Traveller Yg. Sengkek

Its a journal of some sort about recollection of my journey to various parts of the world with my friends since 2009...and with my wife and our Rayyan Eusoff since luxury is needed...its all about exploring new places...along with great buddies...accompanied by great foods...not to be forgotten...having great time...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Travelling Tips - To Minimize Cost

Often we read about people who shares about their budget travel and all. For me, it is an interesting read because you can get lots of ideas from their travel. Furthermore they share their experience and it is up to others to fully follow the ideas or adjust here and there to fit into own personal plan.

I am not an expert on budget traveling. I do travel on budget but there certain things that i am not willing to go that low just to save on expenses. Maybe due to the fact nowadays i am traveling with my wife and our 2 year old son. Priority change, style also changed. Here I want to share some of my personal experience in minimizing the cost. Not necessarily the cheapest way, but just a bit lower and more affordable. 

Airlines Membership

I am not talking about the frequent flyer programme (although i will write something about it later), but more focused into the membership that some budget airlines offered. For instance i will take Wizz Air as an example (because i have experience using their service). They have a thing called wizz discount club. For EUR59.99 a year, you will be guaranteed minimum discount of EUR10 on each flight on all fares from EUR19.99, EUR5 discount on luggage and extended up to 5 passengers. For our recent trip to Budapest, i purchased the membership, and i got a discount of EUR70 (EUR60 for flights for 3 person return trip, EUR10 for check in luggage return) which in the end i save an extra EUR10. And i can use it for future purchase within one year (now looking for flights to Bucharest, Sofia etc.). It is a good deal especially when you are not traveling alone. You can also opt for the 2 person discount membership for EUR29.99. Can be applied to other airlines that have almost similar method.

Hotels Membership

There are a lot of loyalty programmes by the hotels especially the big chains. Me, myself has the Hilton Honors, SPG and Accor Hotels. First of all, yes these hotels are a bit expensive but they do have some sort of members only price from time to time and if you are lucky enough, free upgrades, free drinks, free dinner, free access, etc. Furthermore, sometimes out of 9 days of your trip, maybe, just maybe for one night you want to experience a really nice hotel hospitality. 

Frequent Flyer Programme

This is the same advice i give to my friends as well. There are 3 big airlines alliance in the world, namely Star Alliance, One World and Skyteam. For people who travel frequently, should choose one airline from each alliance that you flown with frequently. I have frequent flyer for Enrich (Malaysia Airlines, One World), Krisflyer (Singapore Airlines, Star Alliance) and Garudamiles (Garuda Air, Skyteam). So i could accumulate points for each time i flown with any of the airlines within these 3 alliance. It will come in handy when you want to upgrade or simply redeem tickets. I used to redeem Enrich points for flight ticket to Amsterdam. That really help in lowering down the cost for my travel back then. Instead of paying for two tickets, i just have to pay for 1 and half (even after redeem points, you still have to pay for charges). Other than that, some credit card points could be converted to the airlines points. For the airlines that is not part of any of the alliance, well just apply for the membership. You never know when you will be flying with them. 


It is not a secret that airbnb is the latest solution for affordable accommodation while traveling. I have to agree to this to certain extend. In my case, it is perfect because of the selection it offered and the price range varies from one another. Also because traveling with a family, apartment will be a good option if you are on budget. I also advise my friend, not to worry too much about the location is not within the tourist area, as long as it is near to the public transport to the place of interest. Because, the price of the apartments also are affected by its location. Usually it will be slightly cheaper with better facility if you are a bit further. For instance Paris, rental for apartments that have a view of Eiffel Tower are slightly higher for apartment with the same type of facility but not with a view of Eiffel Tower. Just for instance. Therefore, when making a booking via airbnb, just make sure that it is near to the public transport within the zones where the public transport could be use for the same fare. If they have 24 hours public transport service, should also take into consideration coz you never know that you might want to have that night out sightseeing in the tram.


It is fun to go to Europe in summer as you have more daylight, the weather and all. But it is also the peak season. Choosing the season to go is also pertinent in cost reduction. Low season, such as winter will have most accommodation lowering their prices. Try to avoid Summer, but go towards the end of Summer and early Autumn. Good weather and better pricing for hotels, in the context of Europe or countries that have four season. But if you are looking for a good bargain for shopping, try February or end of winter, low season and a lot of sale. 

Tourist Card

Most of the cities nowadays offer tourist card to the tourist that combines public transport and some attraction for free or reduced price. It has to be planned along with your itinerary, what exactly you want to do. And try to localized your movement or segregate it along the places you want to go. Map plays an important role in this along with identifying each public transport station to ensure maximise movement. For us, we usually identify the furthest point that we want to go that particular day and re-track back to our hotel/ apartment. Save time, money and also less confusing and less tiring. It will also be good to segregate the places you want to enter and the places you just want to take picture. Taking pictures are pretty much touch and go and could be cramped together into a day. We did not take tourist card for every cities, usually more towards the daily public transport card. 

Daily Public Transport Pass

First of all, there are two types according to cities, whether it is daily (for that particular day up till midnite) or 24 hours (round the clock starting from the time of validation). Be sure to differentiate the two because it can reduce the cost. And also have to plan about the days you are planning to stay coz you can buy 3 days pass for lower price than you have to pay daily. Also according to cities. Be sure to read carefully coz even EUR5 is a 4.8 times savings for Malaysian. I really like to highlight the currency value. 

The above are some of my personal tips from my own personal experience. If it is practical, then feel free to follow, if not, feel free to not follow as well. This is just some part, next entry i might share about minimize the cost by arranging the connecting flights. That was one of my favorite part of traveling, arranging the flight/ train/ bus connection. Coz in the end, the target is clear, to minimize cost.


Monday, October 10, 2016

2 Nights in Budapest

This entry is a follow-up to my previous entry All in Vienna. Both cities offers totally different surrounding but it is not least interesting.

Arrived in Keleti Palyaudvar nearly 6.30 p.m. Slight delay for 15 minutes from the original ETA. One thing that was a bit surprising was the fact there were no officer to check our passport as opposed to when we were en route to Vienna. Owh i also forgot to mention about the train, no need to reserve a seat in advance. Just go ahead and sit at the unreserved seat. As long as you have a valid ticket, you can sit at any of the non-assigned seat or pre-book by others. Save you few euros (which in Malaysian case is quite a lot of money by 4.8 times).

Keleti Palyaudvar is a very beautiful train station. It is one of 3 main station in Budapest, the other two are Nyugati Palyaudvar and Deli Palyaudvar which also boasts beautiful architecture. Unluckily for us that day, there were some tram disruption on the line that went to our apartment. It was supposed to be very clear cut and easy but because of the disruption we have to detour via subway and interchange to another subway to Nyugati (the apartment was 600m away). At first bought a 48 hours transport pass for HUF3,300 (EUR11) per person. Managed to reach the apartment a few subway rides later. Along the way, we encountered some nice locals who always offered their help to us (there were baby stroller and big bag going up and down the subway and tram). At first wifey and i were a bit apprehensive about it because of our experience before. But turns out it is just our luck that we encountered many nice people in Budapest (even when on the day we arrived).

Upon arriving at the apartment, there were a lady (assigned by the host) that welcomed us in front of the apartment and to show us the apartment that we were staying for 2 nights. For RM380, we got the apartment for 2 nights, centrally located and in secure old building. We booked the apartment via airbnb. The host also provided some information and tips of going around the area and trying her very best to explain even with her limited command of English. We end up showing some pictures of Budapest that we wanted to go and for her to show it on the map. Cool enough. Wifey and Eusoff rest at the apartment while i went out to scout for food. Luckily enough, there are 3 halal food establishment within walking distance from the apartment. Bought rice with chicken and some vegetables for HUF1,300 and went back to the hotel. Info: Exchange for EUR to HUF is roughly EUR1~HUF300 and please don't exchange your money at airport or train station. 

We kicked off the day by taking a tram to the Danube area. The river that separate Buda (the high end area with lots of greens very visible to see) and Pest (where almost everything else is happening from the night life and shopping street etc.).We started our morning by walking from the Margaret Bridge from the Pest side. Just strolling by the Danube straight to the impeccable Parliament building. It is such a commanding and beautiful structure to behold. From then on we took the tram straight to the Liberty bridge then walked to the Market Hall. The Market Hall has everything, i mean like literally everything from souvenirs, beautiful embroidery (have to pull wifey away from these shops), fruits, foods etc. Bought some souvenirs and fruits then walked back through Vaci street to the Elizabeth bridge (Vaci street were also filled with souvenir shops). Once again we walk all the way to the famous Chain Bridge. Breezy walk and beautiful sight to basked in. Eusoff fell asleep in the stroller during this time (Eusoff easily fall asleep when i put him in a stroller and walk on the uneven pavement, maybe because of the movement he felt as if he is in a baby cradle). Crossed the Chain Bridge to the Buda sight and took the funicular up to Buda Hill. The only mistake i made this time was buying 2 way instead of one way. It is actually better to just buy one way up and walk down to the other side of the hill. But since we already bought two-way, i hate to give it away. It cost HUF1,800 per person for two way. Tips: Accommodation in Pest side are mostly cheaper and it is easier to navigate around and there are a lot of shops. Buda side is nicer but it totally depends on your itinerary.

On the way up, we were greeted with beautiful panoramic view of Pest and the Danube. Rest for a while for coffee at the cafe by the hillside and enjoy the view. Went down through the funicular (since we bought 2 way ticket) then resumed with walking on the Buda side. I have to say, walking there was a beautiful experience. Fantastic weather, incredible view and technically, the pedestrian walkway is safe. Eusoff woke up and started with his running adventure, again. Pheww. We took picture with the Parliament building in the background accompanied with beautiful clouds. Fantastic. Info: The pedestrian walk and the bicycle track is next to each other, so have to be extra careful coz the bicycle are rather fast moving.

We took a tram back to Nyugati station to go to one of the nearby turkish restaurant for lunch. We ordered 2 dish and 2 drinks for HUF2,400. That is really lower than our expectation. The portion was huge, and of course we were not able to finish it. Then we walked back to apartment to freshen up and perform prayers. We decided to go for a night out in Budapest since the apartment is within the 24 hours tram line. Tips: Budapest is beautiful at night and it is advisable to find accommodation near the 24 hours tram line like Tram 6. 

Eusoff was asleep when we started our night sightseeing. Budapest is indeed a beautiful city. The scenery at night by the Danube was breathtaking. Since it was rather cold, there were not much traffic. But there were a lot of people still, mostly going for the night out. Some of the cafes were located by the Chain Bridge overlooking the Buda Castle. Very good place to chill out with fantastic view to match. Tips: Budapest is safe. But as any other city in the world, need to be sensible and avoid quiet and dark places. For the baby stroller, bring the rain cover as well not because of th rain but sometimes the wind are strong at night.

We done more walking at night. Then just relax by the strolling along the Danube to the Margaret Bridge. Wifey were tired by that time, so we took the tram back to the apartment and freshen up and went to sleep. Tips: You can just take a ride on the Tram line 6 in the middle of the night and just stay inside while enjoying the view outside. It is worth the try and furthermore, 24 hours travel card means 24 hours and not daily that capped at midnight.

The final morning, woke up and it was my time to prepare the breakfast. Since our apartment has almost everything, i end up doing a heavy and unbelievably unhealthy breakfast. Triple decker sandwich with salads, half fried eggs and melted cheese. For drinks i end up with coffee with chocolate ice cream. And with Mac & Cheese. Cost to prepare it, less than EUR10 as it is part of the groceries budget. We requested our host's assistance to book a taxi for us since the host also advised us not to hail taxi by the street if you want to go to the airport. No explanation was given, but i can remember her face saying NO NO NO. With the hand gestures accompanied her No NO no. The taxi arrived on time and straight to the airport. Cost about HUF8,000. Tips: We normally take taxi to go to the airport because logistic-wise it is easier and more economical at certain extend. And airport transfer should be booked through telephone, ask the hotel or the host to assist you on that.

One thing i love about some of the airports in Europe is that, they always give priority when they saw you with a baby stroller. Happened to us in Rome, Amsterdam and Budapest. So don't have to buy that fast track (always offered by some budget airlines for hefty price). Everything went smooth without much question except for Eusoff's baby milk and baby food. But it went well and off we went back to Dubai. Tips: Try to pack baby food, baby milk and baby lotions in a separate hand carry bag to ease the inspection process. For flights, try to get the seat near to the toilet at the back and we always prepare at least 1 diaper for 2 hours flight. 

First thing first. I definitely going back to Budapest again. 3 days 2 nights were not enough given the fact the total hours we were in Budapest were actually less than 48 hours. We did not get to cover the areas such as Heroes Square or even the famous thermal bath/ spa. Now we are contemplating to go there again and enjoy the spa and relax. Not in the recent future but one day, when they have affordable tickets to go to Budapest again. And yeah, wifey wants to buy all those beautiful embroidered table cloths etc. Errrr. As for this trip, we managed to work well with the time that we have and enjoy the city tremendously. Budget-wise, it is much more affordable as compared to some of the countries we have been to. For Eusoff, it is his 9th country and there will be more to come for sure. One of my good friends told me that now she knows that when Eusoff get married, we need more time just for Eusoff's travel montage. For this experience, it could start with a caption, few years ago, 2 nights in Budapest.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

All in Vienna

Vienna has been in our list for a very long time. Well it has been in my list for quite a while. Before this i have been to two cities in Austria, namely Salzburg and Innsbruck, but did not make it to Vienna due to its distance (went to Salzburg and Innsbruck from Munich back then in 2009). This time we managed to go to Vienna via Budapest. Will update more about Budapest in the next entry.

Arrived from Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport in Budapest via Wizz Air. Return ticket for 3 of us (Eusoff by this time has been considered child so the fare is different as compared to when he was a baby) EUR499. This also includes check-in luggage 32kg return. Whilst travelling, nowadays we packed everything into one luggage instead of two luggage and paid for the heavier luggage allowance (for budget airlines that require purchasing check-in luggage). One reason is for the budget and another reason is for logistics purposes. It is easier to go travel with one big 4-wheel luggage instead of two luggage when you also have to take into account the baby stroller. And another thing is, Wizz Air only allows 1 free small hand carry. Really need to read carefully about its luggage requirement otherwise they could charge a fee upon boarding the flight on the spot. Its not cheap.

Arrived at midnight in Budapest and we had pre-arranged an airport transfer to bring us to the city for EUR22 one way. Originally booked a guest house near Keleti Palyaudyvar (the train station for the train to Vienna) for us to rest while waiting our train at 8.45 a.m. Already paid EUR33 via But I had done a big mistake on the date of arrival resulting us not being able to stay as it is fully booked. The airport transfer driver was kind enough to drop us to another nearby hotel but most of the cheap hotels are fully book that night (not going to spend big sum on few hours of hotels so all those that cost more than EUR40 has been dismiss). Instead we just hang out at one of the turkish restaurant near the train station and wait till morning for the train. Thank god we encountered really nice people that time in Budapest and we managed to go thru it rather smoothly.

Train to Vienna took almost 3 hours and cost us EUR78 return (2 adults and free for Eusoff). We slept throughout our journey to Vienna only to be waken midway by officials checking our passport. Reached Vienna at 11.45 a.m. and bought the 48 hours public transport pass for EUR14 per person. Eusoff, free. Took the subway straight to our friend's apartment in Franz Josef-Kai. Freshen up and rest for a while before starting our own city tour. 

Vienna has an extensive public transport system and very baby stroller friendly especially the new trams (the old trams requires you to climb up the stairs a bit but there is a dedicated area for baby stroller). First up, we took the tram to the city centre. Sightseeing and take pictures. The weather is very breezy and cool and it was a great walk. Then we took the tram to the Belvedere Palace and walk and take pictures again. That is all we have done in Vienna. Took the tram to everywhere and anywhere, got lost and detour via tram again then have some amazing coffee at the cafes and beautiful pictures along the way. For that night, we went for dinner in a Palestinian restaurant called Lord of S at Liebenberggasse 7. It is near Marriott Hotel and very easy to find. It looks kinda posh but the price is actually not bad. I had chicken with rice and wifey had schnitzel with water and tea. Cost us about EUR35. Tips: I always find halal food via it provides plentiful of suggestion of available halal restaurant in the city. After the meal, we walked back to the apartment and rest for the night.

The second day we went out to Prater. Took tram 1 all the way to the end of the line on the direction to Prater. It is a park where locals hang out in weekend. Beautiful park. There is also a small train that go around the area. For one full round ride cost EUR8 per person. We took a ride on the train to the amusement park. They have all those roller coaster, merry go round etc. you name it. Madame Tussaud Vienna was also there. We instead took the big ferris wheel ride, Wiener Riesenrad. It gives you a whole view of the city from 65m high and cost EUR9.50 per person. Kids below 3 years old is free. Tips: there are more discount on all of these kind of attraction if you purchase Vienna Card or do a combined ticket to some attraction. Be sure to google all these info before travel to save some cash.

One thing about having a transport card for unlimited travel and going on a tram is you can just opt to go down anywhere you find interesting. En route to the city centre, we went through this street (which i totally forgot what was it called) and quickly went down to take a few shots. Came across a souvenir shop and managed to get some good price from the seller who happened to be a muslim from Egypt. Wifey nowadays bought a miniature of a building of a particular city, small snow globe and fridge magnet as her travel collection. Me on the other hand nowadays bought Hard Rock Cafe fridge magnet for collection. Tips: Souvenir prices in Vienna are almost the same at all places and kinda expensive as compared to other countries. According to the seller, it is because of the high rental fee. 

Then up on the tram again to the city centre. This time we went to the town hall. Was hoping to go into the circus (there were Roncalli Circus in Vienna) but when we took a look at the queue, forget it. But managed to take few photos with the circus performer who were entertaining guests in the queue. Went to the city centre again because we came across an Egyptian restaurant near Stephenplatz. Had our lunch there and it cost a bit more compared to the restaurant the night before, and we prefer the taste of the food and the ambiance of the former. Cost us EUR35 for 1 mixed grill and 3 drinks. 

I wanted to buy some Nespresso supplies (Abu Dhabi cost a bit more than it cost in Europe, so why not) and the boutique is just a walking distance from Stephenplatz. It was just our luck that day that if we enroll into the member programme (for free) and buy minimum of 5 sleeves of nespresso, we entitled to get 20% discount off the accessories. Phew, why not. So we took full advantage of it and bought few sleeves of Nespresso and some accessories. For info: Tax Refund for Austria is EUR76 and it is 12%. Owh yeah before i forgot, there are some halal kiosk in the Stephenplatz area. We bought fried mee before going off to our next stop. Wachaaaa.

From there we took the tram to Hofburg Palace and another photo session. We just sit at the bench and enjoy our fried mee while enjoying the sunset. Meanwhile Eusoff was having the time of his life running and jumping around. Near sundown we walked to the tram station and took tram back to the apartment. That night our friend took us to a Malaysian restaurant called Sinohouse (could google for location). Great food and the owner and waiter are Malaysians and very kind. The price was reasonable and our friend insisted that it was her treat. Alhamdulillah. That night we just went back to the apartment, freshen up and have a rest. As per usual practice, i re-arrange the clothes in the bag along with some souvenir bought in Vienna.

The following morning, before departing to the train station for our train to Budapest at 3.00 p.m., we walk along the Danube river in front of the apartment. Brisk morning walk around the area and up to one of the ice cream parlor because our friend insisted that we have a Vienna-style ice-cream before we left. Had our morning coffee with ice-cream and walked back to the apartment. Freshen up and it was time to say till we see you again Vienna.

Vienna. What there is to say about Vienna. Our experience as a tourist has been amazing. Beautiful place, lots to see, fantastic public transport network and very clean. The price is a bit more as compared to Prague and Budapest but the experience was nice. We did not encounter any problem and saw a lot of muslims (identifiable through the ladies wearing hijab) walking around. We would not say that the people are not friendly, it is just everyone goes on with their own self and could not be bothered. But seriously, Vienna is a beautiful city with plenty to see. We only experience 1/10 of what Vienna has to offer. The comprehensive guide to go around Vienna is available at their tourist information and it is one of those cities that you can just afford to get lost and find your way back again. As for Eusoff, there are plenty of space for him to run and jump without worrying about the traffic (mostly in the palace garden areas) and it was a delightful experience for him as it was a delightful experience for us as a family. All in Vienna.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

There is Always a Reason to Travel

Prior to 25 October 2013

When i was still single

I convinced myself that i have to travel before getting married because the expenditure will double afterwards.

After 25 October 2013 and before 25 August 2014

When i got married

I convinced my WIFE (no longer need to convince myself) that we have to travel before getting a child otherwise it will not be easy to travel with small baby.

25 August 2014 onwards

When i became a father

We convinced each other (wifey was bitten by the travel bug) that it is good to travel while Eusoff is still young (3 months when we went to Amsterdam) so he won't run and easier to manage.

When Eusoff is 1 years old

We think that it will be nice to travel when Eusoff started to walk. We don't have to carry him around anymore and it is easier to travel.

Before 25 August 2016

When Eusoff is nearly 2 years old

We convinced ourselves to travel one more time before we have to pay for child fare instead of infant fare (for babies less than 24 months old). Then we just have to relax before taking our next trip. 

22 September 2016

When Eusoff is 2 years and 1 months old

We just want to travel before we have another child. 

This is actually a true story. All the reasons created of why the travel has to be taken at that point of our life. But along the way we always come up with another reason just to travel. If you are a travel junkie, no matter what the reason behind your motivation to travel, you will always go for it regardless. Coz in the end, we cannot lie to ourselves, there is always a reason to travel.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eusoff Keeping Up With Italia

Traveling as a single with friends and as a father and husband with family are two different matters altogether. The former tends to be more relaxed as you don't have to think much about others, its either you like it or not, feel free to do whatever makes you comfortable. The latter proves to be more challenging as you have to think about others. See the difference. Hahaha.

Italy is the most recent country crossed out from Rayyan Eusoff's checklist. Two cities in Italy to be exact, Rome and Florence.

Flown in to Rome via Alitalia from Prague. Alitalia has quickly became our preferred airlines. Super comfortable seats, convenient, collect Enrich points (partner Airlines for MAS) and lands in FCO (Rome's main airport) instead of Ciampano. This is an important point, please check which airport you are flying in. Big cities in Europe have more than one airport and usually low-cost airlines will land in a different airport. Be careful otherwise it will be a logistic nightmare especially if you pre-book the airport transfer in advance.

Took taxi from the airport to Via Isonzo, another good friend's apartment. Taxi from the airport to the city centre range from EUR55-70. Thank god that Eusoff has nice uncles and aunts who welcomed us to their home. Nice apartment surrounded by shops and near to public transport. Rest for the day and the next day the adventure continues.

The following morning we took an early train to Florence. Tips: First and Final train usually are the cheapest and children below 4 years old is free. Total train fare for the 3 of us was EUR70 return. Since we do plan to stay in Florence for the whole day, the price fits well into our plan. 2 hours later we arrived in Santa Maria Novella train station. Florence is relatively a nice city to walk. All the places of attraction are within walking distance. If you are not sure of your way around, just follow the crowd. You will end up to almost all place of interest. Our walking route were simple and uncharted. Just walk and walk, and we ended up in Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. Then we took a bus to cross the river up to Piazza de Michelangelo. The view was breathtaking. Had coffee at the nearby cafe and basked in the magnificent view.

One of the main attraction in Florence was the factory outlets. There are two of them. One is dedicated to high-end designer items called The Mall and another one is Designer Outlet similar to the ones in Bicester in UK or La Valle in Paris. We opted for the first. Took roundtrip bus from the bus station cost EUR12 return per person. For Eusoff, free again. En route to the Mall, once again we were granted with magnificent view of the italian countryside. Bought something for wifey and that's it. Here you can quickly do your tax refund, but you still need to have the tax refund forms stamped before leaving the EU. In our case, it has to be stamped in Prague airport as it will be our point of departure.

The latter part of the day, we went around town and have a rest in the train station waiting for our train. Stroller plays an important role in any of our trips nowadays. As Eusoff was tired out from excessive walking (not to mention running) around town and was deeply asleep by the time we were back in the train station. Took our train back to Rome and had a good rest before embarking on the final leg of the trip.

Rome is a city rich with its historical value. Lots of monuments and attraction. Planning is a must. The ones in our plan was of course the Colosseum and Fontana de Trevi. Bought one day transport pass for EUR8 which allows you unlimited rides on public transport around the city. Took the subway to Colosseum and walked to Fontana de Trevi from there, Both places were packed with people. Tips: Summer is a high season, if you really want to go inside the Colosseum, go very early in the morning. We spent most of the afternoon away in Fontana de Trevi then took a walk along via de corso, or the shopping street of Rome. Tips: Summer Sale is madness, beware of your wallet. Was planning to go further but since Eusoff looks a bit uncomfortable, we decided to go back to the apartment and had our dinner near the apartment. I have to say, the Rome experience was rather limited but that is the difference when you are on a trip with family, you prioritise and give further consideration on their limitations.

Next morning, we went back to the airport and took a flight to Prague. This time around we flew with Czech Airlines. Another comfortable flying experience as well and could collect the Garuda miles (Czech Airlines is part of Skyteam). Total cost for the flights were EUR370 for the 3 of us.

Italy is Italy. There is no word enough to really capture the experience. The whole country is an attraction and each city dignifies its own allure. It is really hard to truly experience Rome in one day. That is for sure. Florence is possible but not Rome. This has to be taken into account when one wants to travel to Rome. The last time i went to Rome, it was 4 days and 3 nights. Too much also. Hahaha. But one thing for sure, one really need to know what they want to see and do and from then further detailed planning needed especially to navigate around the city. The subway is connected to all the places of interest in Rome (but walking also needed), and always go to the farthest and detour back bit by bit back to the finish point. Summer is a high season so more extreme planning is needed. I had been comparing between the two seasons i have been to Rome (Winter and Summer), i rather enjoyed the Winter time. Less people and nice cool weather but of course it came with short daylight. Summer more people and more daylight but it was kinda hot. Whatever it is, it was a new experience for Eusoff and wifey (as it was the first time for both to Italy) and it was also a new additional experience for me to put into my own tips of traveling with family. I know that i will come back to Italy again in the future, to another city of course and it will be another new experience. For Eusoff, it will always going to be a new adventure for him and another place to cross out from the list. From the way i see it, Eusoff has been keeping up with Italia just fine.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rayyan Eusoff goes Czech Republic

Czech Republic is not exactly an obvious choice to go for a holiday. At least not for Asians. In comparison with the countries in Western Europe, countries in the Eastern Europe are hardly noticed. But of course, it is always a new experience. Especially for Rayyan Eusoff and wifey. This time around, we planned for two cities in Czech Republic, Prague and Karlovy Vary respectively. 

We flown via Smartwings from Dubai to Prague. Smartwings is one of two low-cost airlines that flies direct to Prague, with the other one being Flydubai. The ticket cost AED2,500 return for three of us including 15kg check-in luggage and meal. Rather affordable as compared to other airlines. Flydubai also cost almost the same as they were also having promo tickets to Prague that time which include meals and 20kg check-in luggage. The main difference between the two airlines, aside from the services, is the timing. Smartwings' flight timing is 7.30 p.m. from Dubai and 10.30 a.m. from Prague and flies three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) while Flydubai's operates daily flight and fly 8.10 a.m. from Dubai and 1.30 p.m. from Prague. The flight took 6 hours and 30 mins from Dubai to Prague. 

Arrived in Prague in the middle of the night, the taxi from Prague Airport to the city cost about EUR25~KC600. We were lucky enough that a friend of ours picked us up from the airport and we stay at his home for the length of our trip.

The following day we went for sightseeing in the town and also i went for Friday prayers in the muslim centre in the town centre. The prayer hall consisted of two-storey building near the train station. It is not exactly visible from the street but it is rather easy to find. There is a restaurant that serves halal food within the area. As the first leg of our journey will be in Czech for 4 days, we bought the 72 hours transport pass which cost EUR12~KC310.

Sightseeing in Prague is rather enjoyable. As compared to the last time i went during Winter, Summer was packed with people. Each and every corner of the city was filled with tourist especially the tourist spots like the Old Town Square. Prior to that we went for sightseeing in a park near the apartment which boasted magnificent view of the city. 

Karlovy Vary was our destination after Prague. Took a Regionjet bus from Florenc bus station. The ticket was rather affordable. It was EUR6 one way, return was EUR12. There was wifi on the bus, and complimentary drink as well as LCD to watch movies (there was no entertainment LCD in the Smartwings flight). The journey took 2 hours and we departed at 8.00 a.m. from Prague, returning from Karlovy Vary at 8.00 p.m. Day trip for 12 hours, including the journey time. Karlovy Vary was beautiful. We just walked along the river, had lunch and coffee in between, and spent the day away in the city nestled between mountains. Sounds rather romantic. Eventhough it was marred by rain in between, we were actually feeling blessed as there are no rain in the UAE. Hahaha. We took our time to relax, walk and enjoy the atmosphere. 

The first day in Prague, the sightseeing was done in the city centre, so the third day we went up to the Prague Castle. Must visit place in Prague. Stood majestic above the hill overlooking the city, Prague Castle offers a view to die for. Went up with a tram, and went down by walking straight to the Charles Bridge then continued to the city centre. Can't get enough with the beauty of the town. The old buildings, the gothic architecture, the river, the hills, everything blends well to create an unforgettable memory.

We left Prague for Rome the following day and it will be updated in the next entry.

This marks the third time for me to Prague. The first time was in Spring, the second time in Winter and this time around during Summer. Each time it offers different perspective of the city and never fail to enchant me. For me Prague is one of those cities that you don't have to spend to enjoy. You would be happy by just walking around, then have a cup of coffee on top of the hill overlooking the city. In term of cost, it is also not beyond reach. EUR2~KC49 can get you a nice cup of cafe latte. For EUR6~KC149 could get you a hearty muslim meal. The rest of the days could be spend by just taking its tram and go around the city. One of the best thing about the city is also that the public transport are rather baby family. Pushing Rayyan Eusoff around in the baby stroller is not a problem at all. This is also will be Rayyan Eusoff's final trip before he reach 2 years in few days. After this, instead of paying 10%, Eusoff's ticket fare will be almost the same price like abah and mama. But regardless, it won't deter Abah to bring Eusoff around the world. This time its time for Rayyan Eusoff goes Czech Republic.

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