Monday, September 3, 2018

Balkans (2018): Can't Help Falling In Love With Dubrovnik, Croatia

After spending 4 days in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2 days in Sarajevo and 2 days in Mostar), from there I move on to another new destination, Croatia - the 44th country I visited to date. Just like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia is a country positioned in the Western Balkans. It is to the east side of Adriatic Sea with bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast. I picked Dubrovnik to be the first city I'm going to step my foot on Croatian soils.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Cover

GOODBYE MOSTAR, HELLO DUBROVNIK
There are no trains travel between Mostar and Dubrovnik due to some diplomatic dispute, as what I heard from the local but don't worry as one can still travel by bus. Almost all my bus tickets travel from one city to another city around Croatia bought directly from Get By Bus website. I chosen the earliest bus departed from Mostar so that I can arrive Dubrovnik at least before the lunch hour in order to meet my travel buddy. To be more precise, I wasn't travel alone throughout my Croatia trip then. 

Do take note that in Mostar, there are two different bus stations; Bus Station East and Bus Station West. If you are staying within the Old Town, then pick Mostar Bus Station East as the latter one is 20 minutes walk away. Another thing you need to take note is that on all intercity buses, you need to pay extra fee of €1-2 to the driver if you intend to place your luggage underneath. So keep some change ready.

2018 Bosnia Neum Border Check Point
#1: Always be prepared your passport by your side as there would be border checkpoints. 

Since travelling across the border, always be prepared your passport by your side cause the bus will stop at border check points, and the police officers would board the bus and request for a valid identity documents. There would also at some point where all the passengers are required to get off the bus, carrying their own luggage and queue up for custom inspection. Therefore, do expect for longer bus ride from what as per scheduled earlier due to these document validation and custom inspections.

2018 Mostar to Dubrovnik
#2: Despite all the hassle of crossing the border, I was rewarded with exquisite Croatian coast. Reserve the seat on the right-hand side for this spectacular view.

ARRIVED DUBROVNIK BUS STATION
After 5 hours and 30 minutes bus ride (which was an hour and 30 minutes behind the schedule), I glad finally I could took off my butt from the seat. The first thing I did once I arrived Dubrovnik Main Bus Station (Autobusni Kolodvor) was to exchange some Croatian kuna. Of course, this is not an ideal place to get the best rate but I need some local money to grab the local bus to the old town cause it is quite distance away - about 20 minutes ride. The bus stop heading to the Old Town (Pile) is located just in front of the main bus station and from there, one can take buses #1A, 1B or 1C and a single journey cost 15 kn if purchase directly from the driver (10 kn if purchase from the kiosk, but I can't find the kiosk nearby). 

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Autobusni Kolodvor Bus Station
#3

A WALK THROUGH THE OLD TOWN OF DUBROVNIK
I wasn't aware that the local bus stopped right outside the main gate, Pile Gate until I spotted all the passengers inside the bus got off from the bus. Immediately I did the same thing when one of the beautiful and friendly passengers told me this is the final and last stop. Initially I thought that one need to pay entrance fee in order to get into the Old Town but I was totally wrong. It's absolutely free and you can enter and exit anytime as you like.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 09
#4: The main gate of Dubrovnik, Pile Gate 

The first thing that caught my attention right after I entered through Pile Gate is Stradun, the main shopping street and gathering spot in the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Along the street, you will find countless of souvenir stores, galleries, restaurants, cafe, money changers and etc on your left and right side. Besides that, you will be entertained by the performances of numerous street entertainers while making your way through the crowd. It's like Stradun is one street that never sleep at all.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 01
#5: Stradun, the central street of Dubrovnik old town

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 02
#6: Onofrio's Fountain, one of the ancient fountains of this city where you can directly drink the fresh water from.

We continued to discover more of this historical city right after done with quick check-in into the hostel we booked prior our arrival and also feasted our hungry tummy with burger for lunch break. Both of my friend and I wandered aimlessly and getting ourselves lost walking up and down through the pathway, lanes and small alleys in the maze of narrow city streets. Each and every corner of Dubrovnik is an unrivaled beauty waiting to be admired.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 03
#7: Getting lost by discovering the small passage

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 13
#8

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 04
#9: Old Port - This is where visitors waiting to board on the boats depart to nearby island such as Lokrum, Cavtat, Mlini and more.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 05
#10: Romantic baroque staircase modeled on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy leads to Church of St. Ignatius

Do you know that Dubrovnik is also known as King's Landing? This is because the HBO mega-hit drama series Game of Thrones (GOT) is almost completely filmed in this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site. No surprise to spot quite number of shops around Dubrovnik selling assorted GOT merchandise. There are even GOT guided walking tours available to those die-hard fans. Unfortunately both of my friend and I never interested with any of these cause we never watch any single episode at all.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 11
#11: Anyone fan of Game of Thrones here?

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 10
#12: Besides Game of Thrones, only to find out that even Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed here as well.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 06
#13: We went for sunset tour organised by the hostel

On its other end, Stradun finishes in an attractive square surrounded by few of its most prominent historical sights of Dubrovnik such as the City Cathedral, the Church of St. Blaise, the Sponza Palace, the Rector's Palace, the bell towers and the Orlando's Column. All these enchanting monuments are the finest and most harmonious examples of the late medieval and early renaissance architecture. Dubrovnik Old Town doesn't lose its vividness after dark. Numerous musical and theater performances on the city square and variety of happenings in the countless city venues preserve the dynamic of the city life long after sunset.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 07
#14: Bell Tower on the left side, Rector's Palace in the middle and the Church of St. Blaise on the right side after the sunset.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 08
#15: Stradun doesn't lose its vividness even after dark

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Food
#16: Food we had on the first day in Dubrovnik. Eating in Dubrovnik is quite pricey

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Old Town 12
#17: Magnets are my biggest weakness when comes to shop for souvenirs

HOSTEL WITHIN OLD TOWN
One thing I can't deny is that living expenses in Dubrovnik is relatively higher than the rest of the cities of Croatia I visited, especially in terms of accommodations, food and even transportations. While doing research looking for hostel within the old town, I came across few but because of the negative comments, hence we ended up staying with Hostel Angelina Old Town instead. Although it cost €30 per night which is way more from our tentative budget but it's definitely worth the pay particularly for its convenient location, fairly clean for both dorm and bathroom.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Hostel Angelina Old Town 1
#18: Each bed is equipped with socket and lamp. And private locker is given to each guest.

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Hostel Angelina Old Town 2
#19

Hostel Angelina Old Town
Date Stayed: 18 May to 20 May 2018 (2 nights)
Room Rate: €30 per night for a bunk bed in 12-bed mixed dormitory room without breakfast (Booked via Booking.com)

TOTAL SPENDING ON FIRST DAY IN DUBROVNIK
For this post, I would only share how much I spent on my first day in Dubrovnik. As for the second day, I will share on the following post.
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
€/KN
RM

Transportation
Mostar to Dubrovnik via bus
City bus to Pile Gate

Accommodation
Hostel Angelina Old Town – 1 night

Food & Drinks
First Day in Dubrovnik

Others
Postcards


-
15 kn


€30


211 kn


9 kn



79
10


145


146


6

TOTAL (RM)
386
Exchange Rate: €1.00 (RM4.84) = 7.13 kuna on average 

Previous Post on My 2018 Balkans Trip

3 comments:

  1. Love the photos you took.

    The fountain reminded me of the pee-boy in Belgium.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow it's really affordable to go here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read. adventurertravel

    ReplyDelete

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