Europe Spring 2012 ♥ Transportation around Europe

Saturday, June 02, 2012

After we planned our itinerary and booked the accommodation from booking.com, we were looking for transportation to go around Europe. My initial plan was travel  with train - Eurail was the only one that came into my mind that time.

We checked the train schedule before purchase the ticket. There were some bad news when we went through the schedule which was some of the train start the journey at night and there were many stops before we can reach our destination. Since we have booked our accommodations, it might a waste if we stay overnight in the train; Besides, it also take longer hours to reach a destination and we will spend most of the time in the train. 

After that, we went through the price rate. The price was around RM2,000+ per person for travelling in 5 countries, 15 days within 2 months. It was quite expensive and bf thought of car rental. So we went through some car rental website, the price we found was approximately RM3,000 - RM4,000. Finally, we decided to rent a car instead of buying the expensive train ticket.

Here are the summary for the transportation that help us went around in Europe.

Malaysia Airline - Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam.
Ticket was priced at RM2,800 per person for both way. It was a promo price during Chinese New Year. The price was consider cheap for Malaysia Airlines because it has already included 20kgs baggage check-in, 5kgs for hand carry, 2 meals and unlimited drinks & snacks, personal tv screen with many movies at your own selection, blanket and pillow to make your comfortable in the flight. 

Our flight was 11.55pm (GMT +8) and it took 12 hours to reach Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport.  When we reached Amsterdam, it was 6am (GMT +2). Amsterdam is so beautiful during Spring. 

These were the 2 meals prepared by MAS airline. The first meal (supper) was served after 1 - 2 hours we departed. I have nasi beriani, together with coffee/tea, mineral water, fruits, fresh salmon, butter and bread, chocolate and cheese. 

Second meal (breakfast) was served 2 - 3 hours before we arrive in Amsterdam. I have the western breakfast - sausage with scramble eggs, tomato & mushrooms. There were also butter & bread, cheese, fruits, yoghurt, coffee or tea, plain water, orange juice, and cereal cookies.

There was a map to show you where we were and other informations, such as distance to Amsterdam, distance travelled, local time at Amsterdam, temperature outside etc... 

SIXt Car Rental
This was the car rental company that we rent our car from economybookings.com. We have to pay 10% deposit first when we made booking. After that, we will pay the balance when we take the car. They will required to pay another deposit when you get the car which will refund to you when there is no damages after you return the car.  So, please make sure you have more credits in your credit card. 


OPEL - the car we get from the car rental. 5 seater with big compartments at the back, it fits nicely all our luggages - 3 big luggage, 2 hand carry luggage. It has also integrated GPS that brought convenience to us. We rent the car for 11 days and it cost around RM4,000. 

Actually, the car we booked was Mercedes-Benz. Unfortunately, it was not available at the moment. Thus the staff gave us this car which actually cost more. But they rent to us at no extra cost. We were happy with it and didn't bother to complain much because they already stated on the website that there will no promises that they will rent the exact car you book through online, it depends on the availability. 

Driving in Europe was totally different in Malaysia. The driver seat is on the right and you will need to drive at right lane. The fast lane will be at the left. When we first drove the car, we will keep reminding each other to drive on the right. Anyway, it was a good and great experience. 


Our road trip started from Amsterdam and retuned the car at Vienna, Austria. You can easily find any petrol station on the highway. Each petrol station have different rate for the petrol but not much different. We had spent around 2k+ for petrol. It was much more cheaper compared to the Eurail train ticket. Furthermore, we got the chance to visit small town and other places. 

I always reluctant to get down from the car because it was so windy and cold.

Be careful and alert to the speed that stated on the billboard when you are driving. I'm surprised that all the drivers were following the instructions and no one will break the rules. If you exceed the speed, you will get summon as there are so many cameras there. That's one of the reason why the drives are obeying the speed limit. 

This is the sign of no speed limit after this billboard. All the drivers will speed up and drove in fast lane.

Ohya, do you know that Germany is the only country that has no speed limit when you drive on the highway? The fastest speed  that we drove was 190km/h! That's not crazy or insane because other drivers were drove faster than us!!! Anyway, please be alert to the speed limit when you drive at highway.

What about parking? It cost not much if you are smart. Don't ever park your car in the garage or basement parking, please look for the car park beside the street. There will be no charges at night until the next morning 7-9am depends on which area you were. The above picture - the car was parked beside the street at Brussels, Belgium.

We were headache with this because we don't know how to use it and the instructions were written in Swiss. (p/s: we were at Switzerland). We put the coins, simply press any number, and waited for the parking ticket from the machine but nothing is coming out!! So, I observed how other pay for the ticket.

This is how you actually pay for the parking ticket. Please look at the above right picture, you will see the numbers painted on the road right? Look for the number where you parked your car. We parked the car at number 22. Then go to the machine, pay the amount and press on number 22. Then it will stated how many hours/minutes left. No ticket, no paper will be given! That's smart and environmental friendly. 

When you make reservation for accommodation, please ask if they are providing any free car park? The above picture was taken at Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. It was a complimentary car park provided by the B&B.

This was one of the great experienced I ever had in Europe. We were on the way to Italy from Switzerland. As you know, Switzerland have many alps and we have to drive through many tunnels. Anyhow, this was one of the alps that don't have any road for car drivers to go through when we were on the way to Italy. The only transportation was the train. All the cars will parked on the train (as the picture above) and the train "drove" us along the dark tunnels. YES, the tunnels was really dark and I don't even dare to open the window to feel the horror. The whole journey took around 20-30 minutes. This was the car-train services that cost CHF27 (RM86+) at Kandersteg, Switzerland.


One of the benefit driving in Europe is no toll at all except Italy. (I'm not sure about other country, but from the 8 countries I went, Italy was the only country that we need to pay for toll). 

There were different booth to pay for the ticket - pay cash to the staff, pay cash to the machine given (same like the one we pay for car parking ticket at shopping mall), another one is with smart card (similar with touch n go or smart tag).

The ticket - similar to PLUS ticket.


Bad luck. The first ever summon we received in Europe. This was the car parking ticket we received when we parked our car right outside the hotel we stayed in Zurich, Switzerland. It cost CHF40 (RM120+) but we didn't pay for it. We not sure what was the main reason we got this summon, either we parked in wrong area (there were few different colour of boxes drew on the road, yellow & blue. We not sure what it mean) or because we didn't pay for the ticket.

Transportation at Venice, Italy.
Once we reached Venice, we have to parked our car in car park and no car is allow to enter into Venice. 

The main transport at Venice is boats. There are water buses and water taxi for us to go from one place to another place. Water buses are the major public transport and water taxi is more expensive.

This is the water bus station. There were different station and timing for different places. Look for the right station and ride on the right water bus. We bought a 24 hour passes (water bus) so that we can ride to anywhere at any time. 

(left) Scan the ticket when you first ride the water bus.
(right) This is the water bus.

Don't ever try to ride the water bus for free although the staff didn't check your ticket. There will be random checking and you will get fine once the staff found it.

I'm enjoying the windy and chilling weather.

All the transport at Venice are operate on the water. I saw water ambulance & water police boat too :)

EasyJet - from Prague to Amsterdam
We found the promo price on easyJet website, thus we decided to bought the ticket back to Amsterdam from Prague. The price was around RM400+ per person, luggage included. EasyJet is a budget flight, similar to Air Asia.

It takes 12 hours to reach Amsterdam from Prague by car. By flight, it took 1 and a half hour only. easyJet was really straight to their rules. Everyone can only bring one hand luggage to the flight, handbags are consider as hand luggage too. So, I have to put my handbags into my hand luggage as well. Duh... troublesome.


While waiting for our flight back to Amsterdam.


Prague's airport is not really big but the facilities are good enough. There is a cinema in the airport too.


We didn't spend our time at cinema, I prefer to chill at Costa Coffee - my favourite coffee that I started falling in love when I visited London in year 2009. Bf bought a costa coffee tumbler for me at Prague (there is another costa coffee at metro station, Prague). It cost RM20 only! Much more cheaper than the Starbucks tumbler sell in Malaysia. I wish there is a Costa Coffee here in Malaysia too.

OBB Train - from Vienna, Austria to Prague, Czech Republic.
The only train that offer cheapest price from Vienna to Prague. There were few stops (2 or 3) before we reached Prague and the whole journey took 5 hours.

We depart at 9.33am and reached Prague at 2.18pm. The ticket cost € 39 (RM160+) per person.

Checking on the schedule.

Transportation at Prague city
Since we didn't drive in Prague, the only transport that bring us around was the metro, tram, and bus.

We bought a day pass from the metro station, 100Kč (RM16) per person. It was really cheap!!! p/s: Kč is the sign of the money in Prague and the code is CZK which stands for korona.

Complicated map of the metro, tram and bus.

Metro station @ Prague.

Charles Bridge and Prague city from top.
Last but not least, post a photo taken in Prague to end this post.

till then.... 

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16 Comments ♥

  1. Driving on our own at other country must be challenging and fun!;)

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    1. Exactly! It was a good experience..

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  2. Wow! You went to many places of Europe this trip!

    Hope can see all the details of each country!

    I also want to go Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague!

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  3. We didn't expect we will visit so many places too! I'm really thrilled with this trip :)

    I will do my best to post everything!!

    Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague is a nice country and worth to visit. Each country have different culture. Prague is the place I love the most! Because of the arts and music! :D I wish I can visit Prague again in future :)

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  4. Oh big big l.o.v.e for this post!!! A lot of useful info and really nicely arranged.

    Mmm, in Prague I did thought of buying the daypass for metro but ended up I spent 3 days roaming around by foot. I think I almost got ZEB killed but I LOVE LOVE LOVE strolling/walking and the weather was perfect that time. It is different, to walk, cos u see a lot of things/nonsense along the way. And I really really like stopping and staring whenever I wish. Since I wasn't rushing or anything :D

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    Replies
    1. Awwwww... so sweet of you J.

      We have decided to buy day pass because bf's mom was following us. Thus, we don't want her to walk too much and tired. Anywhere, with day pass for the transport, we can go the place that not in the town. Your leg will broke if you choose to walk. HAHA.. We wasn't rushing also, that's why me and bf also ride the tram and went around without any purpose and no idea where we were going also. As long as we know how to our hotel. hehe

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  5. Bravo! I really admire your brave to travel on your own at Europe(unless you have studied there before)
    I always want to do that but no kaki as all my friends says it is troublesome, difficult,etc.

    Been to Amsterdam last April but was on local tour, so only spend an hour at Keukenhof. Your trip has inpired me once again to travel on our own, this time must cover Prague and Italy. Hope that you could share more of your itinery.

    Big TQ!

    Ley

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ley~

      I didn't study in Europe before. It was our first time there. Actually, I was afraid things might not going smoothly before go to Europe. Fortunately, everything was going well (there were some un-smooth thing also but we still managed it well). Don't worry when you travel at Europe, ASK whoever you can. Although some of them is not helpful, you can always go for another person. Don't scare of trouble or difficult. It's another kind of experience.

      One hour in Keukenhof is not enough, really. The park is so big. Yes, travel on your own. Don't worry :) You can always ask me and I will try my best to help you. :)))))

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    2. Haha, good to hear that! I am start planning my next April trip, Italy-Austria-Prague-Italy, truly inspired by you :p

      I notice that you spend only 2.5days at Italy, is that enough?

      Yes, we all curse and swear when travel agent give only one hour to spend at Keukenhof.

      By the way, do we need to apply for international license in order to drive there?

      Ley

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    3. Wow!!! Really??? So fast plan for Europe trip, next year??? Are u married? If yes, ur hubby might scold me if she know you decide travel to Europe after read my blog. HAHA

      For Italy, I went to Venice only. Although we stayed for 3D2N, but the exact time we spent at Venice was only 1 day+. The first day, it was already night time when we arrived (It was around 6 hours drive from Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. But we stopped by Milan for 2 hours before Venice. The next day, we spent full day and the 3rd day, we leave Venice after packed and breakfast. Because it was another 6-7 hours drive to Vienna, Austria :) It's pretty good enough to spend 3D2N at Venice. On 2009, I went to Rome, we spent 3D2N also, it is enough to discover the place too.

      International driving license - some say don't need. But my bf did applied, I didn't. The police or officer hardly check your license. I would suggest one of you applied international driving license for secure purpose. Yet all of you can change driver any time.

      Hope all these info help. You can add me on fb if you wanna chat more or ask me more :)

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    4. Yes, I am married. We went follow tour last year April entering Switzerland exit London & extend our own to Scotland. So planning to go to Europe again before having kids.

      I have liked your FB "A moment like this".

      Cheers,
      Ley

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    5. Enjoy as much as you can before having kids! :D If I have the chance to visit for the 3rd time, I might going to Barcelona, Spain and Greece :)

      Share more with me on ur plan once u decide everything!! I love to listen to others' travel stories...

      Delete
  6. jia you jia you! I also must jia you to start my travelogue too *still mingling around here & there* @@
    Btw, what software u using to process ur photo, simple but nice...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yaya... we jia you together!!! I have many more to cover.. My previous trip also haven't finish @@

      I use photoshop only. thanks :)

      Delete
  7. 你们真的花了很多心思在这欧洲游上,好赞!很仔细的info。

    在欧洲自己开车,好棒的感觉,但对我来说也好刺激,怕怕一下,哈哈!不错不错!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 其实我们只用了两到三天book完全部住宿和车。只是research要花多点时间。之后就比较容易处理了。

      Delete

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