Eastern Europe Holiday Series - The Overview

Cepat eh masa berlalu?

Feels like just yesterday I was counting down to my Eastern Europe holiday?! Sekarang dah pun masuk the last entry for my Eastern Europe blog series.

If you've been living bawah your mother's katil and have no idea what I'm talking about, you can click on the links below to read about my whole Europe holiday before completing the rest of this entry:

Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Prague
Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Berlin
Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Poznan & Krakow
Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Krakow
Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Budapest
Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Vienna
Click Here to Read Blog Entry about Salzburg & Munich
Click Here to Read Blog Entry on the Airport & Flight Experiences

Alternatively, you can watch our holiday video (done by my lovely sister!) below:


Hello Khronicles Goes to Eastern Europe 2014 by fazmals on Vimeo.
Click on 'HD' for best viewing. The video footage was taken on our Canon G16.

Our Travel Dates:

7th May 2014 (Wednesday) to 21th May 2014 (Wednesday)

Flight Itinerary & Journey Duration:

From Singapore to Prague

Singapore to Dubai via Emirates on 7 May 2014
Duration of Flight: Approximately 7++ hours

Dubai to Prague via Emirates on 8 May 2014
Duration of Flight: Approximately 6++ hours

From Munich to Singapore

Munich to Dubai via Emirates on 21 May 2014
Duration of Flight: Approximately 6++ hours

Dubai to Singapore via Emirates on 21 May 2014
Duration of Flight: Approximately 7++ hours

You can read more about our flight experience here.

Time Difference:

Europe is 6 hours behind Singapore.

Currency Used:

Prague - Czech Crown (CZK)
Berlin - Euro (€)
Krakow - Zloty (PLN)
Budapest -  Forint (HUF)
Vienna - Euro (€)

Note: We were able to use both Euro and local currencies throughout our journey, but we were told that local currencies are always preferred over Euro. From experience, the shops returned our change in local currency even when we paid in Euro - unfortunately, the currency rate may not be the best in such cases.

Weather & Climate During Our Stay:

We decided to travel in May because it is one of the best months to travel to Europe:

(1) We get to enjoy the comfortable spring-to-summer weather (not too cold, not too hot)

(2) We get to avoid the summer crowds due in June and July

(3) May is my birthday month so it is the most awesome month in the whole wide world LOLZ

I gotta admit, the weather was colder than I anticipated! Which is why I didn't bring enough clothes to layer up lololol aku ada hati bawak baju meant for casual wear in Singapore.

That said, the weather was absolutely ~dreamy~ on most days! Temperatures ranged from 10°C to 18°Cs so the air was cool and blissful and perfect, which explains why we were decked in layers even when the sun was in our faces. IF ONLY WE COULD TAPAO THE WEATHER TO SINGAPORE AND STAY IN IT FOREVER!

Why we chose to travel to Eastern Europe:


My husband and I both love reading and discussing history so we were drawn to eastern Europe's rich history and strong cultural background. It was always about visiting historical sites and absorbing the city's culture when we booked this holiday, and shopping was belakang cerita.

Of course, as history has it, shopping accidentally became our cerita paling depan by the time we reached Vienna LOL

Thoughts on the Cities Visited

Out of all the cities we visited, Saliheen and I agree that Prague (Czech Republic) and Budapest (Hungary) were our absolute favourites. We found their raw old school charm very attractive somehow, and we were awed by everything we saw, including their people!!! 

Case in point: We saw the most gorgeous modelesque girls selling hotdogs at a standing food booth in Prague and gawked like nobody's business!!! Tapi yang buat lepak was the minute we passed by their booth, their radio blared out the iconic line from Alicia Keys' Girl on Fire - "THIS GURL IS ON FIYAHHHHH"and my husband couldn't help but quip "Oh, you girls are on fire, alright" HAHAHAHAHA I couldn't stop laughing wtf. 

Kelakar kan laki aku. Tapi lagi kelakar this girl yang literally on fire HAHAHAHAHAHA

The next closest one that I personally love was Krakow (Poland) - mainly because of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp and the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which were two of the many places I want to visit before I kick the bucket. Still feels surreal and I'm still reeling over it!

We didn't have much impression of the German cities we visited - Dresden, Berlin and Munich. Sure, we loved the historical sites we visited and standing in front of the Berlin Wall was an absolutely breathtaking for us but other than that, the "pull" wasn't as strong as Prague or Budapest for us. Maybe we didn't go to the right places or didn't stay longer to appreciate, I don't know.

As for Vienna and Salzburg (Austria), unfortunately we didn't enjoy them as much as we did for the other destinations, although there is a special place in my heart for the Schonbrunn Palace!!!

I think it's because we weren't as invested in their history as compared to the others? Don't get me wrong - Vienna and Salzburg are great cities to visit! But I guess it'd make more sense for someone who is interested in musical history to visit Vienna and Salzburg and to be able to appreciate and enjoy them. Personally, we're glad to have visited Vienna and Salzburg but unlikely to return in the near future.

Which hotels did we stay at and which tourist attractions did we visit:

You can read my blog entries (links mentioned above) or you can refer to my list which I've uploaded here.

Availability of Halal Food


It's not super easy, but also not as difficult as we thought it'd be! I don't know whether it was just our luck but most of the hotels we stayed at had halal kebab stalls nearby and a few of the tourist attractions we visited had halal kebab stalls nearby as well. Cuma we had to keep our eyes wide open because some were located at belakang areas and needed some maneuvering.

As for the meals provided in the package, Muslim customers are usually served fish and vegetarian options in designated restaurants. Some people might rasa was was because the meals are served in non-halal establishments so if that's an area of concern, you might want to bring extra money for your own food. (We spent about SGD10 to SGD15 per person whenever we bought food from halal stalls)

Souveniers to Buy


We were spoilt for choice when it came to buying souveniers and couldn't decide where and what to buy! Hur hur. We ended up buying stuff like chocolates, soaps, coasters, spices, pencils for our friends and colleagues, and teeshirts, bags and shawls for our family.

Oh, and if anyone is travelling to Budapest and planning to visit St Stephen's Basilica, can I just warn you to NOT buy your souveniers at the souvenier shop which is in front of it?!?! Because mahal nak mampos peh rip off lor!!!!!

I wanted to borong souveniers there but Saliheen didn't bring along enough cash (our cash was in the tour bus, didn't want to bawak lebih because the area we were at is known for pickpockets) so I only picked out a few items. We later went to another area and discovered that the souveniers there were way, way cheaper!!!!! Nang bo tinang. Depan korang punya tempat sembahyang, korang buat gini eh. Kena laknat nanti tau. 

Pros & Cons of Booking a Holiday Package with A Travel Agency

We initially planned to DIY the trip but after some pain and suffering when we tried to get the best flights, accommodations and transfers, we decided we were more suited for a guided tour than a DIY holiday in Eastern Europe. You can read our reasons here.

But now that we have gotten our virgin experience of travelling with a tour group organized by a tour agency, we've identified the pros and cons of doing so:-

Pros

- We didn't have to sweat over details because everything was prepared for us! Fuss free!
- We travelled on a dedicated tour bus = minimal chance of us getting lost or too exhausted.
- It was much cheaper to travel with a tour agency for the itinerary we wanted.
- We had free time to ourselves at some of the locations.

Cons

- We had to travel with 20 other strangers (We made secret nicknames for some, but made friends with others so it wasn't so bad in the end haha)

- We couldn't move around as we please - there were times when we would have liked to spend more time in a museum or bask longer in the atmosphere but because we were with a tour group, we had to leave when the stipulated time was over. We also had to go to some locations which we wouldn't have even gone to if we were on own and had a choice e.g. beer factory, monastery, etc.

- We couldn't choose the flight seats or hotels as we pleased (But to be fair, the tour agency did try their best to accommodate to our requests and book 4-star hotels with reasonable standards.)

Overall review of EU Holidays: 


We were pretty satisfied with the service we got from EU Holidays and our appointed tour manager! Certain types of people might find our tour manager a little too lax but for us, he was the perfect tour manager. He didn't 'baby' us sampai we felt limited during the journey and knew what to say or how to help when we did consult him throughout the journey. You can read about how we came to book our holiday package with EU Holidays here.

Would we return to Eastern Europe for a holiday:

Yes, if we have rezeki, insya Allah!

But we'll probably only return to Prague and Budapest so we can cover more museums and sites for longer periods + we'll DIY the trip since we've already covered the main historical sites we want in Eastern Europe and it'll be easier to DIY just two cities the next time round. Might even add in Warsaw? We didn't get to visit Warsaw this time round because it wasn't part of the tour itinerary :( 

The Total Expenditure:

It was approximately SGD3600++ per person for the Eastern Europe holiday package, which includes flights, transfers, 4-star accommodation and meals. We also brought along SGD2500 for other additional things e.g. fees for optional tours like Danube River Cruise and Wieliczka Salt Mine, own meals (halal kebab suppers and desserts), souveniers and other miscellaneous things as well as a separate amount for own shopping.

Okay korang, kita sudah pun sampai ke penghujung cerita!!! Macam dah penat eh asyik cakap pasal this holiday??? Haha. Can't wait for our Bali and Gili New Year holiday trip end of this year, lepas tu baru boleh start berangan our next travel destination!!! 

I'm thinking of a Santorini getaway, he's thinking of a Scandinavian holiday, and then recently we started looking at US tours padahal we initially wanted to go South Korea??? Macam semua tempat ah kita nak jejak. Tapi as usual... tengoklah rezeki macam mana ye.

8 comments

  1. Yay! Good job on comepleting your Euro entries Farna! Lol
    The tempat you went to semua very picturesque. I'll vote for you to go Santorini ok! Hahahaha.

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    1. Yay yay yay! Finally lah kan?! Hehe

      I wish you were my husband lah then!!! I keep telling Saliheen I want to go Santorini but everytime I ask "Nak gi Santorini?" he will suggest something else pfftttttt buang masa aku buat mata kucing LOL

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  2. Hahhahahaha 'nang bo tinang' tu binatang apa?

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    1. hahahaha ehhh you never hear it in P Ramlee's movie before meh??? i can't remember what's the title but i first heard it in one of his movies lolz

      i've tried to find out what it means before but the only explanation i can find is that it means "orang pun bukan, hantu pun bukan":

      http://kerabujantung.blogspot.sg/2009/02/nang-bo-ti-nang-kui-bo-ti-kui.html

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  3. " Macam semua tempat ah kita nak jejak." faham nah perangai ni... suma nak eh! hehhe. nevertheless, santorini sounds lovely! <3

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    1. hehehe we are all very gatal right!!! and ikr, santorini is an absolute dream destination haizzzzz

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  4. Hi there, did you buy any sim card for internet access, or just rely on the hotels' WIFI?

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    1. Just relied on hotels' Wi-fi! But now Changi Airport offers Wi-fi devices which you can use on the go while travelling. Go to the Changi Recommends website, you should see more info there :)

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