How to survive in Budapest, Budapest
I found walking around Budapest quite easy. I had my FREE TOURIST MAP, but instead of looking at that all the time, I just checked out the BROWN TOURIST SIGNS located on the corners of streets. These were extra good, as they had a drawing, say of a Church, the name of the Church and the direction to walk.
Not only that, look on these signposts to find where the nearest Toilet is located.
My photo shows, walk to the left for WC 80 metres, mens & ladies, and to the right is the Franciscan Church and Greek Uniate Church.
A pat on the back for Budapest signage!
Do some research before you travel. A well informed traveler is a safe traveler. I have traveled to many countries of which many have been alone. Not once have I had any problems with either the locals or other travelers.
Reading a bit of the history of the country you are visiting will definitely allow you to have a better experience. Knowing a bit of the transporation system and pinpointing the places you'll like to visit will definitely help you have the best trip ever.
The local currency is the Hungarian Forint. The notes come in denominations of 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000. The coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 forints.
At the time of my visit the exchange rate was about 170 HUF to $1 (US).
Hungary was a fantastic deal for my money, especially since the US dollar is taking a beating from the Euro and the British Pound.
There is a great website called ShowMeBudapest.com and they host a free downloadable magazine in PDF format for Budapest. It is to assist those people coming to Budapest, Hungary that are particularly interested in tourism and relocation.
This magazine will help guide you around the city. The magazine includes Budapest Information, Discount Coupons, Hungarian Language Info, Maps and Much More!
The website is http://www.showmebudapest.com
Favorite thing: Get a Budapest Card. Available at the train stations and various other places Im sure. Saves you a fair amount of money but the best thing is the book that goes with it. Great resource. Decent maps and darn near every tourist thing you can think of as well as whether or not they accept the Budapest Card and how much of a discount it gets you. Comes in 7 different languages. I got the 72 hour card for 5900Ft. Oh, and includes all local public transit. Very convenient. And the transit authorities were out full force when I was there.
Thanks to Balázs (privateguide.hu) I was able to get a feel for the nightllife. Usually, I would end up in touristy bars and would not have any idea about where the locals go. The nightlife in Budapest was not what I expected at all. It was really cool, stylish and so different to back home.
A trip with Balázs is an absolute must. His trips are tailored to your needs and much more personal. He has so much knowledge and a great sense of humour.
Fondest memory: I really miss the nightlife as the variety just cannot be found where I live.
This doesn't really go down as my fondest memory, but since there wasn't any other place to put it...
The Hungarian language is difficult. I personally do not have an ear for language and consider myself linguistically challenged. I cringe my way through Croatian, Spanish, Italian, and German. But Hungarian is a whole different ballgame.
The Hungarian language belongs to the Finno-Ugric family. However, most Hungarians can't understand their European "relatives" the Finns and Estonians. Which means it's kind of out there on its own. My advice is to buy a book and do your best. Most service providers generally speak German and/or English, hotel staff members understand several languages, and so communication won't be a problem. Just don't get frustrated!
Don't wear Your backpack on Your back if You are on public transport vehicle or in shopping centre, because some pickpockets maybe in work! One time I took my coat on the back of a chair in the West End City Center (big shopping centre in Budapest) and I sat down. One hour later, when I put on my coat, my mobile phone was already stolen from its inner pocket. :(
Keep one of Your eyes on the groud to dodge the outputs of the dogs and the other one on the marvellous buildings.
The Hungarian nation (especially in Budapest) is not a keep-smiling nation.
If you visit Budapest, you'll notice those moody, gloomy people on the streets, on the buses, trams, everywhere.
Don't worry, not all of them are depressed. It's simply tiring to keep smiling 24 hours a day, that's all.
Following are the basic prices of common items in Budapest
Telephone call (single local call) 20 HUF
Mineral Water 80-150 HUF
Milk 140-180 HUF
Bread 75 HUF
Beer 160 HUF
Chocolate bar, Local 90 HUF
Cigarettes 265-370 HUF
Public Transport Ticket 100 HUF
P. Transport day pass 800 HUF