City bus tours
To my opinion taking the touristic bus for a 1-2 hours trip is a big trap.
Although it can be a perfect option for a tourist that have limited time in Budapest and wants to see as much as he can.
Ths bus ride will cost more than 3000 forints most of the time
Unique Suggestions: If you are on the bus try to enjoy as much as you can , see a lot of things and attractions , take a lot of pictures.
Fun Alternatives: The best way to my opinion is to walk to each attraction and see it for yourself but if you are a limited time tourist , try take tram number 2 and you will get an almost free sightseeing tour.
A tram ride will cost you something like 200 forint , while the real city tour bus will cost more than 3000 forint !
The ride is less than 30 minutes and you will see - the danube , the parliament , museum of ethnography , lajos kossuth square , chain bridge , vigado square , a view to gellert hill , central market hall and more.
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Beautiful girls wants to drink with you
This is a warning to the men - If you see a nice lady that asks you to come and drink with her , you should know that it can be a big trap.
You will sit in a bar or cafe with her and you will pay for drinks that you didnt order.
It is not a problem if you need to pay for her coffee 1-2 euro , but the prices can be 400-500 or even 1000 Euro/USD and this is very expensive for a cup of coffee.
I heard a lot of stories , even here on VT , and saw some girls in Vaci utca area.
Fun Alternatives: Avoid these girls . try to meet a local girl by yourself if you want.
Restaurants in touristic areas
There are a lot of restaurants near the touristic areas.
The prices of the restaurants will be more expensive and the food quality will not be better than a local restaurant.
Fun Alternatives: The best thing to do is to try to find a restaurant where local people eat , this way you will be sure the food quality will be good and also the service and prices.
For example - Vaci utca will be more touristic and expensive than Raday utca.
- Food and Dining
Because you are a tourist , some restaurants will give you a bill with different pricing , so always check for whay you ordered and if there is a service include in the bill.
For example - a restaurant called Fesztival kavezo near the chain bridge added 550 forint on the bill because i ordered french fries and they gave me french fries with ketchup without letting me know that it is more money (you can see it on my restaurant tip also).
Unique Suggestions: Check the menu carefuly , check the bill and enjoy the food.
Budapest metro... a rude experience!
I had arrived early in the morning by bus at nepleti station and was told to go to keleti pu to check the tourist office. i took a transfer ticket for 420 florints. after that i asked a railway officer which train i shd take and the only thing he asked me is whether i have a ticket. then when i got off at deak ter, i ask0ed another railway officer how i shd go to keleti pu. instead of helping me he charged me 6000 florints or 25 euros for not validating my ticket. and then he refused to listen to me... that i had only arrived in the morning and there was no way i could have used the ticket. he threatened me with the police and asked me to show my passport.
i was quite devastated, if i may say so. i was on a budget trip and on my own so i could not argue much either. i didnt have money left after that and could not do much in the city. i left the same evening.
does anyone know if there is any way one can lodge this complaint somewhere? it would do the city's tourism industry some good if their railway officers were more understanding.
if you do know, do post it on the forum.
and yes, be careful on the metro.
Budapest metro... a rude experience!
This june, I was in Budapest. I reached early in the morning by bus. I was looking for a tourist office and was told to go to keleti pu. for that i had to change the train. I bought a transfer ticket for 420 florints (about 1.6 euros?). then i asked a railway official which train i must take....he only asked me whether i bought a ticket which i had. when i reached deak ter, I asked about railway officer. instead of helping me, he charged me 6000 florints for not validating my ticket..which i found was a mere punching of the ticket...not even a date and time. i pleaded and told him that i had arrived in the morning and there was no way i could have used it earlier. he refused to listen and asked me if i want to go to the police or show him my passport. i tried to reason with him but he refused. and then i had to pay 20 euros and the rest in florints! i was on a budget trip... and it sort of ruined the rest of my day :(
i want to ask whether other people have had similar experiences (olive?). i would also like to warn others who travel by the metro there. further...i want to ask how can one take action against this behavior?
i hope to get some response!
Madamme Pompadour`s bar
This place is the most notorious tourist trap in Budapest. You find it at the end of the Northern Váci street, close to the Elisabeth Bridge. It`s name was Table dance bar for a while, but, as since every english-american-italian-spanish....etc....guide book warned the tourists not to enter, it was recently renamed to Madamme Pompadour`s bar. Don`t let this tiny trick deceives you! It`s all the same again!
Let`s talk about the trap itself: there is mostly a nice girl at the entrance who invites (group of) young boys to the bar. After entering others lovely ladies join them and wanted to be invited to a drink.
The problem comes when you must pay the bill: in fact, the bill comes with the gorillas and they make you pay up to 2-3000 EUR or USD. If you haven`t got this sum, they are so "gentle" to escort you to an ATM and force you to get this money.
Unique Suggestions: 1. Pray to God.
2. Call police (the number is 107)-but this probably won`t help, also because they know the police well and this bar is still open after all these crimes....
Fun Alternatives: Do not EVER set foot to this bar! NEVER.
Eat an icecream instead. It costs 1-2 EUR and not 2000-3000.....
- Luxury Travel
beware of the vulture ticket inspectors in Budapest who prey on tourists I bought a metro ticket from a kiosk and kept the receipt ,then I went two stops and changed lines to get to keleti staion. there were 3 ticket validating machines two didnt work and one I thought did because it made all the sounds when i stuck my ticket in.( This was the first time I as a tourist used the metro) when I arrived at keleti the woman stopped me and said ticket no good no stamp' I showed her the receipt but she demanded "6ooo fine you pay now! I protested I had paid for my journey.but she demanded my passport and said she would call the police and I would then pay double fine. I gave her what I thought was a 5ööö and a 1ööö note and she snatched it kept my ticket and gave me no receipt. later I found i was 15ooo short so i must have given her a ten. (she knew it) I cant beleive these people have now been accepted into the european union. I have experienced rudness and stealing in my short time here'
Budapest Card - Carte Budapest sans intérêt.
The Budapest card is of not much interest because the main (national) museums have free entrance for the permanent collections. For the temporary exhibitions it is possible to have free entrance or a reduction if you are 65 and from the EU but you have to ask for it (sometimes to discuss for it).
A 3 days travel card costs only 2.500 HUF compared to the 5.900 HUF for the Budapest card. -=============================
Carte Budapest est peu intéressante car les principaux musées (nationaux) sont gratuits pour les collections permanentes. Pour les expositions temporaires il faut payer mais il est possible d'avoir l'entrée gratuite ou une réduction si l'on a 65 ans et membre de l'UE.
Il faut en faire la demande, n'hésitez pas à discuter.
A titre d'anecdote au Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Iparmuveszeti Museum) il y avait une exposition temporaire d'une dizaine de tapisseries Bruxelloises qui, vu mes origines, m'intéressaient.
A l'entrée du musée il était indiqué que les collections permanentes n'étaient pas accessibles. L'entrée pour les tapisseries (9 en tout) était de 800 HUF. Après discussion avec la caissière et le garde qui parlait un peu l'anglais, j'obtins la réduction à 400 HUF parce que 65 ans et membre UE. J'étais seul - avec la gardienne - dans la salle des tapisseries, fort belles d'ailleurs. A la sortie de cette salle elle m'indiqua que je pouvais visiter le reste des collections permanentes!
Le truc étant de ne laisser visiter les collections permanentes gratuites qu'à ceux ayant payé l'entrée à la collection temporaire.
Petites arnaques de Budapest!
- Museum Visits
Catacombs- stupid hungarian joke
On top of the hill, behind the palace is a attraction that advertises itself as the amazing catacombs under the palace where Nazi troops held up during WW2. Its about as amazing and historical as a look in the toilet bowl. Made up archeological finds and cave paintings make this a very corny experience.
Unique Suggestions: Pretend that you are five years old, and play hide and seek in the dark cave, making sure to jump out and surprise unsuspecting tourists.
- Budget Travel
Statue Park? More like Suck Park!
The Statue Park sounds like its going to be really cool, with lots of Great remnants of the Communist era (like that scene in 007 Goldeneye when Pierce goes to meet up with Janus, only to realize that Janus is actually his old double-0 partner, and they are in this big maze of Stalin statues and giant hammer & sickles and old tank parts, and its all scary and there fog blowing around and omminous music in the background), but its nothing like that. It looks like someone built the twenty or so "statues" out of play-doh while wearing a blindfold.
Unique Suggestions: Drink heavily or take some illegal drugs along.
Fun Alternatives: If you absolutely NEED to see some cool communist sh*t (like if its a school project, and you will get an F in communist studies otherwise), I suggest checking out the Terror Museum. Its much less expensive, within walking distance, and very cool! It gives a very detailed overview of both communist and Nazi involvement in Hungary, with lots of authentic artifacts, and creatively presented. Not your average museum, very well done, but lots of reading is required, so be well rested and ready to do some heavy reading, or splurge on the headset audio guide.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Money exchange in Vaci utca
Some of the money exchange offices apply really low rates. Be careful and check a few of them before changing your money.
Unique Suggestions: In Vaci utca, there are several exchange offices. If you see that rate is not good, you can walk some meters and check the next one.
Fun Alternatives: Some of the offices apply reasonable rates. Just walk along the street and choose the one with the best rate.
Budapest strip clubs
I went to Budapest with nine friends on a stag weekend last weekend. Needless to say, strip clubs are part and parcel of the experience, and fortunately I was given some tips by another mate who had been to Budapest the previous year - he recommended Hallo and Marilyns and said to avoid the Candy Shop like the plague. He also warned me about the cab drivers who will try to talk you into going to the other clubs. This advice was invaluable as twice we had cab drivers who tried to do just that, the second time when we asked to go to Hallo, he told us that he'd take us there, but that he went there himself the previous week and the girls weren't up to much and offered to take us to a better place. He even said he'd wait outside for an a few minutes so if we decided to come back out he would be there to take us to a better place. Bloody nice bloke lol.. it would be easy to be persuaded but make sure you're not..
Unique Suggestions: Just stick to Marilyn's or Hallo...
Fun Alternatives: Well, my other mate had mentioned both Hallo's and Marilyn's but said Hallo's was the better of the two. Stag republic recommended the both of them and pretty much echoed everything he had said about cab drivers and any other club, but favoured Marilyn's and said that Hallo's was "mostly safe.. but watch your step". As far as our experiences went, Hallo was absolutely fine - no cover charge, the drinks were the prices you'd expect in this sort of establishment. Contrary to what I've read elsewhere, there was no suggestion of buying any of the girls drinks (though that is a con which is practiced worldwide, so we wouldn't have gone in for that anyways), there was no pressure to go for private dances. We were able to watch the show, pick out the girls we wanted at our leisure. Girls even sat next to us, offered us private dances, and when we declined still asked if it was ok to sit next to us and chat for a while! The dances themselves cost 10,000 Hungarian Forints (just shy of £30) but you can do anything you want outside of touching them between their legs. Sucking on their nipples, grabbing their asses, I even had a girl touching me through my jeans.. all in all, we could have no complaints.. We never got to Marilyn's, but the fact it's a "no touch bar" means that it's no different to the clubs we have back home and hence there was no incentive for us to go there...
- Business Travel
Chequepoint - scam artists
These guys are scam artists, charging up to 20% for currency! This amounts to legalised theft. But then Cashpoint seems to have a knack for shady business. Barclays Bank in the UK used to have a business relationship with the Chequepoint octopus but told the company in no uncertain terms to find another banker. Barclays alleged that Chequepoint was running a fraudulent cheque kiting scheme (which is tantamount to double counting money). Chequepoint said Barclay's wanted to copy its logo. Who would you believe - a 300-year old British bank or a crummy network of bureaus de change?
More at http://lw.bna.com/lw/19980929/979228.htm
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
Chequepoint - rip-off exchange rates!
Avoid using Chequepoint to change money in Budapest (or anywhere else for that matter).
Some of my British and American friends have told me horror stories of the rip-off rates charged by Chequepoint when changing money into Euros. The company (click on the logo so you can steer clear of it) has outlets at many tourist sites. It seems to be a problem with this particular dealer - other VT members have reported the same kind of fraud. My advice is not to use Chequepoint under any circumstances.
In any event, you will get much more competitive rates drawing local currency on your Visa or Visa Electron card (preferably use a cash dispenser in a bank during opening hours and check the card slot shows no evidence of being fiddled with (a favourite trick is to slip a thin additional reader in). Shield the keypad with your hand as you tap the numbers in (in another scam, a concealed webcam films your PIN number).
Unique Suggestions: Change your money at a reputable bank not at Chequepoint.
Fun Alternatives: Take out currency on your Visa Electron card (if you directly debit the sum to your bank account, you will avoid the usual 1.5% charge for cash withdrawals). The "spread" is narrow and the exchange rates highly competitive.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
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