Monday, January 22, 2018

Da Nang, Hoi An & Hue, Vietnam (Sneak Peek)

Kick off the year of 2018 by visiting Vietnam again and this time around I'm covering the Central Vietnam - Da Nang, Hoi An & Hue which I had been eyeing for quite some time. Once again, thanks to AirAsia for another cheap fare cause I'm quite particular and calculative too when come to buying airtickets. It might not be as cheap as the one I bought to Ho Chi Minh before but as long as within my budget, it's consider reasonable and affordable.

2018 Vietnam Da Nang 01
1: Da Nang International Airport - very close to the city 

Summary of My 6D5N Trip
Day 1: klia2 to Da Nang. Then we hired a private car to Hoi An which takes almost an hour journey.
Day 2: Hoi An Ancient Town
Day 3: Hoi An to Hue by private car
Day 4: Hue to Da Nang 
Day 5: Da Nang - Ba Na Hills 
Day 6: Goodbye Da Nang

Among the three cities, my favourite would be none other than Hoi An Ancient Town. Noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic Hoi An is the most delightful and atmospheric town in Vietnam. I love the old town is manicured and lifted up with vast array of colourful lanterns. Spending two nights here is a wise choice indeed.

2018 Vietnam Hoi An 14
#2: Colourful lanterns everywhere

2018 Vietnam Hoi An 15
#3: Japanese covered bridge with my best travel buddy


#4: Colourful lanterns at night 

From Hoi An, we hired private car to Hue which takes about 2 and half hours. We did sightseeing tour as well, which including visiting My Son Sanctuary and Marble Mountains (but I personally think you can skip this). In Hue, we managed to venture the Imperial City, a walled palace within the citadel of the city. Hue formally was an imperial capital of Vietnam and now listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2018 Vietnam Hoi An 09
2018 Vietnam Hue Imperial City 01
#5: Imperial City, a walled palace within the citadel of the city of Hue


The final two nights we spent in Da Nang and we went to Ba Na Hills, a hill station and resort situated 45 minutes away from the city. This magical resort has been shared virally in Facebook lately and I can't believe finally I left my footprints there. 

IMG20180118113334
#6: 💗 the clear blue sky and cold weather

2018 Vietnam Da Nang 03
#7

2018 Vietnam Da Nang 04
#8: Magical French village

2018 Vietnam Da Nang 05
#9: Dragon-shaped bridge spanning over Han River on last night before bidding goodbye 

So now I done with Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi & Halong Bay as well as Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue, thinking what next for Vietnam?  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Europe (2017): Salzburg, Austria

After spending a night in the world's music capital of Vienna, I embarked to the next city - Salzburg. Woke up early morning to pack my bags and straightly check-out from the hostel. Bidd goodbye to a Malaysian lady who I met last night staying in the same hostel and right after that, I walked to the train station which not far away the hostel I stayed.

From Vienna to Salzburg
Getting from Vienna to Salzburg, there are two cheapest options; either by bus or train. In terms of fare, both options are not much different with advance purchase fares from €19. I chosen to ride on the train because besides admire riding on the train, the journey time is lesser comparing to taking the bus.

Two competing operators link Vienna with Salzburg:
  • The State-owned OBB (Austrian Federal Railway) - run twice an hour between Wien Hbf & Salzburg main central station. 
  • Private operator WESTbahn - run every hour between Wien Westbahnhof & Salzburg main central station. It also run every house between Wien Praterstern, Wien Mitte, Wien Hbf, Wien Meidling and Salzburg. 
For more info about these two operators, check out "The Main in Seat 61" for more details.

2017 Europe Salzburg 01 OBB Railjet
Economy class on RailJet of OBB. The comfortable open saloons with large picture windows. Some seats are around table, some unidirectional. The best part is there is free WiFi connection in all classes. 

2017 Europe Salzburg 01 Salzburg Hbf
After less than three hours of train ride, finally reach Salzburg Hauptbahnhof - the main railway station of Salzburg. 

Accommodation in Salzburg
As I plan for my this Europe trip quite last minute, hence not many hostels were available. Even there were few available, but either there are overbudget and the location is not strategic enough. I have no choice but end up to book International Youth Hostel Salzburg. It's not that really bad - the dorm and shared bathroom is decent clean and the staffs were helpful and friendly. Just the matter of the location - 10 minutes walk from the main train station and city center. 

2017 Europe Salzburg 03 International Youth Hostel

Date Stayed: 13 September 2017 (1 night)
Room Rate: €20 for a bed in 6 bed mixed dorm (Booked via Hostelworld)

What To Do & See in Salzburg
Salzburg is well-known for two things: First, it's the birthplace of Mozart and secondly, the American musical film "The Sound of Music" was shooting here. Right after I reach Salzburg, immediately I signed up for the Panorama Tours: Sound of Music from hostel because I will be leaving Salzburg on the next day. It offers two tours daily; leaving at 9:15am and 2pm and the duration takes about 4 hours. 

This tour is exclusively bringing visitors to visit the original film location in and around Salzburg.

2017 Europe Salzburg 04 Sound of Music Tour
The charming bus with funny and friendly guide called David

Frankly speaking, I know about this movie but then until now I haven't watch it yet. Maybe someday I should find some time to watch this. Anyone is a big fan of "The Sound of Music" movie here?

Along with the live and cheerful guide who shared the highlights of the movie, he also shared the historical and architecture landmarks of Salzburg during the tour. So here I just simplified few of the places we managed to visit and see: 

2017 Europe Salzburg 08 Leopoldskron Palace
Our first pit stop: Leopoldskron Palace. We did photo stop at Lake Leopoldskron mirroring the palace, where the famous boating scene was filmed. 

2017 Europe Salzburg 09 Hellbrunn Palace Gazebo
The original gazebo was rebuilt especially for all the movie fans in the gardens of Hellbrunn Palace. The kissing scene of Maria and Baron von Trapp took place here.  

2017 Europe Salzburg 05 Basilica of Mondsee
Basilica St. Michael of Mondsee. This church is reached international fame because the wedding scene of Maria and Baron von Trapp was filmed in the movie. 

2017 Europe Salzburg 06 mirabell gardens
Our tour ended at beautiful and spectacular Mirabell Garden where the song "Do-Re-Mi" was filmed.

2017 Europe Salzburg 07 Mozart's Birthplace
Right after the tour ended, I went and wandered by myself. Unfortunately by the time I reach Mozarts Geburtshaus (Mozart's birth house) was closed. This is where the Mozart family lived in this house and Mozart himself was born here. Now, this house has turned into a popular museum to house interesting memorabilia and letters. 

How Much I Spent in Salzburg
Here are the breakdown:
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
RM
Accommodation
International Youth Hostel Salzburg – 1 night

Transportation
Train from Vienna to Salzburg

Tour
Sound of Music

Food & Beverages

Others
Locker to store luggage
Souvenirs – magnets, postcards, stamps & etc

20

  
24


37

18


2
11

102

  
123


189

92


10
56


TOTAL:
572
Exchange Rate: €1.00 = RM5.12 as at September 2017

Unlike Vienna, spending a day in Salzburg isn't sufficient enough. There are many things and places to explore apparently, like Bavarian Mountains and Eagles Nest. I have to admit it's my own mistake for didn't plan my trip well. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Goodbye 2017! Hello 2018!

Happy New Year to all those who's still reading my blog and I hope it's not too late for me to blog about my last year travel reflections like I always did for the past few years, except last year.

Here's the recap of my travel adventures for the year 2017 in a nutshell:
2017 DT Travel

Last year, I managed to visit at least 10 different countries - 4 new countries; Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Finland which are listed in my bucket list. Finally ticked off few from my never-ending long list. Apart from that, I also revisited and rediscovered few countries and cities like:
  • Singapore for my sister's ROM. Stayed at Hotel 81 Dickson, one of my favourite budget hotels for the third time. 
  • Australia - Melbourne for the second time and Sydney for the third time (here)
  • Austria but visited new cities such as Vienna, Salzburg and Hallstatt
  • Czech Republic - Prague after 9 years
  • Thailand - Chiang Mai for the second time
  • Kuching for Rainforest Musical Festival with my BFF

Except for my Australia trip which I bought one year in advanced, almost all the trips above I bought kinda last minute as I wasn't sure where should I travel to and my schedule wasn't fixed due to my sister's wedding. So now her big day is over and I can plan for more upcoming trips.

In relation to my blog, I know I blogged less within these two years due to some unforeseeable reasons but then I hope this year I could catch up especially with all my endlessly backlog travelogues. So for those who's still continuing reading my humble blog, I would like to extend my gratitude to each and every of you for the continuously supporting my blog.

Last but not least, my simple new year resolution is to TRAVEL MORE, as always!

Life is made up of moments. Don't waste a single one. Create one instead.
    P/S: I used to hate travelling solo but since ever I embraced myself to Europe alone last year, I'm getting addicted to it. Can't wait for more solo trip soon.

    Tuesday, December 26, 2017

    Europe (2017): Solo Trip to Vienna, Austria

    I can't stay longer in a place. Therefore after spending 3 days 2 nights in Budapest, I decided to proceed to the next country, the next city - Vienna, the capital city of Austria. Austria is not a new country to me as I've been before 9 years ago but at that point of time, I only managed to cover Tyrol, one of the cities located in the west of Austria. So for this time around, I included few cities of Austria in my list that I must visit and shouldn't miss out. 

    From Budapest To Vienna
    There are numerous way to get into Vienna from Budapest but of course for me, I would prefer the cheapest option, which is my main priority then following according to the time schedule which suit me. I took train from Budapest-Keleti Railway Station to "Wien". Bear in mind the station names of all stops in Vienna begin with its German name "Wien". I bought my train ticket in advance from MAV at www.mavcsoport.hu/en for €13 or HUF4,030 (approx. to RM69) for almost 3 hours train ride.

    It's really hard for me to explain everything here, hence I recommend you to read this "The Man in Seat Sixty-One" - the best train travel guide which helps me a lot in planning most of my trips. 

    2017 Europe Budapest Keleti railway station
    Budapest-Keleti Railway Station, the main international and inter-city railway terminal of Budapest

    Huawei P9 - Europe
    I found the seats arrangement pretty awkward cause you sit face to face with other passenger. Imagine you accidentally fall asleep and he/she keep looking at you throughout the train ride. 

    Here comes the confusing part. I never knew Wien has four train stations and for safety purposes, I booked all my train tickets arrive at and depart from Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna Main Station). Only to find out my hostel is closer to the Wien Westbahnhof (Vienna West Station). Silly me! 

    2017 Europe Vienna Main Station
    Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna Main Station) - the most important national and international transportation hub in Austria

    Few things you must take note when taking train from Budapest to Vienna/Wien:
    1) Reserve your seat number in advance and arrive at the train station earlier. There are plenty of passenger couldn't get any seat throughout the journey cause they arrived late. 
    2) Be prepared with your passport as there will be immigration officers checking every passport since the train across from one country to another. 

    Where I Stayed In Vienna
    Vienna is potentially one of the safest cities in the world for its size. So whichever part of the city you choose to stay, you don't have to worry much. Most of the times I prefer to stay closer to the train or bus stations. Hence, I picked Wombats City Hostel Vienna - The Lounge. Do take note there are three different Wombats Hostel in Vienna itself but I prefer The Lounge for its convenient and strategic location. Beside so close to Wien Westbahnhof (Vienna West Station) which I mention earlier, there is a large shopping mall, plenty of shops and restaurants and more. As for the hostel itself, the lounge and dining area are completely huge and I love their kitchenette. How I wish I could stay longer but I only stayed for a night.

    Wombat Hostel Vienna

    Date Stayed: 12 September 2017 (1 night)
    Room Rate: RM116 for a bed in 6 bed female room ensuite with private bathroom. (Booked via Agoda)

    What To Do & See In Vienna
    Now let's start with the day pass or ticket. In the case you love to visit museums and art galleries, you should consider buying Vienna Card (24 hours - €13.90, 48 hours - €21.90 or 72 hours - €24.90) for unlimited public transportation ride and discounts for the museums and art galleries. I bought this but  however by end of the day, I felt not worth because first, I wasn't into all these historical things and it totally can't apply to all the museums. It's better to opt for other ticket instead; the 24-hour ticket for €7.60, 48 hour ticket for €13.30 and 72 hour ticket for €16.50.

    Vienna Card 24 Hours
    Vienna Card (24 hours - €13.90, 48 hours - €21.90 or 72 hours - €24.90) - It's freaking expensive and I found it's not worth for me.

    1) Schonbrunn Palace - former imperial summer residence with ceremonial rooms and stunning gardens. Due to its historical significance, for its unique layout and magnificent furnishings, this palace has been listed in UNESCO World Heritage. To be frank as I don't know much about Austrian history, the only thing I know is this palace is related to Emperor Franz Joseph. What amazed me is there are more than 1,400 rooms in Schonbrunn Palace itself. However, only 45 rooms are open to public for visit.

    2017 Europe Vienna Schönbrunn Palace

    As for the ticket fee, you can choose the tour based on your preference and there is time limit for each tour. Why did I say earlier that the Vienna Card is not worth because the discount can't apply to few of the tours offer like Imperial Tour and Grand Tour. Another thing you should take note is no photography is allowed inside the palace. 

    Getting To Schonbrunn Palace:
    Underground: U4 Schonbrunn station
    Trams: 10 and 58 Schonbrunn
    Bus: 10A Schonbrunn station

    2) St. Stephen's Cathedral - most important and symbolic building of Vienna. The 14th century Romanesque and Gothic cathedral is famous for its multi-coloured tiled roof and has played a part in Viennese culture over the centuries, witnessing many important imperial and social events.  

    2017 Europe Vienna St. Stephen's Cathedral

    Getting To St. Stephen's Cathedral
    Underground: U1, U3 Stephansplatz

    3) Graben Shopping Street - exclusive and noble shopping street in the heart of the inner city. Here, you can enjoy shopping like H&M and able to find a lot of different eatable souvenirs from Vienna. There are even plenty of coffee shops and restaurants tucked in between all these shops. 

    2017 Europe Vienna Graben Shopping Street

    Getting To Graben Shopping Street
    Underground: U1, U3 Stephansplatz

    4) Imperial Hofburg - impressive and incredible building at the Heldenplatz public space with long history. It's situated at Vienna's splendor boulevard, the Ringstrasse and is reachable from there through the Burgtor gate. It used to be principal imperial winter residence and today the the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. 

    2017 Europe Vienna Hofburg

    Getting To Imperial Hofburg
    Underground: U3 Herrengasse station

    5) Wiener Rathaus - the town hall of Vienna. Built in a Neo-Gothic style, it houses the office of the Mayor of Vienna as well as the chambers of the city council. Among all the buildings I visited, I particular love this especially for its richly adorned facade. And before I arrived at this town hall, there is a spectacular city garden known as Rathauspark which manicured with beautiful flowers, monuments and fountains.  

    2017 Europe Vienna Rathaus

    2017 Europe Vienna Rathauspark

    Getting To Wiener Rathaus
    Underground: U2 Rathaus staion


    6) Vienna Opera House - Ended my night in Vienna by visiting the worldwide known opera house. In here, the audience can watch daily opera performances, ballet shows and sometimes concert and one time a year an operatta which is the Fledermaus as traditional New Year's Eve performance. As I was arrived late, I unable to join the guided tour which costs approximately €9 for an hour tour. 

    2017 Europe Vienna Opera House 01

    2017 Europe Vienna Opera House 02

    Getting To Vienna Opera House
    Underground: U1, U2 and U4 Karlsplatz station

    I love to do cafe hopping and if possible, I would try to fit in at least one cafe visit into my itinerary. As I unable to visit one of the most popular cafe in Budapest because it was too crowded, I decided to try my luck to visit one in Vienna. After reading few reviews from Tripadvisor, I picked - Cafe Central. If you are searching for authentic Viennese food like Wiener Schnitzel, apple strudel and hot Viennese coffee, perhaps this classic cafe is the right place for you to sit down, relax, unwind and admire the old world charm history.

    2017 Europe Vienna Cafe Central 01
    Go early or else there would be long queue 

    2017 Europe Vienna Cafe Central 02
    Cakes for the sweet tooth like me - Aren't they beautiful? 

    2017 Europe Vienna Cafe Central 03
    And more cakes on the other side. How I wish I can order more but I was all alone. 

    2017 Europe Vienna Cafe Central 04
    I ordered Wiener Melange - Viennese style coffee, extended espresso with fronted milk. 

    Of course when comes to the price, expecting a cup of coffee to cost at least €5 as well as for the cake. Oh well at least it worth for the price I paid especially for its cozy ambiance and slow-paced atmosphere. Another thing you should take note when dining-in in Europe is expecting to give tips at least 10% from your total bill. I didn't know this until one of my hostelmates told me about it. No wonder the waiter didn't return my change when my bill is only €9.20 but then I gave him €10.

    How Much I Spent in Vienna
    Here are the breakdown:

    PARTICULARS
    AMOUNT
    RM
    Accommodation
    Wombats City Hostel Vienna - The Lounge – 1 night

    Transportation
    Train from Budapest to Vienna
    Vienna City Pass

    Admission Fee
    Schonbrunn Palace - Grand Tour 

    Food & Beverages

    Others 
    Souvenirs – magnets, postcards, stamps & etc

    -


    -
    13.90


    17.50

    22.30


    7.10


    116


    69
    71


    90

    114


    36

    TOTAL:
    496

    Exchange Rate: €1.00 = RM5.12 as at September 2017


    Frankly speaking, Vienna is not my liking and luckily I only stayed for a night. It's indeed one beautiful city to visit especially for those who haven't been Vienna yet but somehow, nothing impressed me here. So what's next after this? Stay tune! 

    2017 Europe Vienna 01
    I crossed the road many times just to take this cute traffic light I spotted in Vienna 🚦💑

    Thursday, December 7, 2017

    Europe (2017): Great Market Hall of Budapest, Hungary

    The thing that I like to do when travel overseas is visiting souvenir markets. I love to hunt for souvenirs such as postcards, fridge magnets, keychains and even their own local products. And when in Budapest, the most recommended place if you are looking for souvenirs for your family and friends back home would be the Great Market Hall.

    2017 Europe Budapest 07 Great Market Hall

    Also known as Central Market Hall, it is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest city. It consists of three-storey hall where the ground floor selling daily products such as fruits, poultry, vegetables and etc whereas for the upper floor where you can find raft of stalls selling variety of souvenirs such as Hungarian dolls, embroidered linens, glassware and more. Obviously the upper floor is my favourite section where I wandered for hours, until sensory overload kicks in. 

    Tuesday, October 24, 2017

    Chasing Autumn in Hokkaido, Japan

    In case you follow my Instagram, yes I'm on another trip to Japan again and I choose to be back to Hokkaido once again which I went last year during the end of winter and early of spring but this time around, I travel during the fall which is one of my favourite seasons after spring. 

    My second trip to Hokkaido I went and discover new places such as Furano, Biei and Asahikawa which I missed out last year. Here are the sneak peek as usual:

    Blue Pond
    #1: The calm and serene famous Blue Pond in Biei

    Hokkaido Furano
    #2: Vibrantly colourful flower farm in Furano

    Asahiyama Zoo
    #3: Asahikawa Zoo in Asahikawa 

    Of course some of the places I encountered and went back for the second time but it's really worth for another visit. Trust me, Hokkaido is amazing and mesmerising in any seasons. Planning to go for the third time.

    Hokkaido Otaru 01
    #4: Otaru Canal, been here before but I really love this small and calm port town.

    Hokkaido Otaru 04
    #5: It's sunny day in Otaru and I love the weather

    IMG_3785
    #6: A trip to Hokkaido is incomplete without having the famous King Crab. Five of us ordered the crab weighted 1.6 kg. It's so sweet and juice. 

    Oh yeah! I haven't back to Malaysia yet cause I'm currently wandering around Tokyo alone while my friends went back home already. I don't feel like wanna go back home yet. This gal with itchy feet never stop wandering around. 

    #7: The life-sized Unicorn Gundam statue in Odaiba

    In case you haven't read my previous post on Hokkaido which I went last year, check out this:
    9D7N Hokkaido (Japan) 2016 Itinerary & Travel Expenses

    Sayonara!

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Europe (2017): 3D2N in Budapest, Hungary


    Honestly to say right after I purchased the airticket to Europe with Thai Airways, I was indecisive of which countries should I cover this time around. Besides Denmark and Finland, I have no idea where should I go and travel. There are so many in my bucket list - Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Poland and more (I know I know I'm greedy) but it's impossible for me to cover all when I only have 16 full days in Europe. At the end I decided to go Budapest, Hungary when I stumbled upon flight from Copenhagen, Denmark to Budapest directly for as low as €49.20 (approx. to RM256) which included 20kg baggage allowance via Norwegian. There is another airline, Ryanair which offer more lower fare but unfortunately the flight is at night. Cause I travel alone, therefore I prefer to travel during the daytime.

    2017 Europe Norwegian to Budapest
    Although Norwegian is a low cost airline but the best part is it offers free WiFi to all passengers on its transatlantic flights. That's pretty cool man! 

    From Airport To The City Center
    The most economical way is by taking the public transportation. There are two buses you can opt for:
    1) Bus 200E to Kőbánya-Kispest, which is the final and last stop and then change for the M3 (blue) metro line.
    2) Bus 100E. The buses stops only in the direction of Deák Ferenc tér at Kálvin tér and Astoria. One way cost HUF900 and the ticket can be bought at BKK customer centers, cash desks, and ticket machines. The journey takes about 40 minutes. (I took this one as my hostel is nearer to Astoria.)

    Currency
    Hungary's national currency is the Hungarian Forint, or HUF. It's advisable to change to the local currency because Euro is not widely accepted is most of the places like restaurants, market and not forgetting when travel using public transportation. Try to change as little as possible in airport as the rate is €1 to HUF245. I'm not sure where is the best place to change local currency but from what I observed, I found out Great Market Hall offers the best rate. Fortunately, debit and credit cards are widely accepted even at a fast food restaurant. I rely heavily on my debit card to do my shopping when my luggage went missing. 

    [Note: Remember to activate your debit card before travelling overseas especially if you are using local banks like CIMB, Maybank]

    How To Get Around Budapest
    Budapest city splits into half by the Danube river, the west side known as Buda and east side known as Pest. Majority of Budapest's attractions are within easy walking distance. Besides that, Budapest's extensive public transit system is generally convenient and easy to navigate. One can travel via metro but few major attractions particularly on the Buda area are served by buses and trams. As one single trip with metro cost HUF300, maybe one can consider to purchase the following travelcard:
    • 24-hour travelcard = HUF1,650 (Valid for 24 hours after purchase) 
    • 72-hour travelcard = HUF4,150 (Valid for 72 hours after purchase) 
    Initially I plan to buy 72-hour travelcard but at the end, I didn't do so cause I keep walking and walking for non-stop. By end of the day, I think I walk more than 20km in a day.

    What To Do & See In Budapest, Hungary
    Here are few attractions and famous landmarks I managed to visit around Budapest:

    1) St. Stephen's Basilica - Budapest's largest church houses Hungary's most scared relic. It is named in honor of Stephen, the first King of Hungary whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary. Admission fee is free but kind donation of HUF200 is appreciated.  

    2017 Europe Budapest 01 St. Stephen's Basilica
    This Roman Catholic basilica just located very close to my hostel. 


    2017 Europe Budapest 01 St. Stephen's Basilica 02
    Altar of St. Stephen's Basilica 

    2017 Europe Budapest 03 Rose Gelato
    Gelarto Rosa next to St. Stephen's Basilica 

    Getting To St. Stephen's Basilica:
    Arany Janos utca under M3 (blue) metro line.

    2) Szechenyi Chain Bridge - The oldest suspension bridge that spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest. Trip to Budapest is incomplete without walk through this bridge.

    2017 Europe Budapest 02 Széchenyi Chain Bridge

    3) Matthias Church - This is one of the finest churches in Budapest and the most unique churches in Europe I ever came across. What amazed me is the coloured tiles roofs which making this church is totally different for the rest of churches I've ever seen. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 03 Matthias Church

    2017 Europe Budapest 03 Matthias Church 02

    Getting There
    Bus: 16A Bus from Szell Kalman Square (M2 metro station) or 16 Bus from Deak Square (M1, M2 and M3 metro lines)
    Funicular: From Clark Adam Square to the Castle Hill and an approx. 10-15 min walk from the Funicular. 
    Admission Fee: HUF1,500

    4) Fisherman's Bastion - Just east of Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style. This looks alike fairy-tale castle offers amazing and marvelous panoramic views of the entire city of Budapest. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 04 Fisherman's Bastion

    2017 Europe Budapest 04 Fisherman's Bastion 02

    I only managed to visit 4 attractions and landmarks on the first day arrived in Budapest because I was busy shopping for my clothes, toiletries and necessities. So on the next day, I woke up as early as 6 am as I can't wait to wander around the charming city of Budapest. 

    5)  Liberty Statue or Freedom Statue - Early morning without having any breakfast, I hiked up the hill alone for the sake of this monument - a lovely lady with a palm frond stands atop of the Gellert Hill of Budapest. It commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom and prosperity of the country. Hiking up was indeed exhausting but the view from the top is breathtaking. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 05 Citadella

    Solo Trip to Europe

    6) Liberty Bridge - In order for one to get up to the Liberty Statue, he or she should across the Liberty Bridge first. (Just kidding! I know it sounds lame.) This is another popular bridge besides Szechenyi Chain Bridge. Although it's the shortest bridge in Budapest, but it is the most important and busiest bridge in the city. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 06 Liberty Bridge 02


    7) Great Market Hall - Also known as Central Market Hall, it is the largest and oldest indoor market in the city. It consists of two floors where the ground floor selling daily products such as fruits, meats, vegetables and etc whereas for the top floor, there are a raft of stalls selling tourists favourite souvenirs such as Hungarian dolls, embroidered linens, glassware and more. This is one the place where I wandered for hours, until sensory overload kicks in. (I should blog more of this in the next post instead

    2017 Europe Budapest 07 Great Market Hall

    2017 Europe Budapest 07 Great Market Hall 02

    Getting to Great Market Hall:

    Tram 2, 47 or 49 or 5 min walk from Kalvin ter (Blue metro line). Alternatively, one can walk through the famous shopping street called Vaci utca, starting from Vorosmarty Square which takes about 15 min walk and the Grand Market Hall is right at the end of Vaci Street.

    8) Shoe on the Danube Bank - Stroll along at the east bank of Danube River and you will come across one of Budapest's most moving memorials. It was created to honor those who were killed during WWII. They were ordered to take off their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank. This memorial is not far away from Hungarian Parliament Building.  

    2017 Europe Budapest 08 Shoes on the Danube Bank

    9) Hungarian Parliament Building - The most notable and well-known landmark which represents Hungary. It's another magnificent example of neo-Gothic architecture, besides Matthias Church which I mentioned earlier. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 09 Hungarian Parliament Building

    2017 Europe Budapest 09 Hungarian Parliament Building 02

    Getting To Hungarian Parliament Building:
    The nearest metro station is Kossuth ter on M2 (red) metro line.
    Admission Fee: HUF4,000 for non-EU citizen which I found quite pricey, hence I skip of visiting inside. 

    10) Hősök tere - Known as Heroes Square, it is one of the major squares in Budapest noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    2017 Europe Budapest 10 Hosök tere

    2017 Europe Budapest 10-1 Hosök tere

    Getting To Hősök tere:
    The nearest metro station is Hősök tere on M1 (yellow) metro line.

    11) Széchenyi Thermal Bath - Budapest is well-known for its thermal bath and the most popular is Széchenyi Thermal Bath which claimed to be the largest in Budapest. Not just that, it is also one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in Europe too. No wonder it was so crowded and packed when I was there. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 11 Széchenyi thermal bath

    12) Buda Castle - It is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest.

    2017 Europe Budapest 13 Buda Castle

    Where I Stayed in Budapest
    There are plenty of options when comes to choosing lodging in Budapest - it just a matter of the location and budget. I chosen to stay in Essential Hostel for a bed in 4 mixed dormitory room with private bathroom. 

    2017 Europe Budapest 14 Essential Hostel

    Date Stayed: 10 September - 12 September 2017 (2 nights)
    Rate We Paid :  HUF5,000 per night for a bed in 4 mixed dormitory room with private bathroom. And breakfast is included (Booked via Agoda.com but full amount paid upon check-in). Approx. to RM92 per night

    Pros:
    1) Location - It's very close to Kobanya-Kispest on M3 (blue) metro line and St. Stephen's Basilica is just behind the hostel building. There are even few supermarkets and restaurants in the immediate neighbourhood.
    2) Friendly, kind and helpful staff. The check-in process was fast and smooth.
    3) Spacious and huge storage facilities.
    4) Bed with curtains that can be pulled which I can have more privacy.
    5) Private bathroom attached within the room. So, just need to share with the other 3 instead of 10.

    Cons:
    1) Slightly unorganised and dirty kitchen.
    2) The lounge area always fully occupied.

    How Much I Spent
    Here are the breakdown of how much I spent for my 3 days and 2 nights trip in Budapest:
    PARTICULARS
    AMOUNT
    HUF
    RM
    Air Fares
    Norwegian from Copenhagen to Budapest (€49.20)

    Accommodation
    Essential Hostel – 2 nights

    Transportation
    Bus 100E from airport to city center
    Metro – 3 trips

    Food & Beverages

    Others
    Kind donation for St. Stephen’s Basilica
    Toilet 
    Souvenirs – magnets, postcards, stamps & etc

    -


    10,000


    900
    1,050

    8,781


    200
    250
    8,610


    255


    185


    16
    19

    162


    4
    5
    159

    TOTAL:
    805

    Exchange Rate: €1.00 = HUF295 on average 

    Overall, I personally think Budapest is one of the cities in Europe that is pretty cheap and affordable to visit as a traveller. If I don't take airfare and my own souvenirs haul into the account, the total damages is RM391.