“Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” – Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper
What if the sun never sets day after day? Will that change the way we look at time?
Everyone is given the same 24 hours a day and we go about our daily activities based on 12-hours of daylight and night time each.
The time that we read on our watch and smartphones are measured based on the earth’s axis rotation. In Singapore, the sun rises at 7 a.m. and sets at 7 p.m.
But in some other parts of the world, the same 24 hours might not look the same way. Thus, the creation of time zone and there are 24 time zones across the globe.
The earth is rotating and that rotation is directly related to our time. Every hour the earth completes a 15-degree rotation, if we then factor in the earth rotates 24 hours in a day, our total trip after one day is 360-degree. To mark each hour as the earth rotates, we use lines of longitude in the path of the sun, which is what we know as time zone, and that will tell us our day and night cycles.
Experience the Midnight Sun
There are some destinations that experience sunlight for 24 hours and this phenomenon is known as the ‘The Midnight Sun’ where the sun still can be seen in the middle of the night. This natural phenomenon occurs in local summer months in the north of the Arctic and south of the Antarctic Circle. The opposite phenomenon called Polar Night occurs when the sun remains below the horizon in winters, so it’s complete darkness for 24 hours.
Where could you go to visit the land of the midnight sun?
The thought of it seems incredible, and we think it’s worthwhile to plan a travel experience like this. Here are 5 destinations to experience the epic Midnight Sun (or ‘Nightless’ Night).
Norway is mostly known for its natural beauty, fjords and mountains, the amazing Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. And most recently, Norway served as the inspiration for the setting of Disney’s Frozen and there is indeed a town that sounds like Arendelle.
Due to Norway’s high altitude, during the summer months from late May to July, the days become longer with plenty of daylight as the sun barely dips below the horizon for 76 days.
Summer in Norway seems everlasting, there are no clear boundaries between one day and the next in the far north as the sun barely sets. Notice the sky gradually fades into a mesmerizing orange hue with the sun lying low in the horizon throughout the night. This means there is more time for hiking and outdoor recreation, but make sure you are well-layered against the windy summer nights.
Iceland sits on two continents namely Europe and North America, and it is revered by the travelling community because of its unspoiled landscape that is shaped by the forces of nature. Black sand beaches, snow-capped mountains, and staggering waterfalls, as well as volcanoes, Iceland is every adventurer’s dream destination.
You can experience the otherworldly glow of the Midnight Sun in Iceland from around mid-May to mid-August. It’s perfect for enjoying hot-tub soaks in remote lodges or ranging road trips around the island. For something more off-the-beaten track, consider heading to the country’s north. Expect the same geothermal and waterfall wonders but with fewer crowds.
Sweden reminds us of Absolut Vodka, IKEA, Spotify, PewDiePie, the wandering reindeers of Lapland and Aurora! And here’s one more thing to add – Midnight Sun!
Did you know the further north you go in Sweden during summer, the shorter the nights? The best thing about it? You can do whatever you want at any time! The day seems to go on and on like there’s no tomorrow! Bask in the sunlight at Swedish Lapland from late May to mid-July, you can enjoy activities round-the-clock like golfing, sculpting and kayaking.
Local tip: Bring along your sleeping eye-mask and a bottle of sleep spray! This is because even the locals living in Swedish Lapland have a hard time getting some shuteye!
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The land of the Midnight Sun in Canada can be experienced in Yukon and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Two a.m. looks pretty much like high noon. All night, birds chirp, kids play, fishermen fish and golfers golf. Campers get their days all turned around, eating lunch at midnight and crawling into their sleeping bags in the morning.
For about 50 days during summer, the sun never sets and it’s a common sight to see locals sunbathing at 3 a.m – because really when each day is blissfully infinite, you just do whatever feels right.
In Finland, the Midnight Sun takes place during the summer months of June and July north of the Arctic Circle when the sun remains visible throughout the night. The Finnish will tell you that sleep is for winter! Throughout the summer months, the sun shines 24/7 and a nocturnal swim and sauna is a must under the Midnight Sun.
When the nights are as light as day, locals and tourists alike can enjoy activities late into the night, think lake canoe and forest walks. Summertime also brings out the furry friends in Finnish Lapland, so consider joining a wildlife watching tours with photographers to enjoy alarmingly close encounters with bears, wolverine and wolves, the magnificent creatures of the woods.
We say don’t worry about sleep, make the most of the Midnight Sun while you’re there!