23 September 2016

What to See Around District V in Budapest

Budapest is a very beautiful city in the central part of Europe. And most old cities in Europe, it is segregated in districts. During my recent vacation in Budapest, Hungary, my friend and I decided to stay in District V due to the many attractions we could visit on foot.

District V or the Belváros & Lipótváros  area (inner city).  In this district, you can find the following places of interests that are sure magnets for visitors. And if the weather permits, most of them can be reached on foot coming from St. Stephen's Basilica as your main focal point.

New Main Street – Új Fő Utca

This is a pedestrianised street in the inner city of Budapest. It has terraced cafes and restaurants that is free from motorists. So, visitors and locals can enjoy a lively break in one of the bistros or cafes or take a seat in the many installed benches along the stretch if the Main Street.

The Main Street stretches from Kalvin Ter all the way to Szabadsag Ter.


This imposing architecture with Gothic and Neo Classical design stretches between the Margaret and Chain Bridges. It is located in the Kossuth Ter, right in front of the Danube bank.

You can visit the interior of the Parliament but be ready for a long queue! Check with your travel operator for timings and ticket rates.

St. Stephen's Basilica

I am blessed to be able to stay in District V of Budapest and have a good view of the St. Stephen's Basilica right from my apartment room.

It is located right in front of the Szt. István Ter and is very near the Arany Janos Metro stop.

It is free to go inside and marvel at the very beautiful interior. You can go up the cupola and view Budapest from the top. You can also visit and check the mummified right hand of St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary.

Most of the things you can see inside are free but going to the cupola has a fee. Check with your local tour operator for the timings and ticket rates.

There is a specified timing for visitors to check the St. Stephen's Basilica. Please, refer to the website of St. Stephen's Basilica when it is open for tourists (http://en.bazilika.biz/)

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

This is one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the whole of Hungary. It is located near the bank of the Danube River and few steps away from the Chain Bridge. The academy is used for the propagation of Science studies, spreading the scientific findings, representing Hungarian's Science and supporting the research and development of Science and its associated fields of study.

Shoes in the Danube bank Memorial

I missed to see this place due to the lack of time and hot weather during our visit. I would love to visit this and will surely include in next time.

The shoes are made of bronze and have been installed as a memorial to the victims of the Arrow Cross Militiamen during WWII.

Gresham Palace

The opulent looking Gresham Palace is a classic example of an Art Nouveau kind of architectural design. It is grand and true to its form of opulence too. It houses the expensive and luxurious Four Seasons Hotel.  It is located in front of the River Danube bank and close to the Széchenyi Square and the eastern end of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

Cafe Gerbeaud

Cafe Gerbeaud is one of the greatest and traditional coffeehouses in Europe. It is located in Vörösmarty Ter. This is one of the famous coffee house and confectioner all over the world and has another branch in Tokyo, Japan.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

This is a famous bridge in Europe. It spans the River Danube, connecting the Buda and Pest side of Hungary's old city of Budapest.

It is a walkable bridge with a walkway for pedestrians to cross.

Vaci Street

This is the famous tourist pedestrian streets in Budapest. It has plenty of pubs, bars, restaurants, and high end shops carrying branded merchandise. It is certainly a luxurious lure to the unknowing tourists. It's nice to pass by, probably order a cup of coffee and then get going.

József Eötvös monument

He is a Hungarian author and a statesman. He is a well known Hungarian novelist who penned The Village Notary. The monument is erected near the foot of the Chain Bridge near the Sofitel and Intercontinental Hotels in the Pest side.

Great Market Hall (or Central Market Hall)

This is the largest indoor market in Budapest. It houses plenty of shops from paprika to tasty sausages to embroidered fabrics and even souvenirs.

It is located at the end of the Vaci Street.

Elizabeth Bridge

This is one of the newest bridges installed in Budapest, at the narrowest part of the Danube River. 

István Széchenyi monument

István Széchenyi was a Hungarian politician, historian and a writer. The monument erected in honour of István Széchenyi is located at István Széchenyi Ter near the traffic light.

Vigado Concert Hall

The Vigado Concert Hall is one of the largest concert halls in Budapest. It is home to the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble. 

Kossuth Memorial

This is a public memorial in honour of the Hungarian Regent-President Lajos Kossuth in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building near the Danube River bank.

Monument to the victims of the German occupation

This is located in Freedom Square. It is erected to honour the victims of the German occupation during WWII. This is a controversial monument though.

(All photos in this post are owned by ©riatravelbug.com/ria cervantes)

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19 September 2016

Last Minute Travel Deals Before Summer Ends

If you're looking for a short getaway before the cooler season comes, now's the right time to put that plan into motion as Tours4Fun is offering last minute deals for summer fun until 28 of September 2016! You can still go to your favourite destination with huge savings use some money for your land tours.

So, what are you waiting for? Want to take that dream getaway? Do it now and book your last minute summer travel with Tours4Fun and book here:  

End of Summer Sale at Tours4Fun  

You can also check out their September Travel Guide for more options.

September Travel Guide

**This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated when a purchase is made after clicking the links.

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18 September 2016

St. Stephen Basilica in Budapest

Hungary is home to Szent István-bazilika or in English, St. Stephen's Basilica. It is a famous landmark in the inner city of Budapest, in District V (Belváros-Lipótváros).

I have been blessed to have set my foot inside this famous, and beautiful Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest. I must say, beautiful is even an understatement. It's just very breath-taking, from the outside to the interior of the basilica. Everything is beautiful.

The basilica is named in honour of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary.  It has a neo-classical architectural design with 2 bell towers and a grand dome, following a Greek-cross style layout plan. Most of the stone carvings are intricate and edges of the church's dome and inner ceilings have gold foil. It is truly a magnificent architecture for many people to behold.

In the left side of the main altar, houses the relic of St. Stephen's right hand. It said to be miraculous so many church visitors and tourists take their time to visit the smaller altar and view the relic.

I went there to see it for myself but cannot come any closer for the relic's security and protection. It was housed inside an elaborate glass and metal container and you have to drop some Euro to activate the lights on for few minutes to have a better view of the right hand.

Getting inside the basilica is free. You can go up to the dome's observatory to get a better view of Budapest but with a minimal fee. My friend and I didn't go up since it was already noon and too hot and humid.

Aside from having an observatory, it also houses a big and smaller pipe organs. St. Stephen's Basilica also functions as a concert house for musical events as it take active participation in the promotion of music in the country. 

It is truly a remarkable experience to step inside the magnificent St. Stephen Basilica in Budapest. I only see it in travel magazines and travel sites. The feeling is ethereal especially when you realise that you're actually ticking another item off your bucket list.

So, if you are planning a trip in Budapest, include St. Stephen's Basilica in your itinerary or in your must-see places. I am very glad that the apartment I booked in was just 5 minutes walk from St. Stephen's Basilica. And waking up in the morning on the sight of the grandiose beauty of St. Stephen Basilica from our room is something I can only dream of. And it has happened...

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15 September 2016

Feodorm Apartment Review in Budapest

Feodorm Apartment is a nice accommodation in the heart of the inner city of Budapest. It is a refurbished apartment with 6 rooms for rent in a residential building located along Bajcsy Zsilinszky utca.

The residential building housing the Feodorm Apartment is just in the corner and is very near Arany Janos Metro Station. There are also nearby food outlets so you will never have to worry about food during your stay.  The building also houses a bakery so whenever my friend and I go out, we can smell the waft of freshly baked goods. It's so heavenly!

The apartment itself is not bad. The building may be old with antiquated lift to carry you up on the 3rd floor where Feodorm Apartment is but the apartment has been refurbished so everything there is new.

We had to buzz outside the massive door or gate to the building before we could get it. It wasn't so hard to find because it has a brass number on top of the massive door. Before arriving in Budapest, Feodorm Apartment contacted me to give me instructions on where to find the place and how to get it. We were welcomed with the most friendly and gracious hostess - Hannah. She was the same person who contacted me via email and was very courteous and amiable. I felt so at home in Feodorm right away!

Check out this massive door!

Feodorm does not have any reception area; hence the need to coordinate closely with arrival time so one of the staff can meet you personally to hand the key card and to facilitate the cash payment. Hannah also showed us around the apartment and informed us that we are allowed to bring in food and leave them in the refrigerator as long as they are properly marked. The kitchen is the communal area of the apartment. Each room has their own private bathroom.

The room we booked is a twin room with a view. The view is breath-taking. For 3 nights and 4 days, I had been sleeping and waking to the sight of St. Stephen's Basilica. It's really beautiful!

The bathroom is very spacious and clean too. It was well-stocked with toiletries and if we ever needed one, we just had to check the cupboard in the kitchen for extra stocks.

The air conditioning unit worked well especially during the day when we had to cool down after a long walk outside the hot and humid weather.

The lighting is sufficient.

The bed is comfortable; however, my friend and I found the beds to be a bit tight like it is good for kids but not adults. The pillow is unusually soft and big. I would have preferred standard sized pillows. The comforter was satiny and soft but it kept falling on the floor when I am already in my deep sleep. I also fell 3 times in my bed because I am a fussy sleeper. I prefer my bed to be big.

The wifi is free and can be accessed all over the apartment.

The whole area is very quiet even if the building is facing the main thoroughfare. There are occasional sirens every now and then but there wasn't much noise to be heard.

There is no telephone in the apartment nor in our room.

My recommendation:  5 out of 5

I highly recommend this property to family, couple, solo and even group of travellers since this is centrally located with the basic amenities that is enough to give you a relaxing stay.

The location is perfect and the rate via Booking.com is competitive. I paid AED 545 (inclusive of the taxes) for 3 nights for a twin room with a view. Compared to the other 2-3 stars properties I have checked, Feodorm is still cheaper. Aside from that, Tripadvisor and Booking.com users have given this property a very high rating because of its warm hospitality, clean rooms, generous hosts, perfect location and free wifi usage.

I don't mind staying in this apartment again when I visit Budapest with my family.

I give this property my highest recommendation.

If you are looking for a nice accommodation within reasonable rates and very close to notable touristic landmarks in Budapest, book your stay in Booking.com and choose Feodorm Apartment.

This hotel review is my personal review. I have paid for this stay and in no way sponsored by the property nor Booking.com. I love to book via Booking.com because I always find a very competitive rate or great deals when compared to other booking sites. My opinion is 100% mine and may vary from yours.

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09 September 2016

Experience The Blooming Amsterdam In A Limited Budget

People with a love for traveling keep seeking opportunities to travel in different places. When the spring is around, and you are low on your budget; the best place to go for is Amsterdam. There are plenty of reasons why to go to Amsterdam specifically in spring.

One of the main reasons is to see the Amsterdam city blooming with beautiful tulips. The tulips look very captivating, and you cannot miss this beauty and the charm they provide to the city. The tulips are the sign of emerging of spring, typically in the month of March.

Where Should You Go?
The place not to be missed, when you are visiting Amsterdam in the springs is Keukenhof Gardens.

Keukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof or ‘kitchen garden’ is known as the Garden of Europe. It is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. The park has more than 800 varieties of tulips, with more than 7 million bulbs in bloom in the spring.

The entry charge in this garden is €16 per adult. This is very reasonable as you can happily spend the whole day in the garden with your loved ones. The park is usually opened from 24 March to 16 May, from 8 am to 7:30 pm.

Various Activities To Do

Boat trips: Experiencing the exquisite beauty of the Keukenhof Gardens can be peacefully done by Boat rides. You can relax and enjoy the quiet of the garden while witnessing the blooming bulbs of tulips. The boat trip lasts for 45 minutes and costs €8 per adult, which is quite cheap.

Cycling: Bicycle is the best way to explore the area yourself. You can fall in love with the garden while riding the cycle. You may make a choice of the distance as per your preference, which can be from 5 km to 35 km.

Guided tours: If you want to know more about the type of flowers and learn all about the garden, guided tour is a must for you. And guess what? It is completely free of charge.

Restaurants: The garden is full of pavilions, stalls, and eateries to fill your stomach without losing much money. You can go for Juliana Pavilion, Beatrix Pavilion, Poffertjes house, Wilhelmina Pavilion, etc. to taste the yummy bites.

Accommodation: You can always find cheap apartments to rent in Amsterdam. Also, there are hotels nearby the park like Vakantiepark Koningshof, Rijnsburg, Camping De Zuidduinen, Katwijk Aan Zee, etc. to reside with your family.

Events to visit in the spring: There are many events taking place in Amsterdam in the season of spring. In this garden, you can enjoy food and flower festival, which is in the month of April. You can visit Keukenhof Flower market and flower parade here.

Shanty Choirs Festival is a party even to enjoy. Romance at Keukenhof is the classical musical event, which is carried out among the tulips. Family weekend is especially for families and children.


So, make sure you visit Keukenhof Gardens in the season of spring to experience the blooming tulips with reasonable price. You can create a lot of memories with your loved ones here.

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05 September 2016

Pattaya: The Gem Of Thailand's East Coast

Source: Wikimedia

Since its beginnings as a sleepy little sleeping village, Pattaya has thrived to become one of the most prominent resort cities in all of Asia. Famous for the way its bustling nightlife intermingles with ancient religious treasures, this city is the gem of Thailand’s east coast, and that reputation certainly isn’t going anywhere! If you’re planning a stop in this fascinating city, here are some of the attractions you should really make a point of seeing.

Walking Street, South Pattaya
Source: Flickr

If you’re stressed out from the hours of air travel and all the complications that come with it, then Walking Street should be your first stop in Pattaya. The incredible sounds and sights here are unlike anything you’ll find in other Thai destinations. This 500-metre strip is the centre of the famous Pattaya Thailand nightlife. Every other building you’ll see is a bar, club, or high-end restaurant, making it the perfect place to unwind while getting your first taste of the local culture. During the day, it’s almost empty and everything is closed. After 6pm though, all the traffic stops and the clubs open their doors. This is where the name “Walking Street” comes from. This is the one sure-fire place to experience a nightlife vastly different from what you’re used to, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Nong Nooch, Na Jomtien
Source: Wikimedia

After all that partying on Walking Street, you’ll probably want to chill out for a while, and maybe go a little easier on that pain in your head! Nong Nooch is a beautiful tropical garden, stretching almost three kilometres and full of some of the most beautiful horticulture you may ever see. You don’t need to be a landscaping enthusiast to appreciate the sheer amount of care and work that’s gone into this garden. You’ll be able to learn something about the local climate by checking out over 670 hybrids of Thai orchids, and avoid homesickness with some of their prim European gardens. Nong Nooch also plays host to regular Thai boxing, drumming and dancing displays, which will really give you a taste for the country’s amazing culture.

Floating Market, Jomtien
Source: Wikimedia

No holiday would be complete without some shopping, and in Pattaya there’s only one place for it; the Four Regions Floating Market. Though you may be on the east coast, this is where you can sample the rich varieties of culture that exist throughout the country. The market is structured based on the North, South, East and West of Thailand, and is teeming with dozens of fascinating shops and stalls. From local cuisine to crafts to clothing, you’ll find it all here in this fascinating district. You may be wondering about the name. Well, Pattaya’s floating market is built on a river that runs towards the coastline, and dozens of the vendors there do indeed float! As you walk around the shops, you’ll see people in traditional Thai canoes drifting by with all kinds of local curiosities on display. The rest make up a beautiful stilted village with quaint covered walkways and bridges.

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Factors to Check On Planning What To Wear For Your Autumn Travel

Autumn is fast approaching. According to the Farmer's Almanac, Autumn for 2016 is on 22 September 2016. In countries with 4 seasons, the changing of season from summer to fall tends to be tricky in temperature and weather forecast.

If you're planning a nice autumn travel and is unsure of what to wear to keep yourself warm or pleasantly comfortable during the day, then consider the following tips when deciding on what to bring on your trip.

Check on the weather forecast of your destination

I usually check Accuweather.com for a monthly forecast and I also check the actual weather a year before to give myself an idea on what clothing to bring. An example of this is my recent trip to Budapest next Saturday. I have been checking the forecast week after week to see any difference on the weather. Few weeks ago, the weather indicated rainy to thunderstorm during my stay and last night when I checked again, the weather is around max of 26ºC and lowest of 12ºC. So it means, it is a bit comfortable for me during the peak of the day so I can carry a lighter cardigan that I can fold and keep in my bag if it gets too hot. I can also carry a thicker sweater for late afternoon to evening stroll.

Photo credit: accuweather.com

Check forums

I usually check forums in Tripadvisor where I am a contributor. I ask locals about the weather few days before my trip so I can plan my outfit. I don't want to bring a thick jacket when it's not even that cold. You also have to bear in mind that each person will have different tolerance to coldness. I have a very high tolerance to cold weather; hence I enjoy winter time. So for me, a nice light sweater or cardigan and a warm shawl can do the trick to warm me up.

Contact your accommodation' concierge and ask for tips

I emailed the owner of the apartment where I will stay in Budapest this weekend to ask for tips on what to wear. I was given many tips so I can decide from there.

Trial test at home

This is perfect for those with air condition unit that has thermostat control you can manipulate. Test it by putting your a/c to the lowest temperature you can bear with just wearing light cardigan. If you still feel very cold then perhaps it is wise to pack on that puffy jacket then.

Research the web

The web is teeming with plenty of information and resources where you can check on what to wear during autumn. You will find tips on what to bring for your travel including types of jackets or sweaters you can bring so you can layer when needed.

Photos not mine

Autumn is the onset of the burgeoning winter. So the wind can be cold and biting so bring clothing that will help you stay warm and comfortable. Bring something you can layer around and remove when you feel a bit hot and sweaty.

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03 September 2016

Teach Young Explorers to Make Elephant Toothpaste With Little Passports

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.


The best science experiments are the simplest—the ones where the kids get their hands dirty and really understand every step. It also helps to end with a show-stopping result you and your kids may not even expect!

Grab your Explorers, make some space in your kitchen or study nook, and head to Little Passports for step-by-step instructions on how to make elephant's toothpaste. This easy experiment will not disappoint!

Be sure to read the bottom of the blog post - Little Passports has something brewing in the laboratory! 

When you're done, tell me about it in the comments portion below. I'd love to hear how your experiment went.

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02 September 2016

The Best Places To Visit In The UK (which aren't London!)

Think of England, and you're most likely to think of London. As one of the most famous cities in the world, it's only natural that it's on so many people's travel bucket lists. But even though the UK is fairly small, there's still loads of other amazing places you can visit on the British Isles. Ditch the big city for a more rural escape and see what beautiful places you can find...

Devon, Cornwall and the South coast

If you're hoping for decent weather during your trip, it doesn't get much safer in England than the South coast. Devon and Cornwall are two counties right at the bottom of the country, bordered by the English channel and stone's throw away from France. They offer some spectacular sandy beaches and Newquay is a popular place for surf fanatics. There's also plenty of National Parks and Unesco World Heritage Sites too. Many UK natives also holiday on the South coast, so snap up a cottage or B&B before they all go!

The Peak District and Lake District

As their names suggest the Peaks and Lakes (as they're known by locals) are both rural areas. Both giant National Parks, The Peak District is a hilly region in South Yorkshire whilst the Lake District is slightly further North. If you're looking for an outdoorsy, adventure holiday, these stunning areas of natural beauty could be right up your street. Small villages and towns are nestled in the Peaks, along with the nearby city of Sheffield - famous for it's steel industry. With so many places to see, you could even rent a motorhome and consider visiting various towns during your stay. Just make sure you’ve got a good playlist on the stereo! There's still plenty to do even if rambling isn't your thing. Take a trip to a local brewery in the Lakes or visit the famous Kendal Calling music festival.

Image source

Northern Powerhouses

Of course, rural retreats aren't for everyone. If all that country air sounds like a bit too much, take the motorway and head up to some of the North of England's biggest cities. Leeds and Manchester host that 'London vibe' without the rushed atmosphere or the price tag. Leeds in particular has a great culinary scene and Manchester plays host to lots of exciting events, such as Manchester Pride and Parklife Festival. Or alternatively, head west to the fashionable city of Liverpool, the place that spawned the Beatles! There are plenty of stylish hotels to choose from in these cities so you'll be able to relax after a busy day seeing the sights.

Image source


Of course, part of the beauty of the United Kingdom is that you can simply drive across the border into another country - Scotland! If you want plenty of tourist culture, head to Edinburgh (especially worth a visit around the time of the annual Fringe Festival). Glasgow is a good bet if you'd rather go 'slightly off the beaten track'. Check out some of the stunning nearby scenery - Loch Lomond is less than an hour's drive away from Glasgow, perfect for a daytrip. Plus, no visit to Scotland would be complete without a visit to a traditional Scotch whiskey distillery.


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