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Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

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Manchester UK
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Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

Hi all,,

Just thought id post a brief trip report as a first time visitor which might help other Buda newbies. I cant vouch for accuracy so only a guide.

We had a 4 night stay in BP recently.

Arriving

Budapest airport is very modern and well organised. Its almost a pleasure to be in the place to arrive or depart. There is free wi fi and plenty of good quality shops and places to eat. On arrival,you may encounter people in the foyer offering taxi's etc.

If you go straight outside you will find the Fotaxi booth. Tell the attendant where you want to go and she will issue you with a fixed fare voucher and a contact card. You then get in the official Fotaxi cab and give the voucher to the driver. For example the fixed fare to the city centre chain bridge area was 5800ft. When you arrive, retain the voucher for your return journey.

To book your return journey to can pre book it on the Fotaxi website or swimply phone them and they will arrive quickly. Again show the driver the voucher and pay the fixed fare.

General safety-no issues encountered. Seems very safe by day and night. You may see homeless people in doorways and the odd drunk. also we noticed some prostitues loitering near major hotels. One or two were quite persistant at pursuing lone males and trying to hook them. This was at night time though.

Metro system-an excellent way of getting around. Fast efficient and cheap. Tickets appear to be 320ft for a single journey. You can buy tickets from the attendant or put coins in a machine at the stations. Very important..you will see orange machines on stands. You must insert your ticket in machine to validate it. Ticket inspectors operate,.some real,some fake and some corrupt. If they try to fine you,refuse to pay them and say you will pay later. Get off asap and leave. Do not give anyone money.

Eating out-plenty of places,both local and chain restaurants. Can be confusing as there is the bill,the service and a tip..all of which may or may not be expected and can be interchageable ! Check menu before sitting down and check whats included. There are all you can eat type places otherwise known as Troefea's notably one on Kiraly St

Foreign exchange-rates that easily better UK rates can be found in the many exchanges in the main shopping areas.

Baths-A must do experience which can be confusing ! We visited Szechenyi baths in City park which is at the end of Andrassy Ut and close to Heros Square.

On entry you will see four pay cubicles. Go to any of them. You can hire either a locker (with communal changing area) or a private Cabin. A Cabin may be shared if you are a couple though they are quite small. You will be issued with an electronic wrist band. Pass through the turnstile by showing the wrist band to the sensor. To find your cabin,you will see electronic displays on the walls at intervals. Hold your wristband to the display sensor area and it will validate you and display the locker number. If you now go to your locker and hold wristband to cabin door sensor,it will miraculously open ! You can then change and enter the baths. You can hire towels (downstairs) they are 600 ft with 1000ft returnable deposit. You MUST retain the paper receipt you are given in order to reclaim your 1000ft deposit. There are also lockers downstairs.

You could always bring your own towel or borrow one from your hotel room.

The Basilica- free entry except you are expected to drop a minimum gift of 200ft per person in the collection box at entrance. The Holy relic hand of st Stephen is only on display at certain times,typically from around 1300 to 1600 or thereabouts so visit in the afternoon. Watch out for concerts in the Basilica which you may like to attend.

Some hotels are worth calling into to admire the architecture,notably Greshams Four seasons.

Buda Hill/Palace..can be reached via funicular at end of chain bridge. There are single and return tickets.

Alternatively you could make the up and/or down trip using the steps which are just round to the right of the tunnel which is to the right of the funicular. The steps are called Kiraly lepcso. If you are using these steps at night,be a little careful and dont travel them on your own just in case.

Buda Hill..a good spread of small restaurants/shops etc. Some have set menu lunches and dinners etc.

When walking up the hill from the funicular towards St Matthias Church,at the junction of Tarnok and Disz Ter, you will see a supermarket. there is a small coffee shop upstairs and also a vast selection of local and international wines at good supermarket prices.

By the way if you are flying from the UK and changing at Schipol for Budapest,then you are entering a Schengen agreement border and you must pass through another passport control point. If your ticket is booked straight through,then it is likely you will arrive at Schipol in the upstairs arrivals area. Simply follow directions to your gate number and this will ensure you go the right way. Do not get confused and go downstairs>outside as you will then have entered Amsterdam and will then have to re-enter,pass security and this will delay you !

Hope this helps..

Manchester UK
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1. Re: Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

PS.. forgot to mention....it may be of interest to visit the Terror House on Andrassy which can be reached on the metro M1 line. It is closed on Mondays.

Note that this isnt a tourist attraction. It is more of an educational experience and a warning. Some people may find it quite a harrowing experience.

Chester, United...
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2. Re: Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

Sounds like you had a good time, we also visited at end of Feb for first time and have posted a trip report. However we flew with Jet2.com from Manchester, very straightforward but busy!

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

Afew points of clarification:

1. The advice to "walk away" from the Metro control agents (Kontroll) is about as bad as it gets. If Kontroll, either in a uniform or with an arm band, questions you and you don't have a valid ticket, you are technically under arrest at that point. If you flee, you may find yourself visiting a place not on your itinerary...jail. They have ticket books and you will be fined on the spot. This is not "corruption", it is the law. Pay it, learn your lesson and move on. In addtion, I have seen it mentioned but don't know personally if it is true, that the receipt you get for paying your fine is kind of a "get out of jail free" card...you can ride the rest of the day without having to get another ticket. Do any of the locals know if this it true?

2. The "collection" box is not an admission fee. It is a donation box. Many of the small masses don't collect from the parishioners and they generally used that box instead either before or after mass. This box has many uses. One of which is to pay for the brooms, mops, soap and wax to clean the floors eveyday after all the tourists tromp through. A very big use is as the "poor box". It is used to provide warm food and blankets and,if lucky, dry shelter for those unfortunates you saw starving and sleeping in the freezing cold. 200HUF is less than a US dollar. If you are from the west, and you are enjoying all the grand sights in Budapest, you are eating like a king and going back to a nice, warm, soft hotel bed...I suggest you tip in a 500HUF bill into the box. That is less than you would pay for a cup of coffee and who knows how many hungry people it can feed?

3. Terror Haz. It is an interesting perspective to view it as an educational place for locals. Yes, it is educational but also a very good museum. People from all over Europe, the US and all over the world come here. As suggested in the review below, it is best to start from the top and work down. Personally I got as far as the Kommissar's office (same place for the Nazis and the Soviets) before I asked it if I was allowed to go outside for a few minutes. I sat on the bus bench and then went back in to finish the museum. It is curiouse that someone filed a review that found the "replica" chambers in the basement to be somewhat inauthentic. Those rooms are exactly as they were found, except they have been cleaned up. It is a VERY moving experience once you realize the people in the photos upstairs were taken to these very rooms. A sobering but very worthwhile place to visit while in Budapest.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g274887-d325…

Edited: 09 March 2012, 18:35
Budapest, Hungary
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4. Re: Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

Nice to hear you had a good time in Budapest.

I agree with Donbacsi, if you are caught without ticket you have to pay the fine, if you walk away, they will get you anyways. These ticket inspectors are real, although sometimes they don't wear uniform just an arm band. No one like them in Budapest because they can be rude and corrupted, so I don't think anyone would like to play the ticket inspector role.

Most tourists think that these guys are after them, it is not true they are after people who don't buy the ticket for the ride, it happens to locals as well.

As far as I know, it is not true that if you pay a fine, you don't have to buy another ticket for the rest of the day. You get a receipt that you paid 8,000 ft on the spot. If you are caught again, you will have to pay another fine.

The link above explains clearly about fines in Budapest's public transport.

http://bkv.hu/en/fines/fines

Edited: 11 March 2012, 08:00
Manchester UK
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5. Re: Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

I think that many tourists could be caught out as they are new visitors and simply dont understand the system. I did read somewhere that you can offer to pay the fine later by supplying your ID,taking the ticket to a main office somewhere? There was also a warning that sometimes there are fake ticket collectors??

6. Re: Trip report-Budapest first time visitor..

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