Though I always consider myself as an introvert where feeling uncomfortable facing a huge crowd of people is quite common for me, I still enjoy meeting new people because I take that as the best opportunity for me to learn new thing, improve my communication skill and of course exchange stories. That's why I feel truly priviledged to be selected as one of the delegates of Nordic Blogger Experience (NBE Finland) programme.

Image: Marinella Himari
Earlier this year (2018), I was in Finland for this exciting programme which I gained different kind of experiences from meeting with various international travel social media influencers and bloggers, participating informative and educational talks, discovering some of Finland's wonderful destinations, jumping into Finnish tradition and more.

So, here are some of the highlights of my activity throughout the NBE Finland programme:



Explored several destinations in Finland 



I got a spot to join the pre-tour trip in Turku and the Archipelago. Though five days doesn't sound enough to explore everything that this city has to offer, I am still glad to be taken around discovering the hidden gems in this Finland's oldest city. From culinary, history and nature activities, this city is just nothing short of amazing.

Breathtaking view on the Archipelago (Left) | Delectable treat prepared by Eva and Patrik from Villa Reuter

Treat at Di Trevi Restaurant (Left) and Kaskis Restaurant (Right)

Done with the short hike in Kuhjenrahka National Park

Making Finnish pasty called karelian with Johanna and her mother

Making Finnish pasty called karelian with Johanna and her mother

Short guided walk around Turku city with Annamari 

In this trip, I was with several successful bloggers including Henrikka (our awesome host blogger), Veera, Dave, SilviaDaryl and Mindy as well as Erin. They are just amazing and talented!


Besides Turku city, I also had the chance to visit the archipelago area including Pargas and Korpo Island. The place was just serene and breathtaking. I've made a promise to myself that I will definitely be back again here in summer.

Last dinner with Lotta and Maija from Visit Turku at Nooa Restaurant

Group photo with Mr. Niclas and Mr. James from Visit Archipelago before departing to Helsinki

Thanks to Ms. Lotta and Ms. Maija from Visit Turku also Mr. Niclas and Mr. James from Visit Archipelago for this remarkable experience.


While in Helsinki, I decided to join a one-day tour in Espoo, another city in Finland located just a few minutes drive from Helsinki. I tried snowshoeeing and ice fishing in Nuuksio National Park, savouring delectable lunch menu as well as hot pancake in a pretty warm and comfortable hut locally called "kota".


Thanks to Hanna and her colleague from Visit Espoo for showing us around.


The last leg of this programme was in Helsinki - I wandered around the city on my own though it was snowing the day all of us arrived here but that doesn't disrupt my mission to see the beauty of this capital city.


My accomodation while in Helsinki was Scandic Passi Hotel. I had comfortable nights here and pretty like the location of this hotel as it is strategically located near metro and tram station as well as few restaurants. Perfect place to stay if you're travelling in Helsinki.

So, will I be visiting Finland again?
DEFINITELY YES!


Had a priviledge to experience and understand a slice of Finnish culture

Just around 9 days in Finland and I already learned a lot about this country. Imagine if I could stay here longer like 5 months or maybe a year? Must be pretty exciting. Thanks to all finns for introducing and showcasing your culture, tradition and how beautiful your country is.

I get to learn some basic Finnish words and realise that their language is without doubt one of the most challenging ones to learn. But, who doesn't like challenges, right?


If you ask me what's my favourite part, of course I'll pick the winter or ice swimming experience. I've seen this on the Internet before but never ever thought of doing it. Through NBE Finland, I tried it and at least I could proudly tell my other friends that I have experienced it and encourage them to do the same too because winter or ice swimming is an important element in Finnish tradition. So, how can we leave this country without trying it?

Watch my video HERE.


Exchanged stories and experience with other international travel social media influencer and blogger

Throughout the programme, I met more than 30 individuals who are working in the same field as mine - we travel the world, create contents, inspire people to travel to various destination, generated life income (partially or fully) through online platforms such as blog and social media channels.

Image: Marinella Himari

Image: Marinella Himari

Listening to the inspiring stories from each one of them was just a priceless opportunity, I must say. They have their own life path that brought them to into this field, they have endured different challenges in life as a travel blogger or influencer and my most favourite part is about their life-changing and unique travel experiences to some exotic destinations that encourages me to add more items on my bucket list.

A shot with one of my favourites, Henriikka. Thank you Erin for these shots! 

This experience is just beyond enriching to me!


Built a great network with various travel-related organisation 


NBE Finland is held jointly with MATKA Travel Fair, one of the biggest travel fairs in the Europe region participated by 1,000 exhibitors representing 80 countries. This fair was held at Messukeskus Helsinki and the delegates of NBE Finland, certainly, get their special access to this travel fair.

Image: Marinella Himari

I rarely join or attend a travel fair. So, what I have seen at Matka Travel Fair amuses me. I was able to drop by and get connected with the communication team from various tourism destinations and other travel-related companies during that day. Hence, I got a number of contacts for a future collaboration since getting the right person for a successful pitch is key.


Not to forget, I bumped with some familiar faces at the Malaysia Truly Asia booth. At least, I feel home for a while. Thanks for the kuih treat too!


Garnered additional knowledge about life and digital media

I attended a blog lab about website monetisation, SEO and ways to improve our YouTube channel contents presented by Anna Lehto and a representative from Google.


There are several points that I would to share to all of you soon such as the elements that you need to consider in order to improve the engagement and appearance of your YouTube channel and tricks to improve your website SEO.


Meanwhile, a keynote by Sophie Radcliffe was indeed an eye-opening one. All of us had our chance to hear and know how she survive and went through all obstacles after she left her 9-5 job. At the same time, she also shared how we (content creators or bloggers) could respond to this highly evolving industry.

Some of the highlights of her keynote:
1. Genuine content and not too well curated.
2. Microinfluencers.
3. Long term brand collaborations.
4. Data, analysis and reporting of your contents for a collaboration.


and of course, HAVE FUN! 


I left Finland with a heavy heart, this programme made me realise that Finland has so much to offer and is indeed a beautiful country in many aspects from their people, history and places. Most importantly, I made a lot of friends from different walks of life and still we contacted each other through social media platforms.

I hope there will be crossing paths between each one of us in the future. For now, I wish you all the best in whatever you do. Safe travels!

This article was made possible through a Nordic Blogger's Experience (NBE Finland) program held jointly with MATKA Travel Fair. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the organising team Ms. Kathrin, Ms. Veera, Ms. Annika and Ms. Riikka for having me and the rest. Also, congratulations for this successful event!