha Ungaman, from Kerala, India. I would like to thank Lestac for providing me with the platform to express our experience of the Svalbard tour from India. To be very honest, before June 2023, we were not aware that there was even a place called Svalbard. Now we are happy and proud that we visited it in January 2024.Venkat and I got married in December 2023, and we were planning our honeymoon, but we were not aware that a small discussion on the phone would take us to Svalbard.I will tell you how.

Our Svalbard tour from India

Well, let me continue from where I stopped. Venkat and I were looking for a destination that was uncommon and exciting. There was a big no to Bali, Singapore, Dubai, Thailand, and Bla Bla Bla. Even though we never visited these places, we never wanted to visit them before. We were looking at the Globe while sitting in a restaurant in Kerala to find out a place that interests us the most. That moment, we decided to check packages for Northern Lights in Finland.

Well, now was the time to search for a travel agency or company to get more information about it. We started researching and checked with some local agencies through Just Dial; however, those were not confident and knowledgeable, particularly Lapland tours. So we have had many questions, but most of the agencies did not have answers. They used to take a lot of time to come back to us with answers that we understood, and it was not their cup of tea.

Then Venkat asked me to check online and find out if there were any professionals to talk to. After a few searches here and there, we visited a news article on the print that tells about Lestacworld being a reputed agency for Finland tour packages. We then decided to get in touch with Lestacworld for our Finland tour.

About the call that made us decide on Svalbard tour from India

Well, to be precise, by then we had already had more than 10 calls with different agencies. I still remember being called back by Ridhima from the Indian team of Lestacworld. We started putting our points forward and were again and again telling her that we wanted something different. We don’t want to visit a place where we are surrounded by people of the same nationality. She initially started explaining to us about Finland, but then suddenly she said, “If you really want to do something different, then why Finland? Why not Svalbard?”. Venkat’s reaction was, “Which country is this? Is it Europe? I have never heard about it.”. This is the time we came to know about it and started researching.

After some wise research, I asked Venkat,Do you think we can go for it?” and his answer was, “I want to go for it.”. Our journey to Svalbard from India actually started here.

Why Our Journey to Svalbard from India actually started 6 months before

I also consider planning a journey, and that is more exciting. Svalbard was not known to our parents at all, and they too started researching.When you do research on Google, it focuses on how harsh the winters are and how deadly the polar bears are, and in January there is not going to be any daylight.Usually people remain inside the houses, and there are more polar bears than humans.

Well, our parents are usually understanding, but they did not want us to go to this place.But Venkat had already decided, and he is a stubborn ass.

The other problem on my mind was the harshest winters. We are from Kerala, the southernmost part of India, and we are used to living in a coastal place.Even my ancestors have never experienced this cold.

Well, Venkat wanted to do it; how can I put him down? We went ahead with the help of Lestacworld, especially Ridhima.

Some important points to keep in mind when you are planning a trip to Svalbard from India

  • Get a double-entry or multiple-entry Schengen visa. Svalbard does not come under the Schengen regime, even though it comes under Norwegian regulations.Usually, flights from New Delhi to Svalbard have a layover in Oslo.Mostly, I think, if anyone is planning a trip to Svalbard from India, they will always visit other places in Norway, Sweden, or Finland.Depending on your itinerary, you would mostly need a multi-entry Schengen visa. Better mention this clearly while filling out VFS forms, and do not forget to attach a clear itinerary. By the way, you won’t need a visa for Svalbard.
  • Don’t expect high-end hotel services. Usually, there are hotels in Longyearbyen. Don’t expect it to be high-end; they will give you comfort but not luxury, even though you will be paying a high price.
  • Be prepared for the dark if you are travelling in the winter. If it is winter, like for us, forget daylight until you are in Svalbard.It seems not to be an issue from here, but trust me, after a while, it becomes the most depressing thing.One should be fully prepared for it.
  • Be prepared to have expensive food. You are not going to get “Sasta wala food” here. It is going to be expensive, and that is for obvious reasons.
  • Include other Schengen destinations as well. What we were told by Ridhima was true: if you are travelling from India, make Svalbard a part of your trip and not the only destination. Our itinerary included Trmoso, Oslo, and Svaalbard. Initially, we were convinced on adding Iceland also; however, we were short on time.
  • Proper clothing. I think this is the most obvious when you are travelling to Svalbard.Cloth management is a must, whether it is summer or winter.

Our itinerary, which included Svalbard tour from India

  • Day 1: Arrival at Oslo from Delhi + Free day to Explore on own
  • Day 2: Oslo walking city tour (4 hours)
  • Day 3: Checkout from Oslo + Train from Oslo to Flam + Checkin + Free Day
  • Day 4: Checkout and Balestrand
  • Day 5: Checkout + Geiranger
  • Day 6: Checkout and Alesund
  • Day 7: Exploration of Alesund
  • Day 8: checkout + Flight to tromso
  • Day 9 : Tromso City tour + Northern lights
  • Day 10: Checkout + flight to Longyearbyen (Svalbard)
  • Day 11: City tour + Northern lights hunt
  • Day 12: Checkout and Departure to Oslo
  • Day 13: Checkout and Departure to India

Our Experience in Svalbard

Well, everything was perfectly managed by Lestacworld in Svalbard and other places as well. Our hotel was genuine; we had amazing options for breakfast; it was totally dark all the time, which gave us a different feel. The Northern Lights hunt in the chilling cold was an amazing experience. It is because we went in winters that we were not able to explore other habitats; however, if it had been summers, we could have explored those. There are no regrets, as we were already aware of this decision.Lovely experience.

Where do you stay in Svalbard?

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and the administrative center of Svalbard. It serves as the capital of the archipelago.

Do Indians need a visa to visit Svalbard?

No, Indians do not need a visa to visit Svalbard; however, in order to travel from India to Svalbard, in most cases, a Schengen visa would be required.

Weather in Svalbard?

Svalbard has a polar climate, characterized by cold temperatures throughout the year. Winters are long and extremely cold, while summers are short with cool temperatures. The archipelago experiences polar day (24 hours of sunlight) in the summer and polar night (24 hours of darkness) in the winter.

What is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed bank located on the island of Spitsbergen. It serves as a global repository for preserving a wide variety of plant seeds in case of a global catastrophe. The facility is built deep inside a mountain to ensure the preservation of seeds even in extreme conditions.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Svalbard?

Yes, Svalbard is an excellent place to witness the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), especially during the winter months when the nights are long and dark. The lack of light pollution enhances the visibility of the auroras.Me and Venkat were lucky enough to witness it both days.

What activities can you do in Svalbard?

Popular activities in Svalbard include dog sledding, snowmobiling, glacier hiking, and boat trips. In the summer, you can experience the unique phenomenon of the midnight sun and engage in activities like hiking, bird watching, and exploring the glaciers.

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