Global Treats is a personal blog containing tales and useful tips for anyone thinking of travelling in Southeast Asia and Europe on a small budget. It features reviews of every city, attraction, hostel, bar, restaurant and coffee shop that I visited on my 15 month long adventure.
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Boasting an incredible food scene and the best street art in Malaysia, there are so many amazing things to do in George Town to make it an absolute must-visit. No... Read more » The post 18 Amazing Things To Do In George Town, Penang appeared first on Global Treats - Budget Travel in Southeast Asia and...
No trip to Penang in Malaysia is complete without a visit to its capital. The food here represents the mixture of its people with Indian, Chinese and Malay combining to creat some of the best dishes in the world. The old town is a UNESCO heritage site and the mixture of colonial and indigenous buildings provide a great canvas for some incredible street art.
Located at the north of Penang Island, we took the bus 101 here, costing 2.7 MYR, for a day of relaxing on the beach. It is a very pleasant beach as there is lots of shade, meaning you don’t have to bake in the Malaysian heat. There are plenty of food and drink places around and they have a night market from 7 pm. It takes just over an hour on the bus to get here. Map.
Tourists may have heard about the ‘Thai Temple’ that is home to the huge reclining Buddha. Opposite that is this Burmese temple that is also very beautiful and peaceful and definitely worth a visit. Free admission. Usual temple rules apply. Map.
A small but charming museum which is free admission and also offers free samples of local chocolate and coffee. We tried the white coffee that is very popular here. It has sweeteners already added and it is very sweet, but also quite delicious. There is no pressure to buy. Worth having a look if you are nearby. Map.
Going to the cinema is a cheap activity in George Town (just over 10 MYR) and there are a number of cinemas to choose from, all located in malls.
‘TGV Cinemas’ (map) is located on the 8th floor of Watsons. It is your typical mall cinema but could use some improvements. Finding the toilet seemed an adventure in itself and nearly slipping on a pool of water wasn’t great. We tried to buy popcorn and was ignored by the staff who served another customer before us, despite it being obvious we had been waiting longer. We left without buying. There is also a ‘TGV’ at Gurney Paragon mall.
‘GSC Gurney Plaza’ (map) is located on the top floor of the Gurney Plaza (not the Paragon). This was a better experience though you might want to take some ear plugs as the volume of the trailers/adverts is unbelievably loud. Thankfully, the movie itself was more bearable.
A nice area in which you can view the old villages of Chinese houses on stilts in the waters. Explore the jetties, which are filled with souvenir shops and food stalls, and look across the water towards Butterworth. There is a Chinese temple which is definitely worth visiting as the route takes you right through the small community. Map.
They certainly like durian in George Town. As well as the numerous durian restaurants across the city, where you can buy whole durian and sit and eat it with free gloves, you will come across it in many forms: candy, dried, nougat, Portuguese tart, ice-cream, latte, pie, cream puffs, pancakes, cendal and so on.
We tried some durian from ‘Shun Li Fruit House’ (map) which was very soft and creamy. It was the most expensive available (35 MYR) for 3 pieces as it was supposed to be Musang King durian. Reading online, this was supposed to have small seeds but ours were quite large. Apparently, the government hopes to introduce QR codes to durian so people know what they are buying. This will certainly help people like us who know very little about durian types.
You are not short of choice in George Town when it comes to museums. This is the one that grabbed my attention more than any other. As you walk around, you will see various displays featuring mannequins. Each display tells a diffferent Malay horror folk story. There are English translations for each of the stories but they could be improved. You can try on clothes and become part of the scenes. There is also a new floor dedicated to zombies. There are no live actors in this museum. Map.
As you walk around George Town, you will notice there is plenty of choice when it comes to drinking establishments. But what of the ones you don’t see? In George Town, there are a number of these hidden bars, or ‘speakeasies’. These places can only be discovered if you KNOW about them. You may well be stood outside a glamorous Chinese style cocktail bar and not even know it!
The problem with these places is they are not friendly to a travellers’ budget. That didn’t stop us from having a look though. We visited three in one evening, pretending to check out the menu for a possible future visit! Click here for a list of the bars. For further information on how to get in, check out reviews on Google Maps.
This old bus station now serves as a showcase for some great street art and sculptures. There are cafes and quirky art and craft shops located within and it also hosts a Sunday market. We also attended a curry festival as part of the Penang International Food Festival 2019. Definitely worth checking out. Map.
The museum was empty when we visited. In fact, the receptionist seemed surprised to see us! It is only 10 MYR to visit. It’s not the most interesting museum and I’m not sure how many tourists bother coming here. Map.
You’ll know when you arrive in ‘Little India’ as the atmosphere changes immediately. Suddenly, the air is filled with the smell of spices and incense and the sound of loud Bollywood music coming from many of the shops.
Obviously, food is one of the main attractions of this part of town and here you will find samosas for less than 1 MYR, all kinds of curries, Indian sweets and many vegetarian restaurants. It is a truly vibrant, colourful part of George Town and not to be missed. Map.
Having already been in George Town for 10 days, we decided it was time to visit Penang Hill. We wanted to take the funicular but also felt this was a good opportunity to do some hiking. Logic would suggest that taking the train up the hill and hiking back down would be easier. Maybe that’s why Joanna wanted to hike up and catch the train back down!
After probably not the best breakfast to have immediately before a hike (chicken drumstick and biryani rice) from a local restaurant, we set off on the first part of the journey. We followed the route to the middle station from this website.
Almost immediately, we came across some interesting flowers and even saw durian trees with little baby durian growing.
After around 90 minutes of almost constant uphill hiking, we reached the middle station. It was a tough hike in the Malaysian heat, but we managed it. The views were already stunning.
If you hiking all the way to the top of Penang Hill, make sure you bring plenty of water. We expected to find a shop at the halfway point but there was nothing at all. We’d already guzzled down 2 litres of water each on the hike to the middle point. We had to do the second part without water.
We did find a website that gave info on the second part of the hike but it was already out of date from the first direction so we set off hoping it would be obvious. For the most part, it was. Keep going up.
At the top of these steps, we came across a barking dog. We knew to expect this and as we kept walking, he moved away. What we were not expecting was to walk into a pack of around 6 other dogs, also barking at us. They were protecting the farm and simply making us unaware that they knew we were there so we were not afraid. A couple did come a little too close for comfort though but a stamp of my foot made them scarper.
The path then turned into jungle and this is where we came across some massive ants and other strange bugs. We saw some massive monkeys too so had to keep hold of our possessions.
The trek was getting quite tiring by this point. Occasionally, a funicular would pass us as a reminder of how easy it could have been.
After just over an hour, we finally made it to the top. It had taken us nearly 3 hours in total, including rest stops. We were rewarded with a spectacular view over George Town.
We found the actual resort at the top of the hill to be a little disappointing. We were not up there long. We visited the mosque, the toy and zombie museum, saw the biggest spider on our travels yet, had a smoothie, and then took the funicular back down the hill which took all of 4 minutes! It cost 15 MYR one way.
If you are able-bodied, I would recommend hiking your way up Penang Hill. The sense of achievement is more rewarding than the resort itself.
I came across this place by accident on Google Maps whilst looking for something else! They need to work on their promotion as they are tucked away on the fourth floor of a mall with no passing custom. It’s not well known and when we visited, there had been one visitor all day.
Which is a shame as it is an interesting museum. Focusing on the music scene in Penang, predominantly from the 30s to the 60s, the museum is also busy archiving a lot of the material from this time before it is lost for good.
There are a lot of interactive elements in the museum. You can play a number of instruments, enjoy a virtual reality performance and even record your own radio show with the option of uploading it to the internet so you can listen back at home.
We had a free guide who gave us more information than the displays. Overall, it was an enjoyable and educational experience. Map.
We were very fortunate as our second week in George Town coincided with the start of the annual ‘Penang International Food Festival’. For the opening, many of the local restaurants participated in a street food festival for two days. A number of streets near ‘Little India’ were occupied by street vendors selling delicious food through the night. It was very busy and it was refreshing to see that the vendors did not increase their prices for the festival. You could get great food for cheap here, just as you can anywhere else in the city. Between us, we ate Chinese fried pork, spit-roasted lamb, laksa, chicken fried in prawn sauce, spring rolls and vegan bao. We also visited a small curry festival and a ‘food photo’ exhibition. Check the PIFF website for more information.
Located all over the city are these steel monuments giving information on George Town’s history. There are 52 in total and they are a great way to explore the streets and back-alleys of this incredible town. Look out for the ‘Penang: Marking George Town’ leaflet for a map marking all the locations, or download a copy here.
George Town is known for its street art and with good reason. When you first arrive in the old town, you will find yourself checking the side of every building so not to miss any. There are some huge pieces of street art, some smaller but more well known and some street art so hidden, most people don’t even know its there. The ‘Penang: Marking George Town’ leaflet has the locations of the more famous pieces (download a copy here) but there are many more to be found. Keep your eyes peeled!
This temple is well known for its huge reclining Buddha guarded at the entrance by two mosaic dragons. Free admission. Usual temple rules apply.
A fun museum that gives information on local food; describing the ingredients and history of the dishes and giving visitors the opportunity to dress up and take photos with the very convincing fake food. You will be given the option of having a photographer walk around with you so you can buy the photos at the end. We opted to take our own pics. Entertaining and educational. Map.
From our very first night, we knew that we had made a good choice using George Town as a place to take a break from constantly moving. The old town is beautiful and the street art adds to its charm. The food is excellent and there is so much to choose from. And it’s cheap, with meals starting from around 5 MYR.
George Town is a popular place for travellers. Every night we went for drinks at ‘Antarabangsa’, we met with people that were passing through, and others that came to George Town many years ago and kept on coming back. It truly is an amazing place to visit and should be on any South East Asian itinerary.
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George Town has a reputation as being one of Asia’s best street food cities. Because of its multicultural population, you will find many dishes here that are unique to the... Read more » The post George Town Ultimate Food And Drink Guide 2020 appeared first on Global Treats - Budget Travel in Southeast Asia and...
The food in George Town, Penang is wonderfully affordable. You can get a full meal for about 5 MYR. Check out the ‘nasi kandar’ restaurants; self-service food where you help yourself to rice and pile it up with the many dishes on offer. Some information on local dishes and where to find them can be found here.
Alcohol is heavily taxed in Malaysia so this is where your budget might take a hit. There are many bars, particularly in the old town, but don’t expect Cambodia or Vietnam (or even Thailand) prices. Small beers can cost anything from 5 to 25 MYR. Because of this, we mostly stayed in the cheapest bars we could find. There are many bars in and around the old town, particularly on Love Lane and Chulia Street. There are also the hidden, speakeasy bars if you fancy something a little more adventurious.
You cannot come to George Town without spending at least one night getting drunk here. Try to choose a night where it doesn’t rain! Antarabangsa Enterprise is basically an off license selling non-taxed alcohol (probably illegally) and providing plastic tables and chairs so people can sit outside in the road and get drunk. It has been this way for some time so the local police obviously turn a blind eye. It gets very busy so you basically sit where you can, but wherever you sit, it won’t be long before you are chatting with locals or fellow travellers who, like you, have come here for the cheap beer.
Beers start at 4 MYR. They are never the coldest because as soon as they are put in the fridge, they are gone! They are only small cans though, so you don’t have them for long. Ice is available and there are also toilets in the back of the shop. On certain nights, you will be entertained by fire dancers and even live music in the streets. It’s cheap, it’s a bit dirty, and we loved it. Map.
|I came here a couple of times when I wanted some beers closer to our hotel. Whilst not as cheap as ‘Antarabangsa’ or ‘Betel Nut’, the prices are decent here. My research showed beers were 5 MYR. On arrival, I discovered 2 menus at the bar. One showed a happy hour price of 5.8 MYR for a beer, the other showed 10 MYR. I decided to buy a beer and take it from there as to whether I would stay. The beer was 6.15 MYR! It went up to 7.2 MYR after 8 pm. It’s a popular choice, mainly with locals but it also gets a fair share of tourists. Map.
When searching for ‘cheap beer in George Town’, this place did not come up. Despite its location (opposite the top of Love Lane), this place seems more popular with locals. It became my number one place for a drink as the staff were friendly, it was a great place to sit and watch the busy streets and, most importantly, the beer was cold and cheap! Only 5 MYR for a can of Skol. Even Antarabangsa put their prices up to 5 MYR and their beer is not cold and they don’t have the luxury of being covered when it rains (and it rains heavily in George Town). A great little bar with super prices. Map.
Located in, and serving as the entrance to, the ‘Hin Bus Depot’ is this modern hipster cafe. Good coffee at reasonable prices and free WiFi. The bus depot is a cool place to visit and this is a great place to enjoy a drink. Map.
Joanna had been craving a ‘Linda McCartney’ style veggie burger and we thought we might have found it when we came across this restaurant, if the picture was anything to go by. Unfortunately, it was not and the veggie burger was poor; it didn’t even hold its shape and fell apart after a couple of bites. My beef burger was slightly better but was covered in a cheese sauce that made it very sickly. They give you a feedback form after you have eaten so maybe improvements will be made. Map.
I have to mention this street food vendor as the chick peas and sweetcorn gave Joanna incredible amounts of pleasure! The corn was my favourite: taken from the cob, with melted butter and salt. They were delicious! Map.
We came to ‘The Canteen’ for live music but decided against it when we discovered the live music was a guy with a guitar playing James Blunt and the beer was 19 MYR. We returned a couple of days later to discover that China House is a collection of cafes, shops and galleries in Penang’s longest shop (100 metres long). It’s a very quirky environment. You can enter on one street and exit on another. Map.
Nasi Kandar style restaurant with one difference: everything is vegetarian. With some of the dishes you won’t believe you are not eating meat as the seitan meat substitute is so convincing. I had a veggie chicken drumstick with a lollipop stick as the bone! They even do a veggie fish head soup!
Joanna had already eaten here a number of times before I visited. After trying the food, I returned the next day. A must-visit. Map.
We visited this juice stand/shop after a sweaty day wandering the streets of George Town finding the remaining steel rod art pieces. We both had a lychee and lime ice drink and it was delicious! The shop sells fruit-themed clothes and accessories. Map.
The food in George Town is amazing but I was a little underwhelmed by the night markets which I thought were not as impressive as the ones in Thailand. This market was also a disappointment. I was expecting so much more. Most of it was closed; I’m not sure if this was permanent or just on the day I visited. Not worth travelling out of George Town for. Map.
Wanting a change from Malaysian food for breakfast, we came across this cafe and noticed they did western breakfasts. Their ‘English breakfast’ was a decent effort and the coffee was good. Map.
This was opposite our hotel and I noticed one of their specialities was ‘mutton shepherd’s pie’. The restaurant has been open for many years so I decided to give it a try. The shepherd’s pie seemed to have a chicken base and had generous pieces of mutton. It wasn’t really a shepherd’s pie but it was still tasty. Watch out for the bone though! Map.
This was the first place we visited for food. I was a little underwhelmed at first; I was expecting a whole street of street food vendors. There are a small number of street food vendors, some restaurants and a food court. There is some great food to be found here at cheap prices. I ate at three different places here and had pork curry, pork satay and chicken leg. There is also a vegetarian restaurant that Joanna gave a thumbs up. You will also find durian sellers in the evening. Map.
We came here for coffee and ended up taking advantage of their lunch offer which included ‘soup of the day’, a ‘main’ and a hot drink for just 15 MYR. The coffee was good and the food was ok. It’s a nice, chilled-out place. Map.
Basically, a street of bars and obviously filled with tourists. The bars try to outdo each other with their happy hour deals. The cheapest we could see was 2 small beers for 15 MYR. Once the happy hour was over, it was 15 MYR each.
A number of the bars offer live music and they always seemed busy and a good place to meet people. However, we had found our go-to places for cheap beer so we skipped Love Lane. Map.
Middle-eastern restaurant selling falafel, kebab, hummus and other tasty treats. Be careful of the ‘vegan’ menu; last time I checked, feta cheese was not vegan. The shawerma wrap plate was great value. Map.
We came here for breakfast one day as it was situated near our hotel. It’s a typical cheap, Malaysian restaurant so we were surprised to discover it is part of a chain. The food was delicious. Map.
This was one of the places we’d heard about before our arrival. Similarly to Kimberley Street, I was underwhelmed by this night market. Unlike Kimberley Street, I didn’t eat here once. There is so much great, cheap food all over George Town, the night markets didn’t seem to offer anything different. Map.
A modern food court offering food from many regions of South East Asia. Order your food at any of the stalls and they will bring it to your table where you pay. I had roasted duck and pork belly with rice and a soup for 7 MYR. We also tried out the local desserts ‘Ais Kacang’ and ‘Cendol’ here. Map.
I came here one night when my usual cheaper haunts had closed. The cheapest beer is 12 MYR. They have offers where ‘ladies’ drink free. What makes this place special is the food. They have a couple of street food vendors in front of the bar and we tried the falafel after hearing good reports. It was probably the best takeaway falafel I’ve ever had. They offer free tastes as you walk past, showing confidence in their food. For just 10 MYR, treat yourself to a falafel wrap. You won’t regret it! Map.
A popular food court with vendors selling food from all over South East Asia and beyond. You can buy alcohol here and they also have live music meaning you can spend the whole night here, happily ordering more food to soak up the booze! Joanna had a spicy laksa and an oyster omelette and I had some of the best pork I’d had on the trip so far! Map.
A very popular restaurant with locals which is usually a good sign. It’s a little confusing when entering as to how you actually order food as there is a lot of activity with some people collecting their own food, nasi kandar style and others choosing from the menu and ordering from one of the many waiters. In the end, I decided to sit and see what happened. In no time, a waiter took my order and the food was on the table in about a minute. I had a mutton curry which was deliciously spicy and came served with rice and a spinach side dish. When it came to paying the waiter wrote 8 MYR on a bill and then the cashier charged me 8.50. I don’t think there was anything on the menu costing as much as 8 so I suspect they might have added on their own tourist tax. Map.
I was looking for the best tandoori chicken in George Town and this place kept getting mentioned on review sites. We were not expecting a big restaurant and we thought it might be expensive. It turned out to be reasonably priced; my tandoori set was 12 MYR. The tandoori chicken was tender and juicy and came with garlic naan, 2 dips and onion. Map.
Located in the heart of ‘Little India’ where you are never short on choice for food, you could do a lot worse than visiting this restaurant. What it lacks in decor, it makes up for in flavour. Unfortunately, they had no mutton left when we visited but the chicken curry (there are a few different curries and I had no idea what any of them were) was nice and spicy. Map.
Excellent coffee shop serving delicious pastries, good panini and, most importantly, delicious coffee. They roast their own beans on the premises and the staff are more than happy to discuss their coffee with you. They explained to us that they go for the stronger, darker roast and if you prefer it lighter, they have another shop. Here though, you get it strong! Just the way I like it. As good as any coffee I’ve had in South East Asia. Map.
Joanna wanted a ‘hipster breakfast’ and so our research led us to ‘Urban Daybreak’. It seemed nice on entry and it was busy too. We had to take a six-seat table upstairs aas it was the only one available. We placed our order and was then told there would be a half hour wait for food as they were so busy. Our coffees would arrive straight away so this wasn’t a problem. Maybe some water would have been nice at this point.
We were then told we were being moved downstairs as a two-seat table had become available. Some people might have got a bit annoyed by this but it didn’t bother us. What let this place down was the food. Joanna ordered avocado and eggs and the eggs were not properly cooked. My ‘slow-cooked pulled beef in tomato stew sandwich” was basically a chilli on bread. Fried bread at that, meaning it was incredibly greasy.
Come here for the coffee, which was very nice, but skip the food. Map.
Located next to the poopular ‘Line Clear’ restaurant, I had walked past this restaurant many times and always stopped to look at their nasi kandar. Finally, on the last day, I decided to give them a try. I opted for the tandoori chicken set which was identical to the one I had in ‘little India’. This one was better though. The chicken was more moist and the chicken was better spiced. Map.
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Top 10 Hostels In Chiang Mai After spending time in the capital city of Bangkok, a trip to Chiang Mai offers a cleaner, more laidback alternative. The heart of the... Read more » The post 10 Best Hostels In Chiang Mai appeared first on Global Treats - Budget Travel in Southeast Asia and...
After spending time in the capital city of Bangkok, a trip to Chiang Mai offers a cleaner, more laidback alternative. The heart of the city is easily navigated by foot and the area is surrounded by mountains and rainforests.
These are the best hostels to stay in Chiang Mai according to user reviews on booking.com:
For our first week in Chiang Mai, we chose to stay at ‘LoveCNX Guesthouse’. This is ideally located in the old town on a road with many bars and restaurants, a 7-11 bang opposite and within easy walking distance to all of the main street markets. As we arrived earlier than the hostel reception opening time, we chose to have some breakfast in ‘Diva Guesthouse’ which is next door. The staff there were very welcoming and the Thai omelette and rice was very good. They allowed us to sit and relax in their restaurant lounge until our guesthouse opened (half an hour later than advertised).
Love CNX Guesthouse had been perhaps our favourite hostel so far on the trip. The room was a good size, the wifi was good, the shower was more than adequate and we finally had a nice, comfy bed with good pillows! The aircon was very powerful and they had a breakfast area that provided free water/coffee/tea. There was also a rooftop terrace to relax on. The staff were very helpful and welcoming. I highly recommend this hostel if you are staying in Chiang Mai.
Following a few days in Chiang Rai, we returned to Chiang Mai to stay at a hostel called ‘Like Home‘. Situated just outside the old town, we immediately felt like we were entering a small community on arrival. Everything seemed at a slower pace than in the old town, which is literally only a few minutes walk away. We were greeted by Nuy, the owner of the hostel, who explained that breakfast, dinner, laundry, water, bicycle rental and even transfers to the train or bus station were all included in the price! We couldn’t believe it!
Our room was not in the actual hostel but two minutes walk away in a place called ‘Winner Hotel’ in which Nuy has bought some rooms. Winner Hotel has the feeling of a hotel that is past its best. It desperately needs a bit of an update. It seems Nuy has taken advantage of this by buying rooms from them and offering them at a much lower rate than the hotel itself. The room was fine; a little dark and shabby but certainly good enough for us on our budget.
Each morning, we walked down to the hostel and had omelette, toast, salad and coffee to set us up for the day. Each evening, Nuy would provide food for all her guests; usually around 4 dishes to choose from and always a vegetarian option (vegan on request).
What I really liked about ‘Like Home’ is the social aspect which is what makes a good hostel, in my opinion. People are encouraged to eat together and you can buy beer from the shop next door and sit outside and socialise. It seemed there was no reason to go into the old town! Nuy is like the mother to all her guests! She will help you out with everything. We asked if she could get us a deal on a local cooking class, just on the off chance, and she got us in, even though it was full, and with 20% off the usual price! She really was a wonderful host and I can not recommend her hostel enough. People come here for a night and stay for weeks!
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A day trip to Szentendre is the perfect escape from the busy city of Budapest. Situated on the Danube River, just north of Budapest, the picturesque town of Szentendre is... Read more » The post A Day Trip To Szentendre appeared first on Global Treats - Budget Travel in Southeast Asia and...
If you are seeking a break from busy Budapest, a day trip to Szentendre is your best option. It takes less than an hour by train and is a great option for those wishing to experience a real old Hungarian town.
If you are visiting between the months of May and September, you might want to take the boat from Budapest to Szentendre. The boat leaves from Pier 11 (on the Pest side of the Danube), close to the Elisabeth Bridge. The boat takes around 2 hours and offers stunning views of the riverside buildings. The return boat departs at 4.40 pm.
If you’re not seeking a romantic journey, the train is the cheapest and easiest option. Simply take the HEV train from Batthyány tér, which is on the red metro line. The trains are quite frequent so you can just turn up and not have to wait too long. Google Maps will give you accurate times. You need to buy two tickets for each single journey and only stamp the ‘extension’ ticket. It was a a little confusing but no-one checked my tickets anyway.
I only spent a day in Szentendre but if you wish to stay longer, there are a number of hotels in the area. These are the best hotels, according to user reviews on booking.com:
The train station is a short walk outside the town centre. Get off the train and turn left. You won’t miss the town centre as everyone will be heading there. After a 5 minute walk, the town will begin to reveal itself.
I had not eaten anything up to this point and was very hungry. I had heard about a place that apparently sold the best langos. Langos is a traditional deep fried bread that can be served with savoury or sweet toppings. ‘Álomlángos‘ (map) is located up an alley from the main square and came very highly rated for this traditional snack.
I opted for the sweet version with came with jam. It was delicious. It would have been perfect with coffee but I would have to wait a while longer before I enjoyed my caffeine fix.
I was really enjoying walking aimlessly around the town centre. I was expecting it to be quaint but I don’t think I imagined it to be quite so beautiful.
I decided that I needed my coffee fix before I continued to explore the town and check out some of its many museums. Google Maps gave me a couple of options and my preferred choice was closed so I had to walk back to the other side of town. As the town is so small, it only took a few minutes to reach ‘Kedves Kávézó‘ (map). I had a very nice coffee served by a very pretty lady; I was having a good day.
Following my coffee, I headed up to the grounds of ‘Saint John the Baptist’s Parish Church‘ (map). The church was not open to the public but it did offer good views over the town below.
Making my way back down into the town, I came across an outdoor gallery of photos of whom I figured was a bit of a local character who enjoys a good nap in various locations around the town. The gallery was called ‘Extreme Sleeping’.
I continued my exploration of the town, trying not to miss a single street.
There are many museums and galleries in Szentendre and my first visit was to the ‘Micro Wonder Museum’ (map). The museum is a collection of Mykola Syadristy, the master of microminiatures. The museum is small but worth a visit. The staff gave me a full explanation of the artist’s work before letting me view his work with microscopes. The detail on his work is incredible when you take into account how incredible tiny the pieces are. I had seen the world’s biggest book in Myanmar and now I have seen the world’s smallest book too!
I headed to my next museum stop, still in awe of the town’s beauty.
The ‘Retro Design Center’ (map) is located just outside the town center but is well worth a visit. The museum is filled with memorabilia from over the decades. There are old vehicles outside the museum and you can even sit in some of them. You can easily spend over an hour here. The staff were friendly, as were the Hungarian tourists who seemed shocked by the presence of an Englishman!
After my visit to the retro museum, I headed outside the town to explore the residential area which turned out to be just as pretty as the town centre.
After I had explored the residential area, I headed back into the town centre for my final visit: ‘Szentendre Marzipan Museum‘ (map). I have no interest in marzipan. I don’t even particularly like the stuff. The great thing about travel is discovering things outside your interests. That was definitely the case here. All the sculptures on display, and there are a lot of them, are made entirely of marzipan! Each sculpture comes with information on its creator, date, the amount of marzipan used. The most useful piece of information though, had to be the ‘materials’, as they were all made of 100% marzipan!
A day trip to Szentendre is a wonderful way to experience Hungarian life away from the busy tourist city of Budapest. I thoroughly loved my time there as it is such a beautiful Hungarian town. It can easily be enjoyed as a day trip but there are plenty of museums and galleries to justify a longer visit. The town has many restaurants so you can experience authentic, traditional Hungarian food in the quaintest of surroundings. If you are spending a few days in Budapest, try to include this picturesque town in your itinerary.
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How to visit Glasgow on a budget and experience a vibrant city offering world-class shopping, arts, culture, architecture and some incredible street art. Less touristy than Edinburgh, it is a... Read more » The post Visit Glasgow on a Budget appeared first on Global Treats - Budget Travel in Southeast Asia and...
Glasgow was to be my final destination on my three-week long travel around Scotland. I had heard people making unnecessary comparisons to Edinburgh with many saying that Glasgow was an ‘edgier’ city with a much better night life and less focus on tourism.
I took a Citylink bus from my previous destination, Oban. The journey took just over 3 hours and costs £14.60. The bus dropped me at Buchanan Station which was an approximately 15 minute walk to my hotel.
Surprisingly, there are hardly any hostels in the city centre of Glasgow. In fact, there were only 2 places offering dorm rooms. Other hostels were quite far outside the centre. This is in complete contrast to Edinburgh where there are many city centre hostels. A first sign, perhaps, that Glasgow is not as touristy as its eastern neighbour.
These are the best hostels in Glasgow, according to user reviews on booking.com:
I had booked a 4 night stay at Safestay Glasgow. I had a mixed experience at this hotel.
First, the positives:
It’s on the west side of Glasgow, about 10 minutes walk to the city centre. There are plenty of bars and restaurants and takeaways in the area. The WiFi was excellent. The beds were comfy and the bedding was changed every day, unusual for a dorm. Each bed has privacy curtains and two plugs and 3 usb charging points per bed. The staff were very friendly and helpful but unfortunately, they had to be!
And now for the negatives:
The place seems to be going under some sort of takeover and is undergoing renovation. It has also has recently become cashless. This caused a lot of problems. First of all, on arrival I asked if there were towels available, only to be told dorms don’t have towels provided. I asked if I could rent one and they said they had to check with management. About an hour passed and I was then told by a girl in my room she was just given a towel for free. I was wanting to go out so I returned to reception who told me they were still waiting to hear from management. Why they couldn’t have just given me a towel, I don’t know.
About 20 minutes later, the reception came and said they would give me a towel for a deposit of £5. I went to reception to sort this out to be then told as they were cashless they didn’t want the deposit. I then got given 2 huge towels. One of them was taken away by the cleaners the next day and not replaced meaning I had to tell reception to tell the cleaners not to take my remaining towel as they were now charging £2.
The key system is a joke. You get given a card and mine didn’t work a single time during my stay. This meant I had to return downstairs to the reception area EVERY TIME!
There are no facilities that you might expect in a dorm such as common area, laundry options, kitchen. It’s basically a single dorm room in a hotel. 10 beds and one bathroom. The cleaners left a single use bottle of shower gel each day. For 10 people!
As I already mentioned, the place is going under some kind of transition so there are a LOT of teething problems. But apart from that, my stay was a comfortable one, despite the inconveniences. It’s the cheapest place in Glasgow so I suppose you have to take that into consideration.
Whether it’s world-class museums and art galleries or street art and live music, Glasgow has it all! Don’t restrict your visit to the city centre. The west side is very bohemian with numerous independent stores, coffee shops and cafes. Over on the east you will find more historical places such as the cathedral and the necropolis.
Fast food restaurant around the corner from the popular Garage nightclub. I came here on the first night and had a fantastic lamb tikka kebab. The next day I had a shawarma kebab which didn’t quite have the same wow factor. They do pizza, burgers, curries, kebabs and all the food is freshly made. For a fast food takeaway, this is a good option. Map.
A small but charming Italian coffee shop located in Glasgow’s west side. The coffee is good and they also offer a selection of pastries and sandwiches. Buy 10 coffees to get a free takeaway cup and 20p off all drinks. Map.
Ashton Lane is a cobbled street in west Glasgow filled with bars, restaurants and a cinema. With fairy lights twinkling above, this cute street is entirely dedicated to to eating, drinking and having fun. Map.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens is a beautiful 27 acre park in the west side of Glasgow. If you like squirrels, you’re in for a treat as there are dozens of them roaming the park. Visit Kibble Palace, a large, historical greenhouse with plants from all over the world. Map.
To the south of the Glasgow Necropolis, there are three breweries. Two of them, Tennents (map) and Wellpark (map) offer tasting tours whilst the third, Drygate (map) has a craft beer bar. I didn’t visit the tours but I did enjoy the street art on the outside of Tennents brewery.
I came across this whilst on the street art trail. It has long stopped providing drinking water but Glasgow’s ‘leaning tower of Pisa’ does have an amusing story. It’s known locally as the ‘drunk fountain’ because of the way it leans. What is even more amusing is the fact it was built in honour of one of the city’s most active Temperance Movement campaigners, Sir Charles Cameron. Map.
Although most of the galleries were closed on my visit, it was still worth a visit to this interesting Victorian building with a cafe at its heart. As well as art exhibitions, there are also occasional live concerts and a cinema. Check http://www.cca-glasgow.com/programme for more info. Map.
Why is the Duke of Wellington statue one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 most bizarre monuments on earth? The statue, located outside the museum of modern art was erected in 1844 but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it become an iconic monument in Glasgow. People came into the city centre to discover a traffic cone on the Duke’s head. More than likely the work of a drunk student, it was removed but then kept re-appearing. The council planned to make the monument harder to climb at a cost of £65,000 but a Facebook petition forced them to back down and the statue now stands as a display of the Glaswegian sense of humour. Map.
Another free gallery in the heart of the city, the Gallery Of Modern Art offers permanent and temporary exhibitions and occasional events. The gallery addresses social issues through its exhibitions; when I visited, there was an exhibition related to gay male culture in 1970s San Fransisco. Map.
George Square is is Glasgow’s main square and is the location for many events throughout the year. The square was named for King George III and there are many statues of notable Scots. The Glasgow City Chambers are situated on the square’s east side. Map.
The oldest cathedral in Scotland and oldest building in Glasgow, it was a place of pilgrimage as it holds the tomb of Saint Mungo, the apostle that brought Christianity to Scotland. The cathedral is visually stunning, both outside and inside. Map.
Located to the rear of the Cathedral, the necropolis is the resting place to over 50,000 people. As was usual at the time, only a small amount of the dead were named on a monument or were given a headstone. The necropolis offers great views over the city and f the cathedral in particular. Map.
I was a little concerned that this was a Wetherspoons pub when I saw the menus. After some research, I discovered to my relief it was not a Wetherspoon. I refuse to give any money to that godawful pub chain. I came here for a mid-afternoon beer and found it friendly, quite busy and, most importantly, the beer was good. Map.
Free art gallery in the university buildings, the Hunterian Art Gallery is part of the Hunterian Museum: Scotland’s oldest museum. It is quite a large gallery containing work by Rubens, Rembrandt and the Scottish Colourists and Glasgow Boys. Opposite the museum is the Fraser Building Restaurant which is open to the public. It’s mainly frequented by students but it is a good place to get a decent, cheap meal. Map.
A must-visit when in Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is located in the Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s West Side. With over a million artefacts and free admission, the museum hosts an impressive collection of Scottish and international art and many interactive displays. The building itself is worth a visit on its own. There are 22 galleries with everything from art to animals and work from Dali, Van Gogh and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Map.
Very cool bar with a young clientele. There is live music and a club night every day of the week. They also have a Japanese food menu that offers many vegan dishes. The music is excellent; they played some classic rarities on the nights I visited. It was my favourite bar in Glasgow. Map.
Pizza takeaway and delivery with some tables inside for casual eating. I visited here for lunch as you are able to buy by the slice (£3 each). The pizza was already made and warmed up for me but it was delicious. It’s a popular choice in Glasgow where there are hundreds of places to buy pizza. Map.
Cool bar with a chilled vibe. They also have mixed media events every night. I enjoyed having a drink here. It’s slightly hipster but not pretentious. It’s easy to forget you are in a city centre bar. Map.
People’s Palace is a free museum displaying exhibits relating to Glasgow’s industrial and recent past. It is a fun museum and the information isn’t overpowering meaning it is suitable for younger visitors. The history is presented by artifacts, paintings, prints and photographs, film and interactive computer displays. Outside the museum, on Glasgow Green, is the Doulton Fountain. Map.
Designed to help the public and serve as a mini-station, the boxes found fame due to the British sci-fi series, Doctor Who. There are only 4 left; this one is located near the cathedral gardens and is now a coffee shop! For more info, visit http://www.discoverglasgow.org/police-box-walk-02/4578988612
I walked by this church as I was on the street art trail. I almost walked on but then decided to take a look inside. I’m glad I did as it is a beautiful church. Map.
Italian cafe serving homemade sandwiches, soups, pizzas and salads. The coffee is good and the vibe of the cafe is very chilled. A friendly, warm welcome sets the tone on arrival. Map.
In the heart of Nelson Mandela Place is St George’s Tron, a Christian Church whose mission is to feed the needy of Glasgow. The church acts as a cafe during daytimes when there is no service and they provide free food for those in need. Located to the rear of the church is the ‘Homeless Jesus’ sculpture. Map.
Housed in a castle-like building, the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art has religious art and artefacts spanning centuries. It covers all the major religions and its aim is to bring understanding and tolerance between different religions and people of no faith. It is free to enter and there are some very interesting pieces of art and artifacts. Map.
A traditional pub serving many cask ales and craft beers. Friendly staff who were happy to serve me after I had been refused entrance to Howlin’ Wolf for having trousers that were too funky. Good prices. Map.
When it comes to street art, Glasgow beats Edinburgh by miles! There is so much of it and, for your convenience, there is a street art trail with map at https://www.citycentremuraltrail.co.uk/. The map is a bit strange in places so you don’t have to follow it exactly. There are a couple of pieces of art that have since disappeared. It is a great way to explore all of Glasgow’s best art and get around the whole of the city centre.
Tchai-Ovna House of Tea is a charming tea-house near the River Kelvin. Serving over 80 types of tea, shisha and vegetarian food, this is a real quirky, off-the-beaten-track, hidden treat. I had a caramel tea for £3.20 which was delicious and served me 4 cups. Highly recommended. Map.
Whilst it might not be the most obvious tourist attraction, the University of Glasgow is definitely worth a visit. The building looks like Hogwarts so Harry Potter fans will love it (even though none of the movies were filmed here). The grounds are open to non-students and there are a number of free museums and art galleries to visit. Map.
It’s wrong to compare Glasgow and Edinburgh, as if there has to be a winner or you have to choose for some reason. They are both wonderful cities, in my opinion. Glasgow feels less touristy and a little livelier with a much busier nightlife.
Glasgow is a vibrant, exciting city with something for everyone. I loved the time I spent here and would highly recommend it to other thrill-seeking travellers.
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Visit Oban, known as both the ‘gateway to the isles’ and the ‘seafood capital of Scotland’, to experience a charming resort town filled with pubs, fish and chip shops and... Read more » The post Visit Oban appeared first on Global Treats - Budget Travel in Southeast Asia and...
The bus dropped me at the bus station located in the heart of the town. I had a bit of time to kill before check in and I had yet to have my daily coffee. A minute walk from the bus station, I found ‘Cafe Shore’ (map) which fulfilled my coffee requirements and was a relaxing place to escape the rain, which was becoming quite heavy.
After finishing my coffee, there was a break in the rain so I decided to head towards my accommodation.
These are the best hostels to stay in Oban according to user reviews on booking.com:
I had booked a stay at Corran House Hostel (map) as it was in a good location and reasonably priced. It’s more of a hotel than a hostel; I think there was only one dorm room and all the other rooms were private.
Check-in was a little confusing. I had to go down to the bar first to let them know I’d arrived before returning back to the reception. They asked for money even though I’d already paid. They were unsure if they’d take another payment and asked me to keep an eye on my bank statement.
I eventually made it to my dorm. I had been given the top bunk despite requesting the bottom, which was empty, so I had to return to reception and they made the change. The room was clean and the beds comfortable with charging points shared. The window looked straight out over the bay of Oban. I checked the WiFi and it was very good meaning I could upload my vlogs!
The bathroom was cleaned every day and everything worked well. It even had a bath but I didn’t take advantage.
The kitchen area was excellent: two cookers, two microwaves, two big fridges, three toasters and every utensil you could ever need.
Underneath the hotel is ‘Markie Dans’, a lively pub with a good selection of whisky and live music.
I had a great stay at this hotel. It felt like it should have been more expensive than it was. It is in a great location and the facilities are excellent. It’s a great base to explore Oban.
As Oban is referred to as the ‘gateway to the isles’, the most obvious activity would be to get a boat to one or more of the many isles that are accessible from the town. There are also public boats that leave regularly to the Isle of Mull so check those out first as they will be much cheaper than the tour boats. Unfortunately, due to the weather and a lack of time and funds, I only spent my time in the town itself.
On entrance, it looks a little upmarket and I was concerned how much a coffee would cost me! Thankfully, the coffee was more than reasonably priced and was enjoyable too. The staff were friendly and I enjoyed the table by the window, watching out towards the docks. Modern, clean but well priced. Map.
Located near the Dunollie Castle is this interesting stone formation. The local legend is that Fingal, the ancient heroic warrior of Celtic mythology, would chain his dog Bran to the stone. As the dog circled and struggled, it created a groove around the base of the stone. Locals claim you can still hear its ghostly howls. Map.
A short walk north up the coast brings you to Dunollie Castle. The ruins and woodlands of the Clan MacDougall home are now home to a museum, gift shop & cafe. Check http://dunollie.org for opening times as it is only open for part of the year. Map.
Located a 40 minute walk north of Oban is Ganavan Sands. It’s a nice, clean beach that offers great views of the sunset over the Isle of Mull. On my visit, it was very rainy and there was no chance of catching a sunset! Map.
Julie’s Coffee House is a charming cafe selling homemade sandwiches, soups and cakes. The coffee was good and it was a very friendly place to enjoy a good coffee and escape the rain. Map.
McCaig’s Tower is an open stone tower built in the late 19th century. It has an inner garden and offers the best views over Oban Bay. John McCaig buit it as a monument to himself and his family. He employed local people only when they were unemployed. Free admission. Map.
On Oban’s main street, there are three fish and chip restaurants/takeaways all with identical prices and menus. ‘Oban Fish & Chip Shop’ (map) proudly displays celebrity chef Rick Stein’s endorsement “The best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted” in its window. Obviously, this attracts tourists and the fish and chip shop just down the road have used the same endorsement to try and trick visitors. It appears that the Rick Stein quote was for Oban Fish and Chip Shop and not naughty ‘Nories’.
I took a takeaway back to the hotel: small cod and chips for £7.20. There really is no need to buy large as the small portion is plenty.
The food was good but certainly not the best in the UK. The cod was quite flat and the chips were just above average. Maybe ‘Nories’ might have a point after all.
A small museum of local history artifacts & memorabilia. Find out about the McCaig Tower and the history of the town from its formation to the present. Free admission with donations appreciated. Map.
I started and finished my night in ‘Markie Dans’ (map). At the start of the night, people were eating, drinking and playing pool. On my return, the pool table had been removed and a live band had taken its place. It had a young clientele and was probably the liveliest pub in town.
‘Auley’s Bar’ (map) was very busy and filled mainly with locals but no-one battered an eyelid at my presence. No music here, but screens showing sports.
‘The Tartan Tavern’ (map) was a fun place. There was traditional live music on my visit and the locals were singing and dancing. Great fun.
Unless you plan to visit the islands, you don’t need to spend long in Oban as it is a small town. It reminded me of the kind of small, quaint towns you find in Derbyshire such as Matlock and Bakewell. It’s a very pretty place and I enjoyed my short stay here.
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