Travel Guide To Copenhagen

Move aside, Disneyland.

The happiest place on Earth is not Disneyland, but Copenhagen, Denmark.

Do a search on Google for “Happiest City in the World” and I guarantee ya, Copenhagen is listed there somewhere.

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But we don’t need an Internet search engine to tell us that. Take it from me. After spending six days in this wonderful Scandinavian city, I have no reason to doubt that claim.

With awesome weather, beautiful people and a truly relaxed vibe – welcome to the most wonderful city in Scandinavia.

 

Throughout my whole time here, I think I have only met one unhappy Dane – a disgruntled cashier at some cheap supermarket in town. Perhaps it was just not her day.

Every other local person I spoke to, be it the hotel receptionist, the bus driver or the stranger on the street, have been nothing but warm and friendly towards me. I’d go as far as to say that Danish people are among the nicest, most polite and sociable bunch I have ever met in the whole of Europe. And many would agree with me.

 

I landed in Copenhagen on 18th August after a 13 hour direct flight from Singapore. I was of course following the Tiger Beer crew to cover the Tiger Translate Global Showcase that particular weekend.

All it took was one afternoon, and immediately I have fallen in love with the place.

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On first glance, it is very easy to dismiss Copenhagen as “just another European city” like London, Rome or Paris.

The buildings look the same, the weather feels the same, even the type of food they eat tastes almost the same.

But peel off that layer of clothing, immediately I got the feeling that everyone who lives here are genuinely happy and contented with life.

At 4:30pm when most city folks in other countries are frantically rushing towards train stations, the Danes are taking it easy. They are either sitting in yet another al fresco cafe having a beer, or lying on the grass sunbathing in one of Copenhagen’s many public parks. There is not a single hint of stress or worry at all.

What exactly is it that make the Danes such a happy and contented bunch?

It cannot be the taxes. At 25% GST, Danish pays some of the highest taxes in the world. Everything in Denmark is freaking expensive. It cannot be the lack of racial tension. Barely a few years ago, it was that Danish newspaper that caused such worldwide furore over a cartoon it published.

Well, only towards the end of my trip did I find my answer.

 

If anyone reading this is thinking of making a trip to Copenhagen for holidays, let’s make one thing perfectly clear.

In terms of tourist attractions and landmarks, there’s not awfully a lot to see over here. At least London has Big Ben and Paris has the Eiffel.

But Copenhagen’s most famous landmark is the statue of The Little Mermaid, a terribly unremarkable lump of bronze located on a rock by the dockside.

We walked past this statue everyday on our way to the studio. Day after day, without fail, thousands of tourists would be flocking to her like them aunties during the warehouse sales.

Considering how popular ‘Ariel’ is, I wondered why they didn’t make her bigger and more exciting. Maybe take a cue from Singapore and spurt water out of the mouth, ala the Merlion?

For better or worse, perhaps it’s because the Danes think some things are just better left alone the way they are. And it’s that way of thinking that made them such a different bunch from the rest of us.

The best thing about travelling in Copenhagen is that almost every attraction is within close walking distance.

There’s almost no need to hop onto any vehicles at all. There’s no reason to. That explains why there is absolutely no traffic jam in Copenhagen, even during peak hours.

A short 5-minute walk away from the Little Mermaid, is the spacious compound of Royal Palace.

The well-loved Danish royal family resides here. Only one chamber of the palace is open to public, where you can donate to the already very wealthy royal family another 55 Kroner (RM36) just to see their collection of tobacco pipes, designer handbags and guns.

The prince has more cutleries in his room than a steak restaurant.

This is one of the living rooms inside the Royal Palace.

Why would anyone need to see so much pictures of themselves in the living room, I have no idea.

The Marble Church located right next to the palace is worth a quick peek.

If touring through the Royal Palace for some reason failed to convince you of how wealthy the Danish royal family is, then about 10-minute walk away is the Rosenborg Castle.

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Over here, even more of the family’s ancestral collection are on display.

Some of their stuff are decorated with so much glittery gold and jewellery that one chunk of it is enough to buy a small African nation.

You can’t help but to feel very very very small about yourself when you are looking at something as bright and shiny as this.

Of course lah, there’s more to see and do in Copenhagen than all these pompous royalty stuff.

My favourite place in the city to stroll along is the colourful Nyhavn Canal. Again, this is another 5 minutes away from both the nearest attraction.

There are scores of expensive al fresco cafes lined up along the canal. For a complete Copenhagen experience, it’s a must for anyone to select one of the restaurants here to just have lunch, chill out, tune out and people watch.

We went to Nyhavn 17, a popular restaurant here which used to be a barbershop 300 years ago.

This is a Smorrebrod, or an “open sandwich”.

It is a classic Danish lunch. Basically a Smorrebord is just a piece of ham, roast chicken or fried fish on a slice of bread. It is to the Danish people what kolo mee is to Kuching peeps.

Later on, we hopped on a boat and took a tour through the city canals (60 Kroner or RM 38). Though touristy, I thought it’s an excellent way to see Copenhagen.

Spotted this amazing giant boathouse converted into a luxury apartment residence.

Damn those creative Danes for coming up with designs that make my heart flutter. I could totally see myself living in one of them chic double-storey glass-walled units.

After disembarking, we took a stroll down Stroget, apparently the longest outdoor pedestrian shopping street in the world.

I cannot say there’s a lot to buy in Copenhagen. The shops and designs are all lovely and interesting, yes. But the price tags on certain things are enough to put you into cardiac arrest.

Guess how much a pair of simple flats from this boutique shop costs? 1200 Kroner (RM 820). I shit you not. And those are not even Ferragamo.

That said, Stroget is home to my favourite al fresco cafe in Copenhagen – Cafe Europa.

This place is almost an institution here in Copenhagen. During lunch hour, the tables are all packed inside out. And I can see why.

There are two things the Scandinavians can do better than the rest of the world: goat cheese and smoked salmon. At Cafe Europa, they perfected it. It’s worth the 180 Kroner (RM 120) they charge for this meal.

Of course, some things in Stroget are free.

Like an art gallery displaying an oil painting of Paris Hilton’s upskirt.

Alternatively, it’s wise to spend 25 Kroner (RM 17) on visiting The Round Tower, which is located (yes) another 5 minutes away from Stroget.

Here, we took the windy ramp all the way up to the top, where we were rewarded with a bird’s eye view of Copenhagen city.

And a little bit of Sweden.

Danish people finish work at 4pm and the shops are closed at 6pm, so there isn’t a whole lot to do in Copenhagen during night time.

The only tourist attraction open in Copenhagen during night time is Tivoli Gardens. At 150 years old, it’s  the oldest amusement park in the world.

Having been to Disneyland and many other major amusement parks around the world, I wasn’t particularly keen on the 85 Kroner (RM 60) entrance fee needed just to enter Tivoli. Rides would cost extra.

But as soon as I entered the gates into Tivoli, I immediately realised how unique and different Tivoli is from all the other amusement parks I have been to.

 

The rides in Tivoli are neither the most technologically advanced, nor the most thrilling. In fact, you can get more exciting roller coaster rides in Genting.

What sets Tivoli apart is the atmosphere it manages to evoke. In particular, I got a huge sense of nostalgia just walking through its fairy-light illuminated game booths, lush manicured gardens and cobblestone paths.

Somehow I just got transported back to the times when I was seven, and my father took me to my first funfair. I just wanted to try anything buy everything, but my father was holding to my hand so tight because he was afraid I might get lost amidst the crowd.

Tivoli was Walt Disney’s inspiration when he built Disneyland. Now I know why.

So back to my original question. What was it about Copenhagen that makes its people among the happiest in the world?

One evening, while having dinner with the Tiger Beer Denmark at an old-fashioned French cafe called near the Round Tower called Cafe Sommersko, I found out the reason.

Unlike most places around the world, the Danes TRULY believe that everybody is equal. It means that everyone gets the same treatment and respect, regardless of where you are from, what you do or how high up in authority you are.

Danes don’t use words like “Please”, “Sir”, “Madam” because that’s seen as too formal. Instead, they smile a lot everytime they offer you coffee or another piece of Danish pastry.

It’s definitely not the superficial kind of friendliness.

They do it because they genuinely mean it.

Danes speak perfectly fluent English. Among themselves, they speak Danish. But as soon as you walked into the group with them, automatically they switch to speaking in English, just so you do not feel alienated. It’s a gesture I strongly appreciate.

Although at first, it can be difficult to find a common topic to talk about with the Danes, they really loosen up after a few drinks. That explains why Denmark are among some of the biggest beer drinking countries in the world.

The alcohol lubricates any social awkwardness. And you get the feeling as if you’ve known them for a long time although you’ve only just met.

So don’t come to Copenhagen for the Mermaid, museums or castles. The biggest tourist attraction in Denmark, is actually the locals.

The most memorable cultural exchanges I had in Copenhagen all took place in either pubs or restaurants. For example, this conversation took place when we were talking about how to impress girls.

Danish dude: What type of restaurant would you bring a girl to if you want to have a good night out in Malaysia?

Kenny: Italian. Not necessarily because we like Italian food, but that’s just where we’re expected to take girls out to if we wanna impress them.

Danish dude: Italian? See that’s the difference. Over here, if we want to impress somebody, we’d take them out to a really nice Asian restaurant. Chinese, Thai, whatever. As long as it’s Asian.

Kenny: Really? In Malaysia, if I were to take a girl out for a date to a big noisy Chinese restaurant, she would think I want to break up with her!

Karma Point Collection: Today’s charity suggestion is for the ladies.

bisourose.blogspot.com sells many pre-loved fashion pieces that are still in good condition at a fraction of its original price. Most of them are from recognizable brands, but some of it are the owner’s own design. All proceeds go to charity.

97 Replies to “Travel Guide To Copenhagen”

  1. LOL. The last conversation in the last part was funny! And I hope I could at least visit there once in my life, it sounds and looks very very interesting! And that lollipop, is that real??

  2. Haha, my friends took a similar photo like yours with the same kind of big lollipop in KLIA too xD
    How i wish i get the chance to visit this place=(

  3. I loveeee Copenhagen too! πŸ˜€
    I go there a couple of times a year and it is most definitely my favorite Scandinavian capital yet.
    I have never paid attention to the people there though, but next time I am there. I shall!

  4. quite a bit of product placement for tiger beer. how come you don’t disclose as per your normal practice? changing your blog policy?

  5. Because this is not an advertorial. I am not paid for this entry.
    If you had bother to read thru my entry, you’d realise I was promoting Copenhagen. Not tiger beer.

  6. Hey I just came back from there as well to visit my mate. Cool place. You should visit their beaches as well. Fantastic view with lots of chicks…Naked… LOL!

  7. sounds like a really cool place to live in…
    but i still cant bear the thought of leaving msia to live there even though it’s so awesome. and im not even sure if going for vacation there is okay or not because what if i like it there too much!

  8. omg kenny you look uber adorable with that lollipop. just like a little kid.
    you said the same about ireland.
    their best attraction is their locals!

  9. Kenny, every time I read one of your travel entries, it made me change my travel plan, again and again. First it was Wales, and now Denmark. Damn it. But I think 5 days in Copenhagen sound lovely, even if I have to travel on in December.
    Thanks for the great write up. I am all ready to feel up the locals… not literally, of course!

  10. dude, you didn’t goto Freetown Christiana? It’s like the total opposite of everything you show here!
    Also, not only things are expensive, it’s hard to enter the better affordable restaurants without a reservation!
    Also, if you have half a day, just take the train to malmo in sweden!

  11. what a coincidence. my bf’s leaving for copenhagen tomorrow! i think he might be staying in that boathouse in ur pic. all he knows is the company is letting them stay in some boathouse apartment. looks like a really nice marvellous friendly place, wish i am goin along.. sigh

  12. Awesome blog Kenny! I accidently landed on it through LP on Twitter. I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden, but after looking at your trip and photos, Copenhagen is now on the list! But I agree w/ u.. of the Danish/Swedish folks I’ve met (my bf is English), they are SO cool to talk to. Not necc. overly friendly, but will defin. have a cordial chat and like meeting new ppl.
    Looking forward to seeing more blogs. Do you blog on Facebook too? Cheers.

  13. I’ve been to Copenhagen twice. Love the city with its slow pace, nice weather & friendly people.
    Didn’t u go to the Carlsberg factory?

  14. What’s with the empty tiger bottle at every meal picture? It doesn’t even look cold. Don’t like your blog as much as I used too… its a shame

  15. Well oh well, there’s lotsa “side advert” from tiger beer, but who cares? It’s nice copenhagen. The thing I like from Denmark is anyway, MLTR!!! πŸ˜›

  16. Hi Kenny, you might want to check out Stockholm too. Great city with lots more to offer apart from the happy-go-lucky air πŸ™‚ Just got back and loved it to pieces.

  17. why there’s ppl complaining the way of kenny do posting ?! For me, @ least it is tasty and I don’t care for whether it is an ADV post or not ..
    I guess some ppl they r jealous when kenny is paid to do a ADV post >.

  18. I think its just insulting to post dirty pictures (Paris Hilton in this case) on your post. I am disappointed as you aren’t as funny as before and have to resort to posting something totally stupid to try to crack people up.
    I want the old you back and less of this perverted crap.

  19. seemed that you were covertly product placing tiger beer from your photos. i did read your entry clearly. was simply wondering if you were switching to a lower standard of discloseure.
    not saying that you cannot do that, of course. it is your blog after all, and you can pretty much do whatever you want with it, as the poster below you says. simply found the tiger beer photos a bit, well, unlike your usual style.

  20. “Basically a Smorrebord is just a piece of ham, roast chicken or fried fish on a slice of bread. It is to the Danish people what kolo mee is to Kuching peeps.”
    Is the price of Smorrebord to the Danes like the price of kolo mee to Kuching peeps? Just curious πŸ™‚

  21. well, Copenhagen is home afterall to Museum Erotica and believe me, you’ll see more of Paris on the screens there than what Kenny has posted here.
    After all, it is in Scandinavia that social and mixed-gender nudity in saunas are commonplace .. if you wear a towel, you are considered to be out of place.

  22. Copenhagen, stayed 2 nights there during my trip to Helsingborg, the best place I’d ever been, nice weather, nice beer, relax atmosphere, and the Scandinavians is hot!

  23. Kenny, I’m not surprised that the locals are nice. In the Chinese newspapers, Danemark is ranked the safest country in the world.

  24. I’m from Denmark, but I have lived in Los Angeles for 17 years and I have to agree with you 100%.
    People always ask me what to see in Denmark and I always say that we don’t have any mountains, great rives or other really stunning nature sites like in Norway or Sweden. The weather sucks too. What I do say” go for the people”, people in Denmark loves a good time and if you go in the summer (maybe for one of the music festivals) you will never want to leave.
    It’s easy to talk to girls there and there is not the whole dating ritual like in the U.S. (dinner, movie maybe more) You can meet people in a very spontaneous way, because you travel in the city by foot, bus or cab. It’s laid back in a very natural way.
    People, just go!

  25. Also, Olso and Stockholm are nice too, but hardly as great as Copenhagen.
    Copenhagen is a true big city (but still small) the others are more provincial.
    Sorry cuclainne

  26. i haven’t been to Denmark but I am totally agree with what you said about Scandinavian countries are very very different with all the central europe like Rome, Paris, Barcelona.
    Travel around Scandinavia country is very different feeling. They don’t have any particular tourist spot as you said but they will definitely leave an remarkable memory. Try Stockholm, u might find it even better.

  27. Kenny: Really? In Malaysia, if I were to take a girl out for a date to a big noisy Chinese restaurant, she would think I want to break up with her!
    —————————————-
    Not just that, she would think you owe money from Ah Long, and she think you would expect her to pay for the bill.
    πŸ™‚

  28. Just got back from Copenhagen as well. I guess Tiger Beer isn’t the most popular beer in Denmark as compared to Carlsberg.
    How about Christiania, Kenny? I loved Christiania… Different from the rest of Copenhagen.
    Anyway, I must say I prefer Stockholm over Copenhagen.

  29. wah.. u were in copenhagen.. u shud hinted us earlier then i can find u ma..
    anyway i dunno where is Stroget.. but from the photo u posted i think it is Ostergade… tat road along Frederiksberggade right?

  30. My first time visiting the famous kennysia blog. Well, definitely a nicely written post on the Danish. I never been there but reading from here somehow puts Copenhagen on one of the top list that I should go the next time I work. Anyway, it’s probably more meaningful to be hanging out there as it is a place where you get to connect with more people who are sociable and friendly in a genuine manner. I guess Malaysians reading this post should also ask themselves how they are responding to tourists the next time they see one. Thumbs up for this post!

  31. Something like that. I can never remember the road names in Danish cos they are way too long and unpronounceable. But yea, the Frederiksomething is definitely one stretch of Stroget!

  32. Yeah! All I can say is that the Danish peeps behave a little differently compared to other Europeans, or pretty much the ‘white ppl’ that Malaysians are used to. When sober, Danes are more quiet compared to other Europeans. After a few beers, they start talking – but not to the point where you can’t wait to shut them up. Haha.

  33. hey kenny…
    just now i went all the way to that round tower again..(i never bother to visit tat place although i work here…. until i read ur blog just now… straight get changed then visit there) then i slowly walk back and look at the signboard la.. coz Stroget sounds familiar but i dunno where
    then right at the joint of Frederiksberggade and Ostergade road there is a signboard showing “Stroget” so u were right lah.. stroget is like the center of that area

  34. OMG Kenny! I was in the exact places you were, around 2 weeks ago! It’s uncanny! And terribly shitty that I left before you came πŸ™ We could’ve met up LOL! You should try some of Copenhagen’s famous chocolates, but I forgot what it’s called, sorry πŸ™ Me and my family polished off the whole big box in only a few days πŸ™‚ Enjoy Copenhagen, Kenny! I know I did πŸ™‚ Look at the sky and it’s clouds. They’re beautiful, much prettier compared to those in Malaysia. Haha, I’m sorry πŸ˜€
    Madeline.

  35. kenny! thx so much for the blog mention. things are picking up well and i could be 30 (or more?) outfits away from throwing a mcd party for the orphans. you may not have bought a dress from *bisou* rose but you most definitely have helped buy an orphan a smile πŸ™‚ thx again!! gonna sms the heavens regarding your good karma deposit…

  36. Hi kenny, nice post lol, I actually saw it while I was in Copenhagen myself, and I completely agree with the content of your post here.
    Kinda weird to see u drinking Tiger there lol, instead of Carlsburg or Tuborg lol

  37. What a wonderful place. Thanks for sharing all the nice pic with us. At least, mentally i had visited the place once…lol…
    BTW, ken, u look younger compare to previous pic. Y?? Perhaps is your hair style… u will look much more handsome and younger if you “adjust” ur cute teeth at the side:) (No hard feeling pls)

  38. If you had stayed longer you’d experienced that the Danes would perceive you as a second-class person – since they think most Asians are good in cleaning toilets.
    But then again….grass is always greener, eh?
    check http://somethingmanky.blogspot.com for a better perspective about the oh-so-lovely Copenhagen (and Denmark, that is)

  39. There are many Alluring & tempting places in Copenhagen. Bur language should be problem during your tours. I have a mind to visit there on this vocation. I have already get a suitable apartment from the Hank freid while my stay at there. I am also really impressed by the Royal Place. Can I visit there as well? However it is nice post having nice information about the different places of Copenhagen

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