Vivid headgears worn by Minorities @ Sapa Market

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Mango dessert sold in Hoi Lau San @ Yau Ma Tei


Rare glimpse of Proboscis Monkey @ Bako National Park


A Blue & White (青花) Vase displayed @ Forbidden City


Decided to visit Jungfrau (少女峰) with my colleagues on 07 Aug (Sat). Translated literally to be Virgin or Maiden in German, Jungfrau is one of the main summits in the Bernese Alps located in middle of Switzerland. The construction of the Jungfraujoch railway has made visits to Jungfrau easy. Now Jungfrau is considered to be one of the most symbolic sights of the Swiss Alps.

Together with the Aletsch Glacier forming Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area, Jungfrau was listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

Lauterbrunnen station

Bought our return train tickets (2nd Class) only days before the trip and the cost was CHF 129.90 per person (after discount from SBB ½ fare card).

Took an early train from Neuchâtel at 0701 hours till we reached Bern at 0752 hours. We then interchanged to another train at 0804 hours to Interlaken Ost. At 0905 hours, we then took another train at Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen station. When arrived at 0925 hours, we didn’t get off from the train as it would continue to Kleine Scheidegg station. In contrast to us sitting comfortably, many tourists at Lauterbrunnen station were eagerly waiting to board the train (photos below). Even when boarded, most of them would have to stand in the train till Kleine Scheidegg station.

At 0939 hours, the train departed Lauterbrunnen station and moved up towards the steep mountain . Along the way, Lauterbrunnen Valley together with Lauterbrunnen Wall and faint streams of Staubbach Falls could be seen from the train. This formed the first scenic view of the train journey (photos below).

The train stopped briefly at Wengen station before climbing up to Kleine Scheidegg station where more majestic sceneries of snow-capped mountains could be observed (photos below).

Kleine Scheidegg station

At this station (photos below), all passengers would need to change to Jungfrau Railway, or Jungfraubahn in German, to continue the journey up to Jungfraujoch. Kleine Scheidegg station is an interchange train station where all passengers traveling to the Jungfraujoch, or between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, must change trains at this station.

At 1030 hours, Jungfrau railway train departs from this station following the route: Kleine Scheidegg - Eigergletscher - Eigerwand - Eismeer – Jungfraujoch. This time it would offer a more scenic view of the mountains at a higher altitude (photos below).

Eismeer station

The train now entered into the mountains and stopped for 5 minutes each at Eigerwand and Eismeer stations. I decided to get off from train at Eismeer station to explore around. All passengers would walk through the dark tunnels (left photo below) to reach a series of windows (right photo below). From the photo it seems like visitors were admiring the painting of the mountains instead of looking through the windows.

Through the panel of windows, visitors were able to view the magnificent Grindelwald-Fiescher Glacier (photo below).
After a quick peep of the mountains, I then walked back to the train and realized the seat I used to occupied was taken (left photo below). Wasn’t disappointed at all because it was the last section of journey before the train reached its final station: Jungfraujoch (right photo below) at 1122 hours.

Jungfraujoch station

At 3,454 meters above sea level, Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe and hence its claim 'Top of Europe' (left photo below). Along the station walkway was a bust of Adolf Guyer-Zeller – initiator of Jungfrau railway (right photo below) to commemorate his contributions to this railway. Without him, all visitors won't be able to sit comfortably to reach Jungfraujoch.

The 'Top of Europe' is in fact a high-altitude building which was connected via tunnels to Jungfraujoch station, the Sphinx Observatory, several restaurants, a permanent exhibition and Europe's highest-altitude post office.

Sphinx Observatory

We decided to first visit the Sphinx Observatory. After passing through the long tunnels (left photo below), we then reached the elevator to the observatory. Before existing to the outdoor viewing deck of the observatory, an electronic board (right photo below) caught my attention where it showed outside temperature to be -1.6 °C. The sub-zero temperature was not what I had expected. Luckily I bought sufficient clothing to keep me warm.

Sphinx Observatory is an astronomical observatory (left photo below) built on a rocky summit. Despite the freezing temperature, we decided to step out to the observation deck (right photo below) to have a look at its surroundings.

Several noticeable sights, such as Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger peaks, could be spotted from this observatory deck (photos below).

It was snow everywhere on the mountain top which formed a huge contrast compared to the greeneries at foot of the mountain (photo below).
Ice Palace

Our next stop was the Ice Palace (left photo below). The Ice Palace can be visited by visitors all year round, even in the most stormy and Arctic weather conditions. And the best of all; no admission fee is required. To enter, visitors would first have to walk down few flights of stairs and through ice tunnels (right photo below) before entering the ice chambers.

Inside the ice chambers was where shiny ice sculptures, created by talented ice artists from Interlaken every year, were displayed. These sculptures could take the form of animals including polar bears, penguins, eagles, and even ice-frozen Europa-Park mascot: Euro-Mouse (photos below).

Outdoor Area

Not too far from the Ice Palace, a tunnel leads to an outside flat, snow-covered area, where visitors can walk around (photos below).

Within the area, visitors could take photographs with the famous Swiss Flag (left photo below) or look down to view the Konkordiaplatz (right photo below).

The Aletsch Glacier, as well as the surrounding mountains, could be seen (photos below). Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps covering more than 120 square kilometers. This whole area, including other glaciers, formed part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area and was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Kleine Scheidegg station

We then took the train back to Kleine Scheidegg station to exchange to a different train of another route to Grindelward Station. While waiting, we had the opportunities to admire the sceneries around Kleine Scheidegg station (photos below) which we didn’t had during the ascending route to Jungfraujoch.

Another group of sceneries (photos below) unfolded before our eyes while the train was traveling to Grindelward Station. Three main colors formed the basis of the photos taken during the ride, namely the blue, grayish white and green. Any photo taken during this stretch of the journey would definitely qualified to be used as computer wallpapers.

Grindelward Station

When we reached the Grindelward Station (photos below) it was already close to 3 pm where our lunch time was long passed.

While walking towards the cable car station, we spotted this café called the Tea Room (left photo below). It is connected to the self-proclaimed famous Swiss Bakery - Pain Paillasse.

Pasta dishes in this café ranged from CHF 14-18, and meat specialties were CHF 20 and above. Ordered a beef Spaghetti Bolognese at CHF 16 (right photo below). Taste was good but the waiting time was rather long as we were rushing to do some hiking to Lake Bachalp.

The town around Grindelward station was typical classic Swiss country, with one main street passing through the shops, hotels and restaurants (left photo below). The Grindelward Cable Car station is located at the end of the street with the look of a wooden cottage (right photo below).

The return trip to Mt. First would cost CHF 53. But with SBB ½ fare card, we only got to pay at half price. The cable car was usual but its surrounding sceneries were stunning (photos below), with steep ascend in-between the cable car stations.

Lake Bachalp

In order to reach Lake Bachalp, we had to hike for about 45-mins from the First cable car station. Along the trail, steep cliffs and friendly cows could be seen (photos below). The trail was relatively easy for beginners.

Lake Bachalp or Bachalpsee in German, is a lake of 8.06 hectares at an elevation of 2,265 meters above sea level. The highlight of this place is the reflection of the Schreckhorn from the clam waters of the lake (photos below).

The return route took us a long hike back to First train station, followed by the cable car back to Grindelwald station to catch the train departing at 1819 hours to Interlaken Ost. After interchanging of trains at Bern, we finally reached Neuchâtel at 2057 hours.

With this, it ended my one-day weekend getaway to the most visited famous mountain in Switzerland. Really felt blessed by the perfect weather on that day!



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