Even though I’m finding it harder and harder to earn money, somehow by the fair laws of the universe and in the opposite parallel of things, it is getting cheaper and cheaper to travel!
I just heard that Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has launched special introductory fares for its new daily service from Singapore to Zurich that will commence on 13 May 2013.
An Economy Class flight from Singapore-Zurich starts from S$679 before taxes, S$705 after taxes. Sounds like an awesome deal to me – This is a return flight, including baggage!
If you’re a creature of high-class comfort, a round trip in Business Class is available from S$3705 and offers the innovative SWISS Business Class seats that eases into a 2-metre lie-flat bed.
Seeing is believing – I went to check out the prices on the SWISS website myself. It was really as rock-bottom as the headlines claimed.
And then, being the cynic I am, I cross-checked it with SkyScanner just to be sure.
SkyScanner.com doesn’t lie. This is a really good deal!
5 things a Singaporean might find special in Switzerland:
1) SKI, SNOW AND SCENERY
I didn’t go to/have never been to Zurich, but Switzerland is breathtaking in general and I had a snowball of a time there in Nov 2011.
Disclaimer: This was definitely one of my favourite places when I was backpacking around Europe alone in Nov 2011 and I don’t regret going, but November is not a particularly popular time to visit nor a good time to ski.
Trekking around Europe with my hardy Timberlands, courtesy of Timberland Singapore.
Whether you want to see flowers or frozen rivers, Switzerland will show it to you. I like the cold and love the winter, but I made a lot of friends along the way who shared that summer is also a good time to visit Switzerland if you want a slightly warmer holiday.
The Swiss Franc (Swiss currency) is rather strong and certain parts of Switzerland can be pretty pricey. In November 2011, I made an impulse decision to go to Zermatt – one of the best ski-towns in Switzerland. (“Best” also means that it is popular and expensive.) I could see the world-famed Matterhorn everyday as I walked to the town and around.
Skiing in the Swiss alps was a once-in-my-lifetime experience for two reasons… It was breathtaking, and it broke the bank.
Expect to pay for a skiing holiday:
– Ski lessons (Don’t take lessons in Switzerland – learn to ski somewhere cheaper like Australia, and then go to Swizerland when you actually know how to ski).
– Equipment rental (which you have to carry all the way to the top of the mountain by yourself, by the way)
– Ski lift pass (Check the weather forecast because these can be non-refundable)
Don’t plan on skiing? No problem. You will probably spend your money on something else. A simple sandwich or burger there cost about 30 Swiss Francs ($39 Singapore dollars)… I re-used part of my breakfast as lunch everyday.
“Oh shit! S$39 for a lunch sandwich!?” I hear you cursing already. Don’t worry, there are ways around this. Read my next point.
3) EASY TO PACK A BACKPACK
Even though food and cost of living is expensive, you can buy your own rations (instant noodles!) from the supermarkets. As souvenirs from Switzerland for my friends in Singapore, I stocked up on supermarket chocolate.
There was another ‘kiasu’ Asian family before me who brought home even more –
I get the cheese and sausages. But seriously, you’re bringing back bread?!
Switzerland is no anarchy and there is every reason to celebrate its cleanliness and orderly society.
It started out on a search with this napkin note…
And it ended with me trying out glu-wine over a meal with some of the most wonderful people I could have met in the town of Zermatt.
This city works like a perfect clockwork – it had the most helpful and honest citizens I encountered anywhere in Europe, train-times were never delayed nor a second late (unlike the rest of Europe), and every inch in the city looked like it had been sweeped – twice.
4) TRY A HOSTEL
No one usually wants to stay in hostels, but the ones in Switzerland are so clean that they look like hotels. (The floors are clean enough to walk around with socks on, and the toilets aren’t terrible at all.)
Money saver tip: My hostel included breakfast AND dinner in its nightly accomodation cost.
Switzerland isn’t cheap, but it is definitely one of the most comfortable and safest places for backpackers.
Zurich seems promising, but there are plenty of other beautiful areas in Switzerland to visit and things to do. You can also easily take a train from Zurich to other parts of Switzerland (again, this is not cheap. Expect S$40-$140 train trip ticket prices, not SMRT prices).
If I had the chance to go back to Switzerland again, I would. I would love to experience Berne, The Chateau de Chillon Montreux, Interlaken, Lausanne, Lauterbrunnen, Lake Lucerne, Jungfrau (one of the highest mountains in Europe), Lugano, and the village of Gruyeres – if you have a chance to visit Switzerland and you skip all of these places, I will smack you.
Obviously, as suggested by the beginning of this section, taking a train is definitely the best way to get around.
With cross-country trains, you don’t even have to get off for immigration and custom checks – THEY get onboard to check you. Too easy.
The Bernina Express – One of the most famous and scenic train-routes in the world.
Train tip: Some trains are fast, and some move slow (in Europe, they call it “scenic”). Don’t forget to pack food and water along for long journeys.
To enjoy these unbelievably low fares from Singapore to Zurich, travellers must purchase their tickets between 14 January 2013 and 28 January 2013. Travel period is from 13 May 2013 to 30 November 2013. Terms and conditions apply. From my quick checks online, it seems like this applies to other Singapore-to-other-parts-of-Europe flights too.
Special priced flights from Singapore to Europe with SWISS International Air Lines:
Amsterdam from SGD 823.-
Barcelona from SGD 804.-
Brussels from SGD 819.-
Copenhagen from SGD 808.-
Frankfurt from SGD 978.-
Geneva from SGD 717.-
London (LHR) from SGD 1020.-
Madrid from SGD 806.-
Malaga from SGD 791.-
Manchester from SGD 991.-
Milan (MXP) from SGD 809.-
Munich from SGD 1099.-
Nice from SGD 815.-
Paris (CDG) from SGD 827.-
Prague from SGD 808.-
Rome (FCO) from SGD 822.-
Tel Aviv from SGD 802.-
Venice from SGD 802.-
Vienna from SGD 874.-
Zurich from SGD 679.-
Wanderlusting on the SWISS website…
Singapore to Nice – now seriously affordable.
Flight tip: When booking flights online, not all of them are always direct flights. Double check your flight dates and timings, especially to ensure that there isn’t too much or too little time in between stopovers.
Life is short – visit Europe.
Start planning and booking your 2013 getaway with special airfare deals like this one at SWISS.
I haven’t written a lot about it, but you can check out my blog category EUROPE for more snippets of my 1 month Europe-alone adventure from October-November 2011, backpacking from Barcelona-Venice-Cinque Terre-Florence-Pisa-Rome-Milan-Zermatt Switzerland-London-Edinburgh Scotland.