Friday, September 15, 2017

Twenty Something Travel to [Canadian Rockies Mountain -Day 1&2]

While doing research on Vancouver, I came across pictures of Banff National Park and was dazzled by the stunning pictures online. However, going to Banff ourselves could be quite troublesome considering the luggage we were going to bring and the accessibility. So I tried researching on the available guided tours online. Little did I know Banff was just one of the destinations in the popular Rockies Mountain tour. 

I was considering between Discover Canada Tours and West Trek Tours, and I finally settled on the former because they provided the exact dates of the tour which made our planning easier (we planned this trip 4 months in advance).

Note: There are plenty of tour operators which offer great trips to the Rockies Mountain. The reason I opted for the Rockies Classic Summer Tour (4 days) offered by Discover Canada Tours was that it had the best price point and it covered the places that I planned to visit. Oh, and not forgetting that they depart near downtown Vancouver. If you have been following all my travel posts, you will realise that I will try to make everything (food, accommodation, guided tours etc) affordable and fun. So if you are looking at staying in luxurious hotels and eating great expensive food, this tour operator is definitely out of your consideration. The price you are paying is merely for the service rendered by the tour guide, the bus driver, your accommodation (a mix of budget and above average hotels), and some simple meals. You need to make separate payments for any additional activities.

The Rockies Mountain tour with Discover Canada Tours was the best trip of my life! Our tour guides were Bob and Brad and they made the tour super fun for us. David and Myle were our bus drivers. It took about 3 hours on average to arrive at each destination, definitely not an easy drive up the mountains!

Bob, the snowman builder

Price wise, if you're a student, you get CAD 49 (approx. SGD 53) off the tour price. The basic package was CAD 459 (approx. SGD 497) per pax and we added the Gondola + Snowcoach Tour Combo which costed CAD 100 (approx. SGD 108). So that would add up to CAD 559 (approx. SGD 605) per pax, CAD 139 (approx. SGD 150) per day. I would highly recommend going for the Gondola + Snowcoach combo. And that's enough to complete your Rockies Mountain experience.

Alternatively, if you are confident with your driving and navigating skills and do not mind driving long hours, you could rent a car and do a self-guided tour up to the Rockies too. That way you have more control over your itinerary.

Since it's a 4-day tour, we didn't want to bring a month's worth of clothing along (we would be heading back to Downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and New York after this) because we knew we would be staying at a different hotel/motel every night during the tour. So we engaged the service of PorterGenie where they would pick your luggage up, store them securely and deliver them back to you. Entirely hassle-free. Check them out here.

The attractions along the Rockies Mountain scattered across different provinces in Canada and into the United States. Can you believe that it is more than 4,800km long! I will be sharing our itinerary here!

Day 1 (In chronological order)

8.00am - Depart Vancouver from Canada Place

Fraser River

1. Fraser River, the longest river in British Columbia (BC). Major salmon producer in BC.

Douglas Fir

Couldn't catch a sight of a real bear, so a picture would suffice, for now. 

You have been warned!

River Safari Bear Tour

We didn't go onto the boat because it was optional and we were told we could still see bears elsewhere.

2. River Safari Bear Tour in Blue River (optional) 

We didn't go for the tour so we stayed in.

Burger + hot chocolate (meal included)

Our motel for the night, Alpine Inn, Valemount. (Picture taken in the morning from the bus)

Day 2

Moose Lake

1. Moose Lake at Mount Robson Provincial Park (Alberta, Canada)

Primary inflows: Fraser River

Maligne Canyon

2. Maligne Canyon (Jasper, Alberta)

I wore three layers of tops (excluding the jacket) and two layers of bottoms to beat the cold. And they told me it's summer.

Tangle Creek Falls

3. Tangle Creek Falls, Icefield Parkway (Jasper, Alberta, Canada)

Columbia Icefields

4. Columbia Icefields

Athabasca Glacier behind us! (It was snowing btw)

Snocoach Tour to the Athabasca Glacier

Glacier Water

The Big Bend

5. The Big Bend on the Icefield Parkway (spot the curved highway)

We saw a grizzly bear on our way to Banff!

Bow Lake

6. Bow Lake

Pardon my hair (my photographer didn't ask me to fix it before he took the picture)

Our stay for the night at Banff 

Stay tuned for day 3 and 4!

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