My Unforgettable Heaven Switzerland
Story & Photos by Chaton Chokpattara
Some say it is the heaven. Some say it is the most beautiful country in Europe. And some say it is the most peaceful and timeless ideal place.
This is Switzerland, the country where His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej grew up and took his wonderful childhood time. The country is therefore the memorial place for Thai people who love their most beloved king. Let’s see the place where our King grew up; the place where worldwide people call “heaven on earth”. Welcome to Switzerland.
Matterhorn, the Dazzling Gem of Swiss Alps
One of the most high and beautiful mountain in Swiss Alps, Matterhorn is a huge and near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the Europe’s most challenging peak for alpinists. This mountain features four cliffs, three of which are located in Switzerland, and another one is in Italy.
The mountain is great for adventurous persons during summer while tourists are recommended to visit during May-October because the weather is not too cold and the sky is clear. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, a popular ski city. Visitors can ride the Gornertgrat Bahn railway climbing up to the peak of Gornetgrat (3,089 meters high). From the summit, visitors will see the breathtaking view of Matterhorn in approaching distance!
– Bangkok – Zurich; take a flight from Swiss International Airlines. It takes around 11 hours and 44 minutes.
– Zermatt – Matterhorn; ride Gornertgrat Bahn railway which is the route to the summit of Gornetgrat to see the view of Matterhorn.
Jungfraujoch, The Highest Railway in Europe
Swiss Alps is one of the world’s greatest mountain ranges, encompassed with perfect nature scenes; alpine forest, flower fields, stream, waterfall, and beautiful glaciers. The main summit which is also the most charming site that can be accessed by tourists is Jungfrau (4,158 meters high above the sea level.) Visitors can admire the Jungfrau from the Jungfraujoch summit (3,466 meters high), or they can ride the Jungfraujoch railway to visit the Jungfrau, too.
The Jungfraujoch railway is the highest railway in Europe, which runs from Interlaken. Visitors can enjoy the extraordinary alpine experience during the railway trip. Seven of the nine kilometers of this railway are in a tunnel hewn in the rock of the Eiger and Mönch. What’s more, the summit features breathtaking scenic points, ice tunnels and castles, as well as the mailbox which is located on the highest place of Europe. Yes, the mailbox is still on service.
– Bangkok-Bern; take a flight from Thai Airways (www.thaiairways.co.th). It takes around 12 hours.
– Bern-Interlaken; ride the railway around one hour. Visitors can purchase an advance Swiss Pass ticket from Thailand.
– From Interlaken; ride the Jungfrau Railway at Interlaken Ost Station. The train will pass Lauterbrunnen, Kleine Scheidegg, Eigerwand, and Jungfraujoch stations.
Rhine Falls, the Largest Falls in Europe
What a great place on earth! There is no other waterfall in Europe bigger than the Rhine Falls. The cold emerald stream falls from the 23-meters cliff, making the outstanding white watering curtain scene with beautiful drizzle around the area. The Rhine Falls is a popular tourist attraction of Schaffausen, the small city in the north of Switzerland. The falls was formed in the last ice age, approximately 14,000 – 17,000 years ago, by erosion-resistant rocks narrowing the riverbed.
Furthermore, the first glacial advances created today’s landforms around 500,000 years ago. Visitors can visit this falls by boat. There are also many view points to admire the place. Above the falls’ cliff is Laufen Castle, built in 858, which is now open as a youth hostel and a restaurant.
– Bangkok – Zurich; take a flight from Thai Airways (www.thaiairways.co.th). It takes around 11 hours and 55 minutes.
-Ride a train from Zurich HB station to Schaffausen. It takes around 40 minutes. Visitors can purchase a train ticket from www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
Lucerne, the Lovely City among the Swiss Alps
From the era when the Roman Empire was collapsed in the late of 750 to the city of Roman Catholic and German speaking majority, Lucerne is now the most populous town in Central Switzerland and one of the most popular tourist cities in the country. Lucerne is an ancient city, loaded by many historical buildings along the clear Reuss River. The other city’s landmark is Chapel Bridge, one of the oldest wooden bridges in the world.
From the bridge, visitors can admire swans living around and on the Reuss River. Located in the heart of the city, Lucerne Lake is an excellent recreation place of the city. It is nice for sailing to see the beautiful landscape around. Lucerne is also the nice city for shopaholics. There are many brand name stores, especially famous Swiss watch brands. Many shops also have Thai language signs for Thai shoppers, too.
There is no direct flight from Bangkok to Lucerne. Visitors may take a flight to Bern first. Then, ride a Swiss Federal Railway to Lucerne. Purchase the ticket, click www.sbb.ch/en/home.html.
Glacier Express, Let’s Enjoy the Slowest Train in the World
If your friend invites you to ride a slow railway trip which features 247 kilometers in 8 hours. Don’t rush to say no! Because it may be one of the memorial rides in your life. Yes, it is Glacier Express. The train, which has been dubbed the world’s slowest express train, takes tourists across the Alps within roughly eight hours, passing through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges, plus across the snowy Oberalp Pass on the highest point at 2,033 meters.
This slowest train offers a journey from Engadine right to the Matterhorn. On its relaxing drive from dazzling St. Moritz to equally sophisticated Zermatt, the trip delights you with scenic attractions through panoramic windows, opening up unobstructed views of unique landscapes.
– Bangkok – Zurich; Take a flight from Swiss International Airlines. Call 0-2636-2150-60 or visit www.swiss.com.
–For Glacier Express ride from Zermatt to St.Moritz, visit and buy a ticket at www.glacierexpress.ch