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  • Feb 2017

    From Bucharest airport what should I take to get into the city center? Taxis, Uber or airport shuttle bus?   Bucharest Airport is called Henri Coandă International Airport and it is also know as Otopeni (OTP) as the town it is in. There is free wifi at the terminal! UBER I converted to Uber and I m not going back to using taxis. Here are a few reasons: Uber are cheaper than taxis in Bucharest. A ride to X Hostel Bucharest from the Airport will cost you about 40 ron (9 euro) depending on traffic Cars are newer so therefore safer Drivers don`t smoke, curse, are well dressed and mannered You cannot be ripped off: you see your trip and in case of a dispute you can contact Uber for a refund If you are a first time user you can use my code for a 15 ron discount: danielec95ue Usually Uber drivers speak English No tips expected/requested and no need to change cash at the airport (always a bad deal) It is very easy to use: install the app, sync your credit card, request a car, insert your destination: X Hostel Bucharest, Central Guesthouse, Strada Balcesti 9   Airport shuttle bus 783  You can take Bus 783 into town, which stops underneath the arrivals hall (just follow the signs). This line leaves for the city centre (stopping at Piata Victoriei, Piata Romana, Piata Universitatii and the X Hostel Bucharest stop Piata Unirii) every 30 minutes during the day, and then every 40 minutes through the night. Purchase a Card from the little booth to the right hand side as you exit: there is an automatic ticket machine or a kiosk where you can interact with a human seller. A return journey is 9 lei for the Express bus (you can use your return at any later stage), and its a ticket just for this airport to city bus.  If you want a taxi find the right Taxi Bucharest One of the first warnings given to tourists in most countries is to not let taxis rip you off. Stepping out of the airport, this is one of the initial experiences of a country we encounter, so tired and sometimes over excited, we are oblivious to what is happening right in front of us as we ache to get to our destination. Basically we walk around with a big cash register on our head. Bucharest is no exception to this rule and the taxi system is perhaps a little notorious for blatantly overcharging patrons. But we can take solace in that it’s not just foreigners they try to rip off. They will try it on with anyone, including locals. The funny thing is normally taxis are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to travel around the city...if you get it right. Here are a few hot tips to keeping your precious cash where it belongs, in YOUR wallet! Fighting dodgy taxi drivers is Bucharest’s top tourist-related problem. It leaves a bad first/last impression when tourists get victimized right out of the airport or train station. The police take infringements seriously, but you must do your part by ordering them, or at least getting the number of taxi, and company (take a photo), or licence plate. You can’t report a taxi rip-off unless you can pinpoint exactly who it was. Avoid the independents and head for the trusted established taxi company. Easier said than done, you moan. Here’s how to put the ‘spot the difference’ skills you learnt as a child to good use. Look for an emblazoned name and phone number of the company they are with. Some independents will try to do the same but with a keen eye, you’ll learn the difference. Look for about 1.39 or 1.40 lei per kilometer. Always ask if they give receipts first. If no, go on to the next one, or if you must get in, record the name of the company and taxi number. That way, if something goes wrong you can report it.  Reliable taxi firms are Meridian and Speed Taxi. Ignore the hustlers At the airport, ignore any taxi drivers who approach you as you leave arrivals. You can order a taxi using the multi-language easy-to-use touch screens in the arrivals hall to choose from a wide range of reputable Bucharest taxi companies, all with tariffs in plain sight. Once ordered the screen will tell you how long the taxi will be and its ID number and you wait outside. Easy peasy. Well so long as you can manage to get yourself into the right one, that is!. Another trick is to walk through to Departures and pick up a standard cab as it drops somebody off (following all our tips of course).             Group transfer A great alternative to taxis and city buses is a private shuttle firm that will pick your group up and drop you off at destination. GoThor.ro does just this. When you book 5-star accommodation for your guests (or X Hostel Bucharest & Central Guesthouse), you should not ignore the quality of the airport pick-up service so relying on common taxi services is not really an option. As you know, the first impression is extremely important. Go Thor helps you make an excellent first impression to your guests, especially if this is their first time they travel in Romania. Go Thor provides premium airport shuttle services in Bucharest: -        Luxury Cars -        Personalized Services -        Dedicated Staff -        Promptness The superior traveling experience is made possible by our limousine cars and the specially trained Go Thor staff, details that add a touch of elegance and distinction. Drivers who speak English or if necessary, translators for any other foreign language, personal security agents when required, accommodation personnel available from arrivals to meet your guests, are details that we take care of for each shuttle to and from the airport, carefully scheduled with our customers. Depending on the number of passengers and estimated amount of luggage, we choose the most suitable cars with either 4 or 8 seats. Upon request, we can provide separate luggage transport to the airport or from the airport when your guests are rushing to an important meeting or when your guests do not go directly from the hotel to the airport.   Use technology to your advantage and plan ahead Call or book online using Meridian or Speed Taxi. Some of Bucharest’s taxi companies now have iPhone apps using your phone’s GPS to get a taxi straight to you quicksmart. Check out Star Taxi. Or get your establishment to order it, i.e. when leaving a hotel, hostel, or restaurant ask them (nicely) to order you a taxi. Useful addresses and links. Read carefully One single tariff will be displayed on the driver and passenger door of all taxis. A lot of taxis will try to disguise how much they charge per kilometer. Whether this is by blocking the door, or not displaying clearly how much by adding other numbers such as Tariff 1. Generally be sure not to pay more than 1.69 lei per kilometer. Otherwise do a Johnny Walker and keep walking.     Areas to avoid Be extra vigilant in areas such as Gara de Nord, Baneasa Airport, Bucuresti Mall, Piata Universitatii, Piata Unirii and the Old Town/Lipscani area. Avoid scary taxi drivers, especially at night. If you don’t think you can take this guy in a fight, then don’t take his taxi. Yes, this may seem discriminatory, but when you’re taking taxis off the street at night, the odds are high you will get in some kind of argument.       Be smart   Arming yourself with knowledge is a safe tactic in any situation. So keep these tips in mind: Remember you ARE the customer, and ask first. Taxis should be catering to your needs, not the other way around. You should have no problem finding an English speaking driver, and verify he knows where the place is, and even that it should be between X-Y lei. If not, move on to the next one. Make sure the meter is on. And watch it. Carry small change. “I have no change” is not the response you want to hear. Because you won’t get it! Do your research. If you can, google the address first to get an idea of directions and how long it should take. If taking a taxi to X Hostel, it is good to say near Piata Unirii. There is another road that sounds like our road, and the taxi will take you there for a bigger fare, just to have to bring you here after. Speak up. Pay attention. Learn a little Romanian. Tell them you’re onto their game if you smell something fishy that’s not the Ciorba de peste. It is expected of Romanians to question everything, you should too. Don’t make yourself an obvious tourist...put the camera away.

  • Feb 2017

    I will spare you the usual... of course if you will come here you should go see the all buildings other blogs talk about. I`ll give you recommendations I would give to a traveling friend, not a sterile list copy-pasted in all other top 10 Bucharest list. A little myth busting:   We have guests coming expecting a demolished 3rd world city with horse and carts speeding on the broken roads, rabid dogs, corrupt police and threatening gypsies. You couldn`t be farther away from reality: It is one of the safest cities in Europe with violent crime being very rare. Do mind your wallet. Police presence is big but they will not even look at you unless you are looking for trouble. Gypsies despite their bad reputation abroad are not a threat at all. They mind their business as anyone else. In the old town some Roma women will try to sell you a rose, that`s all. Horse and carts you will find in the villages out from the city. Who needs a car when the world is going green? Rabid dogs are gone are a thing of the past. Architecture is wonderful here; sure it is not as ancient as Rome or sparkling as Dubai but it has its charm. Young Romanians usually speak many languages, with English as a must, and are very curious and open with foreigners.   Here is my personal top 10: 1 NIGHTLIFE It is the best I have ever experienced and for all kind of people and style. There is the old town commonly called Lipscani: an only pedestrian district with hundreds of bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs, karaokes. Spring to Autumn its great to sit outside having a drink and people watching. The over the top clubs: for the overly beautiful girls and overly rich guys. Wanna-be kind of place, totally recommended experience, dress up and take your credit card. Live like a millionaire for a few hours and enjoy the views of beauty from your prive` table before going back to reality. The super-cheap: mainly for students where a beer can be 1 euro and shots too cheap to resist.  Folk clubs with Manele, sometimes if you have bad luck its live. A mind-blowing experience. I cannot deny the stereotype: hot girls and cheap alcohol. 2 PARKS So many parks to choose form. At least one in each district of the city. In most you can rent bikes for free, rent pedal or rowing boats. People go there to run, relax and enjoy: you will find food, drinks and often restaurants, cafes and bars. Do try the corn on the cob 3 VALEA REGILOR The valley of the kings... somehow is what the beautiful pasajul Macca-Villacrosse is most known as. Here you only find lots and lots of water-pipe cafes. Also known as hookah, shisha, narghilea. Perfect for an afternoon meetup with friends or a pre-club session. 4 AUTOSERVIRE & KEBABS Kebabs are just about everywhere in the city and some serve 24h. Forget fancy dining! Autoservire is what you need: take a tray, you look at the food, all ultra-traditional and yummi, point at it, pay, eat. Best served by middle aged women in dodgy looking eating places with plastic chairs and tables. Very cheap and very Romanian.  5 GARDENS Lots of the best city restaurants, cafes and bars have their own urban jungle. They are very hard to spot but well worth the search. 6 THERME Possibly the best spa in the world. Indoor and outdoor hot water pools, saunas with all kind of lights, salts and one with a movie theater inside. A slide area, a pool with artificial waves, pool bars... the non plus ultra chill experience. Just avoid the crowds, nobody likes too many people. 7 ESCAPE ROOMS We had among the first and best Escape Rooms in Bucharest inside X Hostel. Then competition grew huge and we stopped operating games but focused on selling the concept. Now we are in 63 countries with over 450 games. But Bucharest has very challenging and high quality games. If you never tried this experience shame on you but here`s your chance. 8 CEAINAIRIE Another little secret: tea houses can be cool! Some have board games and all are so uniquely stylish. Great for a night off from drinking. 9 PROTESTS People care! Whether is to block the government from making a law allowing them to steal with impunity or to protect the environment from corporations the people of Romania take to the streets. These protests are peaceful, with satirical signs, dogs, kids, families, flowers given to the police, music, flags... something moving to watch. The new Romania is this: European, fierce, kind heated, peaceful and with a good sense of humor. 10 THE PEOPLE It might not be the most beautiful city in the planet, for sure you will not find the best customer service, people will come late at meetings and bureaucracy is still a burden of its recent socialist past... but who wants the boredom of a perfect city? Bucharest biggest asset is its people with their heritage of Dacians, influences in culture from ancient Rome to the Ottoman Empire, with its minorities and superstitions; what else to say when the world`s most famous Vampire is their national hero? With virtually no immigration and a tiny expat community you can live like the locals in a way you cannot do in other cities of Europe. Locals in my foreign eyes are full of contradictions: conservative but daring,  melancholic but positive, rough but tender, patriotic but open minded, flirty but stern. I have a love and hate relationship with this city and its people. There must be a reason that of all the world I chose to stay here, I do hope you will find the same joy and great experiences as I did.  

  • Feb 2017

    Benvenuti al piu' grande ostello della Romania!   POSIZIONE Siamo nel cuore della citta', solo pochi minuti a piedi dalla maggior parte delle attrazioni e vicini al trasporto pubblico, Piazza Unirii e il distretto pedonale di Lipscani, centro della vita notturna nella citta' vecchia. PUB Il nostro Pub e' dotato di un calcetto, un tavolo da ping pong, jenga gigante, freccette e giochi in scatola. Abbiamo birre e liquori locali e d'importazione, oltre che una terrazza aperta fino alle 22.00. Siamo dotati di un bancomat per Bitcoin. 5 connessioni internet vi assicurano di poter rimanere connessi con la vostra famiglia e i vostri amici intorno al mondo. SERVIZI Abbiamo un'ampia scelta di stanze per qualsiasi budget: dormitori piccoli e grandi, doppie con servizi privati, matrimoniali e stanze per 3 persone. Abbiamo molte doccie e bagni, non dovrete mai fare la fila! 5 connessioni internet. Abbiamo molte camere private con bagno e se volete dormire meglio potete prenotare alla Central Guesthouse, un altro edificio gestito da noi situato di fianco all`ostello.   SICUREZZA All' X Hostel Bucharest prendiamo seriamente la vostra sicurezza: doppio livello di sicurezza con carta e chiave di accesso, cctv, societa' di sicurezza a chiamata, staff in loco 24 ore, armadietti personali e stazione di polizia a 60 metri di distanza sulla strada... nel caso non lo sapeste: Bucharest e' una citta' molto sicura, potete andare tranquillamente a piedi a tutte le ore del giorno e della notte, soprattutto nel nostro quartiere. TI ASPETTIAMO ALL' X HOSTEL BUCAREST Possiamo darvi raccomandazioni per ogni tipo di bevande e cibo, aiutarvi a organizzare gite e tour nella regione e darvi suggerimenti su cosa fare giorno e notte.     A BREVE APRIAMO QUI ALL`X HOSTEL IL PRIMO CENTRO DI LANCIO DELL`ASCIA DELLA ROMANIA Clicca la foto per is sito e maggiori informazioni Sapevi che abbiamo centinaia di persone tatuate con la nostra `X`? Clicca la foto per il nostro album su FB X Hostel e` presente anche a Varna, Bulgaria e ad Alicante, Spagna ed il proprietario e` italiano.