Getting to and around Budapest
1. Getting to Budapest from Milan
In contrast to Brindisi airport, Milan airport is bigger and grander. I noticed that people are more fashionably dressed in Milan airport. The flight to Budapest was at 8.20 am and it was punctual. The flight only took 1 hour 35 mins at a cost of 25 pounds. This seems to be a popular route as the flight was full.
2. Getting around Budapest
2.1 Getting from Budapest Airport to the city centre
I followed the advice of this blog post and took bus 100E as the authors took it more than 15 times. True to their words, it was indeed a hassle-free way for a solo traveller to get into the city centre.
The price of a single-journey bus ticket has increased to HUF 1500 in November 2022. This price would likely be different by the time you are travelling to Budapest. Would love to hear what are the prices in the comments below 🙂
In my experience, the bus is always very packed so it may be a good idea, if time permits, to wait for the next bus to ensure you get a seat. The bus journey took about 20-30 minutes and the traffic condition was smooth.
You can also check out this blogpost for an even cheaper alternative by bus 200e.
2.1 Getting around Budapest
My friend bought us a bundle of 10 metro/bus tickets for both of us and we could not finish using the tickets at the end of our 3-day trip. As we stayed in the city centre, we visited most of the attractions on foot.
Budapest was made up of 2 different cities, Buda and Pest, which are located from each other across the river. The architectural styles of these 2 cities are different. You can consider organising your itinerary based on the location of the attractions to reduce the need of using the metro.
Accommodation in Budapest
NETIZEN Budapest Centre (S$27 Per Person Per night, stayed for 3 nights)
I had a really good time staying in the hostel as I was the only one in the room meant to be shared by 4 people throughout my 3-night stay. I think this statement may sound weird to my 10 or 20-year-old self who used to like staying all night up with my cousins and friends whenever we travelled together. I realised that I really cherish my solitude and personal space as I hit my 30s now.
Of all the 4 hostels I had stayed in in Europe this year, this hostel is the most aesthetically pleasing. I was initially sceptical when I booked it as the pictures look too good to be true. However, the hostel had indeed lived up to how it was being marketed online. My review may be a little biased as I happened to stay in the hostel when it was probably only 20 to 30% of its maximum capacity.
Everything about the hostel was perfect for me, including the firmness of the bed and the accessibility of the location as the hostel is just 1 min away from the Metro station and supermarket. Staying in this hostel was one of the highlights of my trip and I could not stop raving about the place to my family and friends the next 3 days after my trip.
Attractions in Budapest
1. Szechenyi Baths (S$30 per person)
Like my friend, this was my favourite activity of the trip, not only because this was a treat from my friend, but also because we got to experience it together! Our visit coincided with a public holiday and we were charged a markup price of S$28-30 (depending if you opt for a locker or a cabin room) as compared to the usual price of S$25 as of November 2022.
The biggest insight I got out of this experience was that change is needed to enjoy the bath. If I stayed put in one pool for too long, I became lethargic and sleepy as my body acclimatised to the temperature of the water. I really enjoyed hopping from pool to pool with varying temperatures. By extension of this insight, I gathered that the need for change explains why people love leisure travelling. Yet, I also noticed that if I am travelling too frequently, I begin to hate it.
Being Asians, we probably stood out like a little sore thumb in the bath. My friend noticed that there was this old man who had a plaster on his face frowning at us whenever we entered the pool. He would proceed to exit the pool grumpily. This recurred thrice. I was oblivious to this and just shrugged it off. As long as I was not being harassed, I did not really care much about what others thought or did.
Another highlight of the bath visit was chatting with a friendly middle-aged Chinese lady who had migrated to Budapest 30 years ago. I really admire her courage and determination to migrate to Hungary, learn a new language and assimilate into the local community. She shared that she really missed the bath experience as she has not frequented this place since the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are very particular about hygiene, you may find the outdoor pool a little dirty with remnants of sand and plasters. My friend shared that the bath in Canada is cleaner.
2. House of Terror (S$14 per person per entry)
The House of Terror is a museum that captured the political turmoil that plagued Hungary during Nazi and Soviet invasions. These are the 3 key messages that I took away at the end of my visit:
1. Beware of people with extreme views and ideologies making big promises.
In the exhibit entitled “The changing room”, this was the message that struck me the most:
“In a telling sign of the affinity between Nazism and Communism, the communists welcomed into their ranks those in the Arrow Cross rank and file (The Nazi Party in Hungary) who showed a willingness to cooperate. They continued to serve, doing the same job as before: terrorising, humiliating, torturing and killing. They simply exchanged racist theory for the theory of Marxist class struggle; it was a simple matter of changing uniforms.
Clearly, in every power struggle, there would be this small group of people who specialises in persecuting others in order to retain power. Extreme views and ideologies are just facades to rally people to fight against their political opponents and confer absolute power on themselves.
2. Propaganda is insidious and you will be oblivious to it if you are in the system.
You will get a peek into how the propaganda machine worked through audio and video recordings. After listening to the recordings, I noticed that my subconscious mind felt growth and abundance during the Soviet rule even though my conscious mind knew that it was not true.
3. Only Hungarians would prioritise their own interests, not foreigners.
To me, the main message of the museum was to highlight the importance of protecting and upholding Hungary’s sovereignty and independence.
I was impressed by the creativity of some of the exhibits in the museum, especially the lift that brings visitors down to the prison cells. The lift would take you through the feelings of prisoners who were on their way to the torture or execution room.
I also like the exhibits of the pigs’ room which illustrate how unjust and arbitrary the chosen political enemies of each party were. The Nazis rulers had disdain for Jewish people while the Soviets identified farm owners who produced food for the masses as enemies.
The most touching moment to me was when the last Soviet Union army left Hungary at 3 pm on 19th June 1991 after 45 years of occupation. The music really tug the heartstrings of people as we rejoiced over Hungarian regaining independence.
While the museum is definitely well-curated and informative, the subject matter is so dark to be my favourite attraction in Budapest. Nevertheless, if you are looking to broaden your mind and perspective, I would highly recommend a visit to this museum. Even if you can’t visit the museum, you can also download the free museum app which is also very educational.
3. Climb the Gellert Hill (Free)
This was the first activity that we did when we arrived in Budapest. I was not physically prepared for the climb and felt tired during the ascend. While we did not manage to catch the panoramic view of Budapest city due to an overcast skyline, I enjoyed chatting with my friend throughout the climb. The last time we travelled together was 10 years ago when we were 22-year-old. I told her that the next time we travel together could possibly be 10 years later when we are 42-year-old.
Food in Budapest
- Chimney (There are cheaper options, recommend only if you want ice cream)
- Cheap Local Hungary Food (Recommend for the price)
- Chinese Food (2 places, both 3 stars only)
- Expensive Hungary Food (The roasted duck was a little salty.)
- Vegan Hungary food
|Expenditure Category||Per Person||% of Total Cost|
|Air ticket||S$ 45||15%|
|Local Bus Tickets||S$ 14||4%|
|Accommodation (for 3 nights)||S$ 78||26%|
|Food (meals)||S$ 88||29%|