Public Transport and Money in Budapest – Taxi Scam

18 July, 2009

After a gruelling 10-hour+ journey from Krakow, we finally arrived at Budapest Keleti-pu train station.Arrival at Budapest Keleti Train Station

Budapest Taxi Scam

According to many online sources, it is often safer to call for a taxi from a reputable taxi company e.g. City Taxi than hailing it off the street.  However you are encouraged to make prior arrangements with City Taxi via email instead of asking the tourist info booth in Keleti-pu to call for you.

Budapest Taxi Scam

Instead of going by the rate shown in the taxi meter, the taxi (from City Taxi) arranged for us by the tourist info booth charged us a fixed rate of 2200 HUF – 700 HUF more than what was expected if the taxi had used the meter rate.  The taxi driver slapped on another 300 HUF for my request for him to make a 1-minute phone call to our apartment landlord to meet up with us (if he had told me up front instead of just coming with an arbitrary number, that would have been fine).  While the grand total sum that we were scammed of worked out to less than 2SGD per person, it still sucks to meet such dishonest people.

More about our Budapest apartment in the next post.

Public Transport in Budapest

Since we will be in Budapest for 3 days, we purchased a 3-day travel pass for 3700 HUF.  You should validate your tickets immediately after boarding a bus/tram.  Penalties if caught without a validated ticket is quite severe – at least 6000 HUF fine (on the spot) and up to 24000 HUF.  More information on ticket prices and schedules at the Budapest BKV Public Transport website.

Budapest 3-day Travel Card pass

You can buy your tickets at various ticket offices; personally I would prefer to buy from a permanent ticket office than a temporary cart. 🙂

BKV Budapest Metro Ticket Office

Budapest Metro Map – much less complicated than the London Tube map.


The M1 – M3 Budapest Metro Logo always reminded me of the Transformers logo whenever I see them.  Can you see the similarities here?  Maybe not – the Budapest metro logo is just a very stylish M but humor me :-p

Budapest Metro Logo


Not part of the Budapest Public Transportation System, just a poor statue that we harassed day and night whenever we passed by it.

Budapest Scooter StatueActual transport in Budapest – different types – Tram, Metro, Trolley Bus (bus but powered by electricity in the same way as a tram), Bus; We tried them all – fully utilised our 3-day travel pass :-p

Budapest Metro and TrolleyBus

Money in Budapest

As of May 09, the exchange rate of Singapore dollars to Budapest Forint was about 1 SGD: 140 HUF.  Instead of dividing all HUF prices by 140 which can be quite mind-boggling without a calculator, you can try using this formula:

For every 100 HUF you see, you need to pay about 0.70 SGD.  So for a 3000 HUF item, it will cost you (0.70 x 30 = 21 SGD)

Hungarian Forint Currency Notes Coins

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

Comments (21)

  • Howard BhattReply

    30 August, 2009 at 12:27 am

    I am planning to visit Budapest by the end of this month. not sure about the date yet.
    Can you suggest the area where I can get massage, or where I can go to a bath house.
    How about the adult entertainment. Is there a red light area in Budapest.?
    where canI go to meet woman discreetly, safe.
    any suggestion or help will be apprecaited.

    • ZhiqiangReply

      30 August, 2009 at 2:19 am

      Hi Howard

      You can try the Gellert Baths – they offer massages as well. You will get the best services over there (of course more expensive).

      For adult entertainment and red light district, I heard that they are located around the Vaci Ut area (a famous shopping street leading from the Budapest Great Market Hall).

      Such info can usually be found on some tourist info booklets. Keep a lookout for them in Budapest. 🙂


  • Howard BhattReply

    30 August, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    thanks for the info. BTW, I read lots of material about budapest but I did not find any thing about red light district or about women or adult entertainment like they have in Amsterdam or in Frankfurt they have few building where you can find all sort of women . I thought Budapest was very open , I am not so sure now.
    Any other web site suggestion???
    thanks again

    • ZhiqiangReply

      30 August, 2009 at 11:47 pm

      I think the city had banned open prostitution but if you wander around the city enough you’ll likely find a pretty girl who will throw herself at you and invite you to a bar.

      There are strip clubs all over the city around Vaci Ut, could be pricey from what i heard on the travel forums.


  • 5 Tips to Avoid Being Ripped-Off by Prague TaxisReply

    10 September, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    […] for overcharging tourists especially in the touristy areas of Wenceslas Square.  After being scammed by a taxi driver in Budapest, I did more research on Prague taxis to avoid being ripped off again.  These 5 tips might be […]

  • Mr WhattaworldReply

    2 May, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Yeah, I know the feeling that it may be a very small amount (if converted to SGD) that they are trying to rip you off but it just sucks… 🙂
    .-= Mr Whattaworld´s last blog ..A Short Day Trip to Ayutthaya =-.

  • Leng | Globe NomadsReply

    23 January, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I am in Budapest now for the entire week so I feel that I must say something: Welcome to free enterprise and capitalism! Don’t they remind you of taxi drivers from a lot of Asian countries?

    I don’t believe you need to validate travel passes? You just need to validate regular tickets since when you buy them, the dates are written down, meaning they are valid from the day of purchase. The regular tickets are really a pain to use, I hardly saw any locals using them, mostly tourists!

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      23 January, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      I cant remember if i validated but if i did, its most likely kiasee – no harm just slot into the machine validate – makes no difference anyway. The travel passes are a great deal.

  • AdamReply

    21 June, 2011 at 11:19 pm


    That is not the symbol of the Transformers, it is the Decepticon!

  • WomeleReply

    22 October, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for the truly amazing writeup. through the method, exactly how could we talk?

  • CarolReply

    26 April, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    A taxi rental or car hire agency is a company that rents automobiles for short periods of time (generally ranging from a few hours to a few weeks) for a fee.Taxi rental can be a hassle-free task offering a wide range of taxis and luxury Buses to people for giving them the best of comforts to conclude an overall happy travel experience.

  • VerniceReply

    17 March, 2014 at 2:44 am


    It is nice to read a blog about fellow Singaporeans who have been backpacking. I discovered you guys as I was researching on getting from Krakow to Budapest. What a delight to come across your blog. I really can learn from some of your experiences, and I feel more reassured as you have similar concerns to me too. Heh.

    I am planning to travel in June, and am looking at Vienna (cheapest return flight from Singapore, I’ve only a few hundred points needed to upgrade my Emirates to the next level. Yes, I may actually be able to fly back in Business class.) – Prague (Excursions to Kutna Hora, Walking Tours over 2 days) – Krakow (Excursion to Auschwitz & Birkenau, Salt Mines, Walking Tours over 2 days) [Night Train] – Budapest (just a day’s stopover, walking tour) – Zagreb (just a stopover) – Split ( Excursions to Mostar, Medjugorje, Plitvice Lakes, Dubrovnik over 3 days) – Zagreb (just a stopover) – end in Vienna

    I was considering a tour previously on Busabout’s Eastern Treks, however as their start date was inconvenient to my travel plans as I’ve only about a fortnight, I’ve to ditch them and wing it alone. I’ll be staying at hostels and taking buses and trains from place to place, and can allow for one flight if it costs below S$150. That is a very tight budget I know, but hopefully I can work things out.

    Any advice or things I have overlooked?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      17 March, 2014 at 8:40 am


      Overall your itinerary looks good – a bit packed though. Do give a bit of allowance for rest especially for the leg between Prague and Krakow (what i understand is that that journey is a 6-hour day train ride).

      I assume you are starting and ending your journey at Vienna. To avoid backtracking, you might want to consider open-jaw tickets e.g. arrive at Zagreb and depart from Vienna

      I have not been to Croatia so can’t advise on that leg.

  • JaneReply

    25 March, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Hi, where did you exchange for Hungarian Forint? I’m visiting in two weeks and am not sure if I can exchange in Singapore or should wait until I am in Budapest. Thanks.

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      25 March, 2014 at 10:28 am

      We couldn’t find any money exchangers who sell Hungarian Forint in Singapore. I suggest you wait til you are in Budapest to exchange for Forints – you should be able to exchange for Forints anywhere else in Europe so perhaps change some before you get to Hungary so you have at least some money for transportation and food.

  • Ho Yan YiReply

    16 April, 2015 at 8:35 pm


    I am going to travel to Budapest and Prague with one friend this coming May. May I ask how much euros I should bring to change to their local currency? We will just be spending two days at each place and our hostel and transport has already been paid.

    I really appreciate your advice!

    Thank you.

    Yan Yi

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      18 April, 2015 at 8:40 am

      I cant advise for sure as i dont know what is your travel style – budget or luxury and what sights you want to see and what things you want to buy. Prague is slightly more expensive than Budapest. Expect to cater about S$60 per day for food (average restaurant quality – if you just eat kebabs, it will be even cheaper) and then based on your itinerary, include admission fees for sights you want to see

  • GeraldineReply

    2 July, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Hi, could you share with me your itinerary. I am planning to do a 15 days Vienna, Hungary and Czech Republic.

  • DUNCANReply

    25 October, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Hi I’m going Budapest this Dec. Can they change SGD to forint at Budapest? If not, would it be better if we bring euro or usd there to change for forint?

    Is banks the best place for currency exchange?


    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      25 October, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      bring euro or usd. very few places change sgd. do your comparison around money changers in town – be aware of commission fees (go for those with zero commission fees but also ensure that their exchange rates are good).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *