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Tax refund scam in Seoul – “the world’s best airport”

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in All posts, South Korea | 4 comments

3rd July 2013. Seoul Incheon International Airport waves flags stating to be the world’s best airport. I have seen those claims before. In various other countries when entering airports. The term world’s best airport does not actually mean that it is THE world’s best airport but one of a list of 25 best airports, ranked according to a study by SkyTrax. Which should be taken with a pinch of salt. Seoul’s airport is new and modern and if you travel by day, it may offer you all travel comforts. If you travel by night, you will be lucky to find something to drink. At 10 pm all duty free shops, restaurants and food courts close down. All cafés, places like Starbucks and convenience stores (if there are any in the first place). No stands with snacks or food. Despite...

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The fall of Greece

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in All posts, Greece | 0 comments

Greece has come a long way from the prosperous community it once was, to become the debt-saddled country struggling to keep up with commitments – badly needed to guarantee rescue loan payments and long-term Euro membership. “No society ever reached the heights that were attained by ancient Greece. It was the cradle of culture. It was a happy country. What happened? What made it fall? Historians don’t satisfy me. Wars, politics… Something’s missing, something personal. I want to walk where Aristotle walked. Socrates… I can’t explain it. I don’t know. I have a feeling I’ll find something.” (Quote from ‘Never on a Sunday’) I walked, just like amateur philosopher and American tourist Homer from the great 1960 Greek film ‘Never on a Sunday’. This is what I saw. There is a prevalent anarchic element in Athens. It’s about the...

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Ryanair – Beware!

Posted by on Sep 2, 2012 in All posts, Norway | 4 comments

You know how Ryanair has got a really bad image. People joke around on how Ryanair flies well but lands a long way from the target, how Ryanair is going to charge for on board toilet usage, how you will be able to book third class – standing in the aisle during flights. Except that these aren’t jokes – they are Ryanair’s profit maximising strategies.  Let’s start with the jokes. “Ryanair have charged Jennifer’s family £65 in excess baggage fees to bring her remains back to the UK.  – That’s what you get for not booking ahead.” I am not absolutely certain that hasn’t actually happened. I hope this one never will: “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome on board this Ryanair flight. In the event of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, masks will drop down from above you. Please...

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Transport & taxi scams in Malaysia

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in All posts, Malaysia | 1 comment

Hey folks, this post is a summary about all means of transportation we used when traveling in Malaysia and mainly around the capital, Kuala Lumpur. You will also find out why I now have taxi phobia. Arriving by PLANE. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is the main gateway into the country, operated by most international airlines, from where you can get the KLIA Ekspres train and make 55 km to Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station in 28 minutes. We came in via the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) flying Air Asia, a budget carrier, 20 km from the main airport, from where we took a ten minute bus ride to Salat Tinggi train station.   Airport Bus Transit from LCCT Budget terminal.   Salat Tinggi. From here, trains frequently run to the city. We boarded the KLIA Transit train and...

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Eating out in Kuala Lumpur

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in All posts, Malaysia | 4 comments

For some the highlight of the day, for some the energy source for the pursuit of travel adventures. Food – was never my favourite act but after I discovered Asia’s cuisine that has changed. I am still not a big eater nor psyched dining companion. I remember my grandma’s urging words to ‘eat properly’ while I was hovering around my plate as a kid in Szczecin/Poland, postponing the consumption of the main meal, already filled up by granny’s delicious entrée, her famous and by all family members acknowledged as best tomato soup of all times, topped by divine hand made (!) noodles. After two, at good times, breaking my own record, three rounds of noodles with tomato soup (I still consider soup a supplement for noodles or rice), I was going to disappoint grandma, again. Driven by the selfish...

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Singapore – on restaurants and food

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in All posts, Singapore | 2 comments

Food isn’t the best of the fantastic cuisine Asia offers and what I expected given the prices and my idea of Singapore as a country with exceptional service. After our stay that image demystified. Restaurants  were generally overpriced and unfortunately in those nice touristy areas not particularly good – service and quality were obviously prepared for the one time never seen again tourist visit and a concluding why-bother-mentality. At a Chinese restaurant we were presented with a bill that had skyrocketed. First the owner wanted to charge us extra for napkins! To make this rip off case scenario worse –  we had not used his precious napkins (nor ordered any, given we would have had a choice)! Additionally their menu said nothing about a further 10% service charge and another 7% for tax which was added nevertheless (we always...

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The dark side of Cambodia

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in All posts, Cambodia | 1 comment

Cambodia seems to be struggling with a number of issues that will very likely affect you as soon as you enter the capital. The first impression I got while walking around the city was a filthy one with trash lying around everywhere and sewer smells penetrating the air. Another dirty matter is the sex business, visible in most touristy restaurants and clubs of the sort. You can observe the ongoings of unregulated prostitution anywhere in the center of Phnom Penh, white unattractive man of age with teenage girls on their laps engaging in small talk leading to the obvious. Equally disturbing is the child abuse issue. It is such a dominating concern that brochures and flyers are laid out in every hotel or place of interest to raise awareness, to a problem that is vividly showing itself everyday on...

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Cambodian idiocracy

Posted by on Apr 28, 2012 in All posts, Cambodia | 0 comments

Traveling to Cambodia means that you are going to get engaged in bureaucratic procedures. Usually there is always an immigration form to fill out, but on our flight to Phnom Penh we got three questionnaires asking for the same details that you have to rewrite four times. Once you are done you are about to land :) The forms are not even looked at by immigration authority by the way.   At the visa counter passport and filled out forms are received by two Cambodian visa staff, are then passed on to another six Cambodian employees sitting behind the counter in a row, working their way through each passport from left to right. The price for a tourist visa is 20$, Tomek was made to pay 25$ but after we questioned staff we got 5$ back again. We were...

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Khao San road closed

Posted by on Apr 17, 2012 in All posts, Thailand | 0 comments

‘Khao San road closed today’, was the answer we got from a taxi driver, who really wanted to take us to a shop where he would collect his commission reward for bringing trusting tourists, who symbolize the ever rich and potential customer. After establishing that the road didn’t really close and having agreed on a price, he was finally ready to get us to Khao San road. At least that’s what we thought but after a brief think he insisted on his terms, or the way he put it: ‘One extra stop ok? Still, NO, thank you , Sir! :) In general we find it tiring to play the same game over and over again: Say where you want to go, get a horrendously priced answer, ask for half that sum, compromise somewhere in the middle or not. Hearing...

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