Thursday, September 7, 2017

7 Reasons You Should Rent A Car in Norway

       If you know me, this is not how I usually blog. Most of the time, I’ll go on with a statement that sounds like this: taking the public transport is the best way to experience a country…. I love bus rides and scenic train rides, and after my trips around America with Amtrak and Megabus, Italy with buses, all around Europe with Interrail, Russia with trains... Do you think this time I will recommend train or bus in Norway as well? Lo and behold, not his time, not in Norway.  
Norway National Tourist Routes
       To be fair, if you are planning to stick to the big cities, using public transport only would be fine. However, if you do not plan to visit the fjord and the countrysides, ask yourself this: why do you come to Norway? 

Here are 7 reasons why you should ditch public transport in Norway. 
1. Public Transport in Norway is expensive. 

     Let me give you an example. 
The cheapest point-to-point train ticket from Oslo to Bergen cost 449 NOK
while the cheapest  bus ticket (with transfer) from NSB cost 498NOK
     Now let’s rent a car for 7 days… if you book early from Argus Car Hire (1 month in advance), it’ll cost 2211 NOK. Hence, it will be 315 NOK per day… so even if you are doing this road trip alone, it’ll still be so much cheaper. Of course, you’ll have to pay for road tolls and petrol… but the bonus point is, you get a lot of flexibility. Besides, if you have travel buddies, the cost of renting a car could be less than 100 NOK per day
Norway train
 Train Tickets
Norway bus
Bus Tickets
Norway car rental
car rental 

2. Rail coverage.

     Sparse is not the correct word, but the rail system in Norway is not as extensive as the western Europe. As you can see in the screenshot I attached below, all the railways focus on the east and as for the west coast, only Bergen and Stavanger have railway stations, and most importantly, there is no direct train in between these 2 stations
Norway rail
     Sure, you might argue that there are ferries and you can use a bus-ferry combination to go from Bergen to Stavanger. Fine, but that’s a lot of hassle
     When I was resting in the lobby area in my hotel in Stavanger, I overheard a conversation between 2 groups of elderly visitors. A group was talking about their experience being “scammed” by a bus company. Apparently, they booked a bus tour to the Pulpit Rock but the bus stopped at the ferry terminal so they spent a lot of money (besides paying the bus tour company) taking the ferry and then stranded at the other side… eventually decided to miss the hike. Another group commented that they should not leave the bus because the bus might just be making the quick stop to pick up more passengers. That is what I thought, a rational explanation is that these group of tourist were confused… and the driver didn’t stop them from leaving the bus maybe because he didn’t keep track of the passengers. Well, I can’t tell. 

3. A car is the best way to travel in the countrysides. 

     Because even though you’ve arrived in Bergen using public transport, you still need to change to a bus or cruise to bring you to the fjords.  


4. You’ll have all the freedom and flexibility 

     With such a breathtaking view all around, it is natural wanting to stop every 5 minutes and your shutter button goes off like a castanet… riding the bus or train means you are completely ripped off of this privilege. 

5. Time is always on your side

     For some people, the unforgettable view of the golden hour is what makes a trip truly epic. With the sun setting at 11 pm and rising at 2 in the morning, one cannot rely on public transport. 

6. Lower accommodation fees

     I believe all of us know well enough that the cheapest accommodation options usually located far away from the touristy spots. In some case, it might be out of town. Hence, a rental car is a rational splurge considering how much you can save n accommodation. 

7. Driving here is not too difficult.

     If you are fine with driving at the right side, driving in Norway is pretty easy because the roads are all well-maintained. Some even look brand new to me! Also, there isn’t too much traffic on the road, maybe due to high car and fuel prices… However, I admit that driving through the tunnels and hairpin turns is adrenaline inducing
Norway highway

To understand more, please read the next blog post: 

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Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!

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