Labyrinth in the Buda Castle
Actually, it's not a trap. It is just not a tourist sight, but rather an entertainment for teenagers.
While planning my itinerary I doubted about this place. On the one hand I read a lot of reviews stating that this is an absolutely great place and one of the "must" in Budapest. But on the other hand its old site stated that it is permanently closed. I guess that they just changed the owner and profile.
I don't know the way it looked like before but nowadays it can be devided in 2 parts. One part is devoted to Verdi "In ballo in mascera". There are several scenes from the opera within underground interiors.
The other part of the Labirinth can become a great place to shoot some horror film. The music and the lightning add much to the atmosphere. So I can guess that it can be a great place for some teenagers' party or something like that. But don't waste your time on it when you are a tourist in Budapest. And do be careful if you are with small children. They can be frightened!
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
They will heap you with enourmous meals, enormous bill and enormous insults. Somehow the tourists find this place interesting because they serve meals in an old fashioned cast iron pan. The waiters and the service is extremely unfriendly and impolite- so who needs this when there are so many other places to enjoy in Budapest.
Fun Alternatives: You are better off at a good 'BecsiSzelet' Restaurant, see my tip in the restaurant section.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Luxury Travel
- Whale Watching
Corruption on trains
Corruption is common in Hungary.
It happened to us several times that in spite of having valid train tickets we were told on the train by the ticket inspector that "the tickets were not valid and she/he would make us pay the fine"...
Of course, if we had paid the fine, it would have landed in the inspector's pocket....
But we did not pay and insisted that the ticket was valid.
Beware of this, especially if you do not speak Hungarian, as soon as they find out you are a foreigner, they will try to exploit you.
Not only foreigners fall into these traps, some of the less assertive Hungarians become victims too...
Unique Suggestions: Avoid travel by trains in Hungary, if you can.Related to:
In Budapest if you don't ask for your change you often won't get it.. Make sure you always ask if you get change before you purchase something.. The bus is the worst. They will only accept the exact change..
Unique Suggestions: The easy way to combat this is to always carry lots of low demonination coins and notes as to always have 'schraps' to pay for things with the exact change.
My first Visit to Budapest & got Trap
I visited it for the first time in 22/7/2008 .. however I got cheated 550 Euros and 40,000 fohrin. I went to the park at the end of the Elizabeth bridge (opposite citadel) at 9.30am 22/07/2008 ... there is a "greek" tourist greet me and ask where I came from (he speak very fluent english), then he said he had walked for 1 hour and couldn't find a money changer .. he took out some euro from his wallet .. before I managed to answer him anything, a "local cop" arrived with some broken english and showed his "ID".
he said "No exchange money in street, many fake money" ... he asked passport from the "greek" tourist ... after that he want to see my passport. Then he asked to check the money from the "greek" tourist. He check all the money carefully .. then he asked to check my money ... I didn't take out, but he keep on asking ... I got paniced and I took 140,000 F from my wallet, he just touch them and the "greek" tourist start to argue something ... then he gave me back ... then he said need other money to check, so I gave him my 1400 Euro to check, and the "greek" tourist keep on arguing things... when he said more money to check ... i said no more..then the "greek" tourist go away ... then he also go away and tell me "many fake money on street, I control money ... "
I went back hotel and checked my money, and short of 40,000 F & 550 Euro ... I don't know how they do it. They are really fast, and I think he took the money when the tourist "argue" with him, he use another hand to stop the tourist to argue, and another hand, quickly take few notes ... thats why he just keep my money and not check them very careful .. if he check them very careful, I can count how many money is there ...
This is really a bad experience .. maybe I'm too silly but I need to share this out.
Fun Alternatives: NEVER SHOW YOUR MONEY TO ANYONE ... IF THEY INSIST AND NO ONE TO CALL FOR HELP... TAKE OUT FOR DIGITAL CAMERA AND TAKE PHOTO OF THEM
Do not buy train tickets to/from Hungary overseas
The tickets to/from Hungary bought overseas cost 3-4 times more than in Hungary. Besides there are numerous local discounts.
Unique Suggestions: stamp the train tickets bought overseas at the station invalidating them. Often it is better to get a hit and pay 15% penalty for returning unused ticket or railpass than to use it!
Buy tickets locally afterwards.
Fun Alternatives: Ask on VT or while you in Hungary the locals about the discounts. Recently a traveler was quoted a schocking £33 one-way for Budapest-Vienna, when a round-trip bought locally would be a mere 29 Euro, including the 4-day local transportation pass in Vienna! Traveling with kids is esp. very discounted.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Find the Hidden Card
Don't fall for the "find the card" trick performed by professional money relievers stationed on various corners in the touristic parts of Budapest.
Unique Suggestions: I was only there for one full day. The best bang for your buck is a paid tour where your ride around on open-air buses, stopping for pictures at historical locals.
Fun Alternatives: Stay longer.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Hungarian Train Ticket Conductor Scam
There is an everyday-scam in Hungary involving Hungarian ticket conductors on prime international trains. Most of the time foreign tourists are targeted. The scam is going on unpunished and silently encouraged since mid-60-s.
The legal base for this scam: the REGULAR Hungarian international train tickets are MUCH more expensive than domestic ones for the same distance. This kind of ripp-off tarif is a common practice used in all "Socialist" countries: the few who are allowed to travel in the "West" as well as few West-Dollar-Toursts who are allowed in, pay much more than the "worker's class" for the same service.
Years went on, but the practice is still there. Without exception, all railways of ex-(or present) Socialist countries use it. But: it is nowhere enforced, except Hungary. In other words, a travler in China, Slovenia or Russia is free to buy the least expensive ticket for the route of his choice. NOT in Hungary! There is even a decree (passed well after fall of Socialist system) prohibiting "combine" domestic and internatinal tickets.
This "law" is lawless in the E.U.
Worse: as railways of different (ex)Socialist countries begun to realize, the "international capitalist" pricing of these tickets is simply out of reality and people just use their cars, they begun heavily discount the TCV international tickets. There are "relationship discounts" (Budapest-Vienna = 13 Euro, Budapest-Belgrade = 15 Euro), some round-trip discounts are less than one-way and many offerings which made internatonal travel sometimes even bit cheaper than domestic.
Recntly the conductors begun a game "spotting" discounted international tickets and asking for bribe. In one case a fellow VT member reported Hungarian conductor working in perfect "harmony" with Austrian conductor, both asking for bribe and declaring perfectly valid international tickets "invalid".
The "problem spot" is Budapest-Hegyeshalom route and while earlier Hungarian citizens were harrassed, recently it happens always with foreign tourists.
Unique Suggestions: 1) learn the terminology. Please visit my home page and learn,what is TCV ticket
2) do not display any obvious sign of wealth. Mix with the locals.
3) ask the conductor to show you, what are the rules. If you have a TCV ticket, ANY kind of TCV ticket and you are not abusing an obvious discount (like adult traveling on child's ticket) you are right, he is wrong. Always say: "this is a valid TCV ticket issued according CIV rules. Show me, why it is not valid and I would like to speak with your boss"
Ez egy érvényes TCV jegy a CIV szabályoknak megfelelöen. Legyen olyan kedves és mutassa meg, miért nem érvényes. Továbbá a felettesével szeretnék bszélni
4) Before entering Hungary from Hegyeshalom/Vienna, hide your cash, leave few Euro coins only and credit cards. All this "fine" gentleman can do is to de-train you at next station (most likely Györ). But if you have a valid ticket, he cannot even de-train.
Fun Alternatives: - If possible, avoid entering/leaving Hungary via Hegyeshalom where most abuses happen. Go to Vienna via Bratislava or via Sopron. It is also cheaper.
- The abuse happening if you have a discounted ticket from a third country till Budapest and an other ticket from Budapest to Vienna. Never show your 15 Euro Belgrade-Budapest ticket if you travel from Budapest to Vienna for 13 Euro!
(Compare: Belgrade-Vienna is 60 Euro if bought in one piece).
- if not sure, travel on domestic Hungarian IC trainsand avoid international trains
- use Budapest-Sopron-Vienna routing which involves border crossing on GYSEV territory, not MAV territory. There is a little great Hungarian/Austrian private railway company called GYSEV - well over 100 year old - and it operates its own trains ex-Budapest Déli. These trains have green, not blue couches. GYSEV does allow "domestic" ticket combinatin till Sopron and in general, the GYSEV employees seem to have better work ethics.
- Travel in the sleeper or couchette. The vultures have other tings to do than harrass sleeping car passengers.
- Use Russian or Ukrainian sleepeing car if there is any even for the daytime travel (extra 6 Euro). These are "alien" sleepers traveling under umbrella of SMPS, not the CIV agreement. Under that agreement, ANY ticket - even domestic - is fine and the Russian/Ukrainian sleeping car attendant always accepts it. Hungarian conductors know it and usually don't even bother entering the RZD or UZ sleeping cars.
If you ride through Hungary by train the risk of meeting a corrupt conducter is high.
Unique Suggestions: Insist that you have the right ticket.
Ask for a second conducter. If you have luck the second conducter is correct.
If you are unlucky don't be nervous.
Insist that you have the right ticket.
If they say you have to get off the next station not be nervous.
The same if they want to call the police.
You are right. They are wrong.
Fun Alternatives: Use the bus. It has the same price and you don`t have the risk.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
If you want to change Forint be careful.
Some exchangers give you a better rate .
At the end they take a service charge.
If you have given them the money they won't take it back.
Unique Suggestions: Alway ask before you change. Sometimes there is only a short information.
Fun Alternatives: You ATM. There you will get a good exchange rate.
The service charge depends on your bank.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
In many countries the taxi mafia is active,
If they see a tourist they see the dollars and try to cheat you.
So don't be naiv, Get a feeling for the right price by asking other people.
Always ask for the price before you get off.
Always look what the driver does if he uses the taxameter.
In Hungary they have sometimes a manipulated taxameter.
If you drive by day be sure that he doesn't use the night tarif.
Unique Suggestions: Get off if you recognize there is something wrong.
Pay and try to do better next time.
Fun Alternatives: Use public transport.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Careful on the Metro
While not complicated and getting better in English, the Budapest metro can quickly become unpleasant. Be aware that when you change lines, you need to use a new ticket. "Ticket police" are at every point of transition between the lines and ready to pounce on tourists who don't know the "rules." Fines can range up to $100 USD for a transgression. Know the rules before you get on and you'll save yourself money and hassle.
CAUTION with the TAXIS
This is a big city, so you must be careful with all things that you do in all the other big cities, but there is one that I want to advise you to be really careful about: the taxis services in Budapest.
% If you get a taxi and you don't speaks hungarian, surely you will pay 3 or 4 times more the price of the service.
So, if you use a taxi, ask for the price BEFORE you enter in the car.
In Budapest ALL TAXIS on the tourist places adjust the taximeter to the most expensive payment possible for the foreign tourists
WAX-WORK MUSEUM - EGER
Everything in Hungary seemed cheap (compared to back home), so I didn't really feel overcharged at all.
Not all the information boards in places such as museums had translation in English, but then I can't recall ever seeing information boards in England having a Hungarian translation!
The wax museum underneath the castle in the town of Eger consisted of 2 rooms and a few strange wax-works dotted around, so that was a bit of a rip-off, but at the same time it had high amusement value.
Unique Suggestions: Take some snap shots!
Mugged at the border
While travelling on the train from Budapest to Ljubljana at the Hungarian's side, I was asked by the custom official whether I carry any Hungarian Forint with me. He demanded me to hand over the cash and said "This one no good..", took the cash and simply walked away. Once we reached the other side, the passenger next to me said that I should have said "no Forint" to the officer.
If you can afford it, the Gresham Palace, a 5 star luxury hotel owned by the Four Seasons group has...more
I used to work in the hospitality industry, so this is my professional opinion, but I did have...more
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