Public Transport and Money in Budapest – Taxi Scam

by Zhiqiang & Tingyi on July 18, 2009 · 10 Comments

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.

Budapest-metro-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

Transformers_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

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5 Tips to Avoid Being Ripped-Off by Prague Taxis
September 10, 2009 at 11:56 pm

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Howard Bhatt August 30, 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.
thanks

Reply

2 Zhiqiang August 30, 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. :-)

ZQ

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3 Howard Bhatt August 30, 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

Reply

4 Zhiqiang August 30, 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.

ZQ

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5 Mr Whattaworld May 2, 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 =-.

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6 Leng | Globe Nomads January 23, 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!

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7 Zhiqiang & Tingyi January 23, 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.

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8 Adam June 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Hi!

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

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9 Womele October 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

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

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10 Carol April 26, 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.

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11 Vernice March 17, 2014 at 2:44 am

Hi,

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?

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12 Zhiqiang & Tingyi March 17, 2014 at 8:40 am

Hi

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.

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13 Jane March 25, 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.

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14 Zhiqiang & Tingyi March 25, 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.

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