Budapest

I’m afraid, this post is going to be about only drinking and partying. No touristy info, no gyaan and no insights. I cannot – because all we did for 6 days was drink, laugh till tears stormed our cheeks (and in that state, how can one look around?) and ate.

It was hot in parts, in the middle of Sept. So if you don’t like the heat, DO NOT go before that. It was crossing 40deg C in the earlier months.

We have friends who lived in Budapest for 16 years, and they still go there ever so often. Nothing like a local showing you around. We saw places small and big, wonderous and awesome because they took the pains to take us, and show us the side of Budapest most people would not see. Unfortunately they were as mad as us, and as uninterested in tourist shit as we were.

What you must know about Budapest —

  • It is cheap. I mean in terms of money. The currency is called Forint. It is lower than the Indian Rupee!!!!! Yes! I swear! They did not adopt the Euro. So 10000 Forint is 2500 INR.
  • The population is as classy as the currency is cheap. The women were hot, well dressed and gorgeous. Alas, the men were not fat, but just about ok looking!
  • Buda and Pest are two sides of the city, divided by the Danube river. Buda is more residential, ultra green and some places are out of a fairytale book. Pest is the commercial side, with the Parliament and shopping and restaurants etc.
  • Check out the weather before you leave. Unlike other European countries, Budapest has a more temperate climate. Having said that, they still get very hot summers and cold winters.
  • Stay in the Pest side.
  • Uber is not easily available. Nor are taxis. We got caught in a cats and dog kind of shower and were stuck without a taxi for 30 long, soaked minutes! On a normal evening (and no evening was normal for us!) Taxi’s can be booked. Do not hail off the road. It seems, they charge way more. Use the METRO ,TRAMS and BUS. We bought a 3 day pass, and it was super convenient. Most, to all, parts of the city is covered by the public transport. Very efficient!
  • Eat early. Most restaurants and pubs stop serving food, by 10pm.

 

EAT DRINK PARTY

The first thing I have to share and the most important are the Ruin Pubs.

 

Ruin Pubs.
Ruin Pubs. Planked and boarded. Chipped Paint. But OH! so wild!!

When the Lehman Brothers crashed, many people who had bought out dilapidated buildings to renovate and flip over, were told by their bankers that they can no longer be funded. One genius turned his half boarded, semi falling down (but safe), planked, unpainted building into a pub. And called it a RUIN PUB. It became an instant hit and took off as a fad. For one drinks and parties harder, especially when the money is chewed up and gone. To forget!! To live!! (Hungary has just got on its feet again!) So – the ruin pubs! They are huge. And most of them play different sorts of music in different floors/ areas. Its not your classy pub. Just the way it is, boarded up, with peeling paint. But the food, booze and music is world class. (and cheap!!)

Some of the ones our friends took us to – Instant. Fogasház. Let me repeat —– GO THERE. Even if you are 80 years old and reading this ( I don’t think I have an 80 year old reading this .. ) The concept is mind blowing.  ( I would have used an F word here – but i might have a 60 year old reading this)

Gozsdu Courtyard. This place is mad. Its a huge alley, with pubs, restaurants, fast food joints and Strip clubs (Yeah!!) on both sides. It’s a You – will – definitley  –   find –  something –  of  – your  – taste- : kinda place. We went almost all nights. Food in most places shut by 10 pm but one can party till dehydrated and puking! UMM! The men in this holiday want to make sure I let you know about — KLIK. Ladies strip thingy. In the middle of Gozsdu! (But what the hell – even I thought it was an excellent marketing gimmick)

Cactus Juice. Very nice underground pub. Great food.

360Deg Roof top bar. Fab fab views. Great drinks. good food. But hey!! Either book, or go early!

Gödör Area. Amazing place. Its an open pond. With an adjoining garden. Get your food, drinks and sit by the pond and eat and more importantly – drink! Hear the music some kids are playing around you. Chill, relax and let go.

Gödör
Gödör   Breathe – Enjoy – Relax.

Frucht Térász. Open air bar close to this pond.

MIKA. Great open air restaurant. Bump into loads of tourists here and meet some interesting people.

Bordo. Another open air restaurant. Great food.

Rakpart – Pier Bar. Bar by the waters. Great feeling, sitting by the river, sipping drinks.

Tokio. Amazing amazing oriental food. Good for vegetarians also. Very close to the river.

Pomodoro. First class Italian food. Must go.

Bombay Curry Bar. Now this one!!– you have to go to. Even if you are not craving Indian food. The food was fresh, wholesome. The service warm and welcoming and the decor very brisk and entertaining. They have 2 restaurants. One in Andrassy area, and another in Corvin area.

Sugar Shop. I am a pastry chef. It takes a lot for me to get excited about desserts!! This shop was a marvel. Very cute, excellent pastries and great ice creams. They even have a candy store.

Daubner Pastry Shop. I want to work there.. in their bakery! Frankly the pastries were nothing I want to dance and sing about, but their baked goods!! OH MY! OH MY!  Things I have never had before. Sorry!  Cannot go on with the description. It evokes very hungry lusty memories! Its on the Buda side, so use that time to drive around and see the greener side of this crazy city.

Gelarto Rosa. Near the Basilica. Firstly it’s not only a gimmick, the flavours of ice cream available are humongous and they also taste amazing. Fresh. Fantastic.

Famous Rose Ice cream
Famous Rose Ice cream

Choose your flavours. Try and choose at least 2 distinct colours. Why —-

 

20120101_010749  20120101_010743

That’s why!! 

BESIDES THE EATING AND PARTYING:

SHOPPING :  Shop!! A lot! Because it’s way cheaper here than anywhere else. Because every thing is available here. Because retail therapy will keep you away from drinking too much!

My friend who is an Louis Vuitton fan, entered the shop to check out the prices and came back hyper ventilating and flapping. It took her two long sips of water and a few deep breaths to tell us all, that the prices were low! Needless to say, pockets got burnt.

Go to the Andrassy Avenue for all the designer stores.

For smaller more intimate stores ( and even the bigger names) go Tovörösmarty tér.

Vass Shoes: Very famous custom made shoes. My husband had a huge grin on his face for the entire hour he was there and for a few hours post that! They have for women too, but its more famous for men’s shoes.

THERMAL BATH. We went to Rudas. Awesome, must do experience. On Sundays men and women are allowed together. Carry your costume and be prepared to soak up a life extending experience. I will not describe this is detail. All I will say is – go! HAve fun. Relax.    PS: Carry a botlle of water! See the details here!

Basilica : you will end up passing it.

Basilica
Basilica

For stunning, panoramic views and great pictures, go the to Castle District.  Look for events taking place. We went when a chocolate festival was on!

 

In parting – I do tell thee! Budapest is happening! Amazing and Outstanding. If you like to see something different, feel something different .. make  your trip!

 

 

 

 

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong, city of Buzz. I love it. The noise, the restaurants, the loud bargaining, the shopping, the sights. Everything. Don’t get fooled by its size. It looks like a small island, but hides inside it, a plethora of tourist attractions and varied entertainment joints.

Its another city, I mark as “ An ever going project” for I will keep visiting it and loving it.

Places to visit

Lantau Islands and Ngong Ping Monastery.

This is near the airport. Take the MTR to Tung Chung. And from there take the cable car to Lantau. If possible (and if you are not deathly scared of heights) take the crystal car. 1) This is faster and you don’t have to wait that long in the ques. 2) It has a glass bottom, so you can see all the hills and waterfalls and beautiful trekking paths on the way.

Once in Lantau, there is a lot to do. We just went and saw the Giant Buddha statue and visited the Monastery.

The Steps Leading to Buddha.
The Steps Leading to Buddha.
The Great Buddha.
The Great Buddha.

Here is the web site, which gives all other options for Lantau.

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/au/see-do/great-outdoors/outlying-islands/lantau-island/index.jsp

If you reach in time for lunch, do have a meal, at the Monastery. Its pure veg and rated very highly. They also have a café, for snacks etc.

Shopping inside Lantau was prohibitive.

Once the cable car takes you back down, you can go to the Shopping Mall, near the entrance of the cable car office. Its an outlet mall, but has all the best brands, Hong Kong has to offer. Definitely worth a visit.

Lot of restaurants within the mall area,

TIME REQUIRED: If shopping and seeing Lantau in leisure and in depth, I would say give this a full day.

The Peak

It’s a train journey! A small cute train journey. The Funicular takes you to the peak. Please don’t go on holidays, the queues are toooo long. And equally long to come down.

The view is awesome in the day. But – spectacular at night. I’ve been both in the day as well at night. I would definitely suggest the night. Many restaurants in that area, but preferably book elsewhere. Food wasn’t great.

If need be, one can come down the peak in a taxi also. Its expensive, but the view is amazing.

The View
The View

Lan Kwai Fong.

The party never stops rocking. One bar over the other, in front of another, next to another. Though one must visit it, at least once, to see and experience true debauchery, this trip, I was a bit put off. Every bar is trying to beat the other, with louder music. While walking down the street, the auditory nerves are bombarded with retro and the next second, house and at the same time Latino numbers from the opposite bar. It’s confusing and frankly nerve racking. To make the best of the music, locals get their own drinks, and stand on the road and drink, whilst enjoying the music screeching from the bars. It’s a no car zone.

After a quick tour of The Lan Kwai Fong, lovingly called LKF, we went up one street. (Middle of LKF – a staircase goes upwards.) , To Wyndham Street. The bars were classier, crowds better and more importantly, the bars were spaced well.

Try The Wine Bar, and Tivo. Great music, good service and enjoyable.

LKF is a good place to have lunch.

Other places I know are worth visiting, but I have not visited are Ocean Park and Disney. Great for kids. Ocean Park is good for older kids too.

Stanley Beach is also ranked high, in the TO DO list.

Walk along the Avenue Of Stars. It’s a promenade, very akin to Hollywood Walk of Fame. Very interesting.

Lounge Bars

Hong Kong is big on lounge bars. The latest must-go bar is the OZONE. It’s on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton hotel. The view is unbelievable. The bar itself is nice, great drinks and the roof is open air. It’s an amazing experience. Not reservations required.

SEVVA. Situated on a rooftop, over looking the ocean and the high profile bank buildings of Hong Kong, this bar should be number one on your list of to dos. Fantastic service, great food and tantalizing views. They also have a restaurant inside. It has great reviews, though we have never eaten there.

10 Charter Road, Hong Kong. +85225371388

The other lounge bars I have read about are Aqua. And Dragon I

Restaurants.

Chilli Fagara. Reservations needed. It’s a very small restaurant and very popular. The service is pathetic, but if you are a worshipper of spicy food, forget everything and go there. Do have their beer. One – it will go down really well with spicy food Two- They serve it in a bowl, which is a fun way to have it.

51A Graham Street Hong Kong. +85228933330

Knutsford Terrace. Many restaurants. We love Paparazzi.

Tsim Sha Tsui.

Boqueria In Lang Kwai Fong. Great Spanish food. Good Meal if you want something different.

Dragon I. Opposite Lang Kwai Fong. Fabulous Chinese Dim Sums. Lovely ambiance. It turns into a lounge bar at night.

30 Wyndham Street. +85231101222

Amouse Bouche. If you feel like having a four-course meal, this is the place you must go to. Reserve in advance. You will not regret it.

The Hennessey. 256 Hennessey Street. +85228913666-

Flying Pan Yup! That’s how it is spelt. The Chinese version of Frying! Wyndham Street. After a night of pub hopping in LKF head up one street to this all night eggery. Omlettes, fried eggs etc. A fantastic meal to soak up all that alcohol.