Budapest: a feast for the eyes, soul and stomach | To travel

The desire to make a long international journey makes us dream of faraway places and peppery people, like the startup founder and the food and lifestyle photographer. Charles Koh from Koh Ventures, with questions about past trips. Prior to COVID-19, Koh took a long work trip to Vienna and took a train to explore nearby Budapest, Hungary.

“Budapest has it all,” he said. “Fairytale architecture, inexpensive drinks and Michelin-starred restaurants.” Unfortunately, the Michelin starred seats were reserved. Do not worry; this foodie plans to return – probably armed with reservations. We caught up with Koh to find out more about this trip.

What sent you on this adventure?

Curiousity – every year, I fly to Vienna, Austria, for a working conference held at the famous The Hofburg Palace, former main imperial palace of the rulers of the Habsburg dynasty. Since I’m already halfway around the world, what better way to discover new sites while you’re at it?

Which airline did you fly?

Delta Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: Seattle to Amsterdam to Vienna, and a train ride to Budapest. Book your flights in advance and you can travel round trip for around $ 850 to $ 900. As a Delta Skymiles member, you will earn approximately 5,384 miles for your points, which will earn you enough points for a local domestic flight. For added convenience, I suggest upgrading or reserving an emergency row seat for more legroom. All of Delta’s international flights come with complimentary inflight entertainment and three meals to make the 14-hour journey easier.

Where did you stay ?

In the heart of Hungary – Budapest. About half the size of Seattle, this majestic city is packed with architecture dating back to the late 1800s. From the Gothic Revival Hungarian Parliament Building to the Neoclassical St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest has preserved these buildings and monuments in well-maintained destinations. To fully experience the city, we stayed at a local Airbnb located a few minutes from the Liberty Bridge which crosses the Danube. Staying at a local house allows you to experience the character of the city and get local recommendations. The prices for a stay in the Budapest area are quite cheap; we were able to book a room for less than $ 40 / per night, much less than Vienna and neighboring countries. Hotels in the area ran a minimum of $ 150 and up, depending on the hotel’s level of luxury.

What was the most surprising about this adventure?

Take a walk or rent a bike and you will be in awe of the amount of architecture that spans the entire city. Around every corner, you’ll see buildings built in the 1800s, taking you back in time.

While Budapest is best known for its architects, geothermal springs, and history, food is also part of the city’s culture. With six Michelin-starred restaurants, there is no shortage of refined and avant-garde culinary experiences. Compared to Seattle with zero Michelin starred restaurants, it’s worth a visit in itself.

Can you tell us a bit about the culture?

The city is full of crumbling bars, where dilapidated buildings have been refurbished into inventive spaces to serve food and drink throughout the city. The interiors are furnished by local artists and modern pieces. The city has become an epicenter of impeccable food among chefs and tourism.

Budapest: festival of eyes, soul and stomach

Budapest: festival of eyes, soul and stomach

Budapest: festival of eyes, soul and stomach

Budapest: festival of eyes, soul and stomach

If others are going, what should they absolutely include in their itinerary?

  1. Fisherman’s Bastion is an absolute must-see, built at the start of the 20th century in a neo-gothic style, specifically to serve as a panoramic viewing platform over the Danube, Margaret Island and Pest.
  2. Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary, is the largest synagogue in Europe.
  3. Budapest has more thermal springs than any other capital in the world, so be sure to experience them while you’re there.
  4. New York cafe, which has been named the most beautiful cafe in the world.
  5. Plan ahead and book a reservation at one of the six Michelin starred restaurants!

What was the best thing about your trip?

Exploration on foot. Every morning we would put on our tennis shoes and go for a run around town and take a ride on the Széchenyi Chain Bridge which spans the Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest. For the longer distances, we rented an electric scooter and drove miles through town to various restaurants and scenic destinations.

Budapest: festival of eyes, soul and stomach

What was the coolest thing (s) you learned on this adventure?

European ATMs are everywhere in Budapest, which makes it very convenient to withdraw money, but the exchange rates are extremely high, so be careful. Check the rates and find an exchange office to save you money.

What didn’t we ask you that we should have? Feel free to share more.

This city is full of some of the top ranked places in the world, from synagogues to bars. Fun fact: Szimpla Kert Café was ranked third best bar in the world and No. 1 in Budapest.

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