If you read this article, then i’m telling you that this is the first of many articles about my recent (well, not quite recent since i start writing this on September 2017 while the actual trip took place on April 2017) trip to Europe. I visited 5 countries back then (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria. And since the motivation for the trips came from Netherland, i’d like to start telling the story from there.
Speaking about motivation, my first and foremost motivation that got my feet in Europe this time is the beauty of Tulips in Keukenhof Garden. I mean, looking at that flowers. Even if as i writing this post, i just hope i could express my excitement that i have, here and then about this beautiful tulip garden.
The first question popped in my mind was “When is the perfect time to visit Keukenhof?”. The Garden only opens in Mid March until mid May every year. If we’re too early, not all the bulbs have blossomed, but the visitors are not that many. If we’re too late, most of them were gone already. Also, depends on the weather, we may not know exactly when the tulips bloom. But, according to this website looking at the history for the past recent years, it is safe to say that the last two weeks in April is the best time to witness the peak blossom of the Tulips.
Since I had to plan and book tickets in advance, I chose third week in April, and spend few days in Netherland (6 days) with a flexibility to swap itinerary within days so that I can get the most of the Keukenhof. I also subscribe to the newsletter of Tulipsinholland.com to get notified when the bulb starts blossoming.
I booked the ticket in advance through Keukenhof Official Website after it opens it registration. If you visit the website outside the tulip season, you will find nothing on online purchasing. Try to revisit the website 2-3 months before the tulip season (in January/February) to purchase the ticket online. This ticket will be scanned in the entrance gate, so make sure you have it printed. The garden itself opens from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm daily including Sundays and public holidays. Of course, there are many packages that comes with the ticket, including the ones that include the transportation to and from the garden, and other extended packages. You can see the complete options once it opens to the public nearing the tulips season. I booked the basic one that cost 16 euros.
There are many ways to get to the Keukenhof. If you depart from Amsterdam, you will pass the Schipol Airport. I mainly rely on google map advice to go to there. I departed at 5:30 am in the morning and hopped on Intercity bus to Vlissingen and arrived at Leiden Centraal Station. From there, I took the Arriva Bus to Lisse Bus Stop and walked to Keukenhof Garden. It cost about 10 EUROS. My journey plan on that day was not typical to those offered by special discount card, IAmsterdam Card, Amsterdam Travel Ticket, or any other tourist card. Thus, I use OV-Chipkaart and Top it up with the amount just enough to get me around for one day.
As you may guess, i was probably the first-ten people to enter the garden after it opens at 8 am. For me it is important to arrive as early as possible to avoid the mindboggling crowd during the tulips season. That way I got a chance to take pictures whenever I can without taking turns or waiting. And I made it successfully!
Unluckily, I have so many places on my bucket list in Netherlands I wanted to visit, and I was so sad that I had to leave at 11am for Haarlem (all in all, I spent 3 hours in Keukenhof Garden). And now after having experience that, I can say that it is NOT wise to spend only half day in Keukenhof. After saying goodbye to the tulips, I went to Haarlem using combination of Bus and Trains.
Museum Volkenkunde is an ethnology Museum. It has many collection of painting, artifacts and sculptures from different ethnics around the globe. On the special exhibitions this year named “cool Japan”, I found so many interesting stuffs like manga, japan robot that can dance, and other Japan iconic cartoon such as Hello Kitty. I may spend too little time to explore the museum, but to me it was fascinating and inspiring to see some ancient and modern exhibitions from different continents. If you really want to learn something, 2-3 hours are the minimum. But one hour of a quick look here and there for me is sufficient and it was one of the best one hour spent on a museum.
After a short visit to Museum Volkenkunde, I went back to Amsterdam using a direct Intercity Train From Leiden Centraal to Amsterdam Centraal which took 35 minutes ride. Then I close the journey for the day by having a nice dinner at Latei Café, a vegetarian restaurant that serves Indonesian dishes. It’s interesting to have all Indonesian traditional spices and ingredients are mixed unlike any meal I have ever tasted before. The restaurant itself is situated in the busy red light district and a was a warm and cozy place to have dinner at.