Alaska Winter Wonderland

Tripoto
28th Dec 2013

Aurora Borealis from Cleary Summit

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Spiralling descent into SGN

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Mt. Fuji looming over Tokyo

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Pho in the lounge

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Japanese breakfast on NH932

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

The Land of the Rising Sun

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

NRT Outdoor Gallery

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Daybreak!

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Chicago in the early hours

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Trump Tower on my side as we descended

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Descending into Anchorage

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Setting off early

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Denali, tallest peak in north america

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

dramatic mountains of the Alaska Range

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Our car in the midst of the winter wonderland

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Aurora with the Milky Way in the background

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

North Pole post office!

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Candy cane street lamps

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Celebrating the New Year with my trumpet

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

First sunrise of 2014

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Half frozen river

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

On the slopes of the Alaska Range

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

ANC in the snow

Photo of Alaska Winter Wonderland by Jinjun Lee

Decided on a winter holiday, and found out that we could do a Alaska + mainland USA trip, with a SGD$1500 (US$1200) flight itinerary that earned us 22000miles on UA, which is a heck of a good deal. Flight itinerary is as follows:

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=sin-sgn-nrt-ord-anc-den,+sjc-nrt-sgn-sin

This trip story will cover the first part of the long trip, which is the Alaska segment. The thought of going Alaska in winter used to be met with reservations, knowing how harsh the climate could be. Somehow my mind decided to take the plunge and go for it. No regrets, Alaska is an amazing winter wonderland! I think it's an experience everyone should try once in their lives!

Took Jetstar 3K551 to Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, from home in Singapore. This is a placement flight for my long haul flight on ANA and UA. *TRAVEL TIP: Flying out of SGN compared to SIN saves up to SGD$1000 at times!* SGN is also a modern and cosy airport to stop for a while in, and it has a pretty nice lounge with good food for star alliance gold members!
Photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, phường 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, phường 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Jinjun Lee
ANA offers an overnight flight from SGN to Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT), Japan, for connections to USA the next morning/afternoon. As with the last trip on this flight, I chose the shrimp porridge japanese breakfast set. Very delicious, ANA food never disappoints! *TRAVEL TIP: I stayed up during the whole of this flight to get myself jetlagged to USA time, so that I'd be tired enough for the next overnight (but very short night) flight and wake up as I arrive in USA the next morning* NRT is a fantastic airport to be in, modern facilities, ANA's star alliance lounge is very very very good!
Photo of Narita International Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Narita International Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Narita International Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Narita International Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan by Jinjun Lee
Flew on NH12 from Narita to Chicago O'Hare (ORD). Flight was good as expected, and the night went past real quick with a comfortable sleep made possible by being extremely tired from staying up the previous night. However ORD is a horror of an airport to arrive as an international passenger. Immigration queue took 2 hours and the airport was dreary and lacking in facilities. Star Alliance lounge in ORD provided the bare necessities, and very limited food and drink. *TRAVEL TIP: try not to use ORD for a long layover or international entrance point to the USA, as an O&D passenger I think it works just fine*
Photo of Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL, United States by Jinjun Lee
Endured a 7 hour long domestic flight in a 737-800 on United from ORD-ANC. One of those things I will have to endure again to go Alaska. Nevertheless, we arrived and checked in and rested for the night. ANC is a nice cosy airport, and Anchorage gave friendly vibes!
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Did a road trip from anchorage to Fairbanks and back. Saw Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, as well as other sights along the way. Watched the aurora from Cleary Summit, a hilltop aurora viewing spot just north of Fairbanks. Alaska is way too amazing! *TRAVEL TIPS: 1) if you're visiting Alaska in winter, although the official daylight hours are short, daybreak and twilight durations are very long thanks to angle at which the sun moves across the sky and under the horizon, so do not worry too much about daylight hours! 2) Temperatures can get very cold so stay warm!*
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Fairbanks, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Drove out of Fairbanks to visit a tiny little town called North Pole, it's a santa claus themed town, with candy cane street lights! Went back to Cleary Summit for the countdown to the new year under the aurora!
Set off the next morning and drove back to Anchorage. Once again another set of amazing scenery on the road, including a half frozen river. Started snowing as we entered Anchorage, it was quite a joy to see snow falling! Checked in to ANC for our yet another 7 hour long red-eye domestic flight to Denver and waved goodbye to Alaska. *TRAVEL TIP: try the reindeer meat hotdogs, they are mouth-wateringly good!!!*
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
Photo of Anchorage, AK, United States by Jinjun Lee
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