Monday, December 10, 2018

Summary of My 17D Balkans Travelogue (2018) Covering Istanbul, Bosnia & Herzegovina & Croatia

And here comes the end of another travelogue of mine - like, finally! This year I managed to complete at least 5 travelogues before year-end; Solo Trip To Europe (2017), 9D8N Australia Melbourne & Sydney (2017), 6D5N Central Vietnam (2018), 6D5N Kyushu Japan (2018) and now this one - 17D of my Balkans trip covering Turkey, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia. Feeling accomplished cause my motivation for blogging is finally back on track! I almost lost my interest and passion not just in blogging, but in travelling too dating back 2 years ago.

2018 Balkans Travelogue Cover-1

SUMMARY OF MY 17D BALKANS TRIP COVERING ISTANBUL, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA AND CROATIA
Here is the compilation of my Balkans travelogue at a glance (obviously I'm lazy to summarise everything 😜):
2018 DT Balkans Itinerary
(Just click each of them and it will link you to the individual blogpost)

For this post also, I would like to share not comprehensive one but a brief and basic travel guide based my own first hand experience to Turkey (Istanbul), Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia.

VISA
For Malaysian, visa is NOT required to enter into these three countries. Therefore don't have to worry about applying any visa at all. That's show how powerful our Malaysian passport are, right? However if you are intended to stay more than 90 days for each respective country, then you have to go and apply for the visa. I don't have experience for this cause normally, I only stay one or two weeks for each country. 

CURRENCY EXCHANGE
Before embarking for this trip, I exchanged Euros and some Turkish lira (I changed in KL Nu Sentral). You can bring along US dollar, British Pound or even Singapore Dollar cause these currencies are also widely accepted in most of the European countries.
  • Turkey's national currency is Turkish lira. It can be found in Malaysia. But in case you don't have the time to change, no worries cause you can exchange in Istanbul. TRY100 = RM102
  • Convertible mark (KM/BAM) is the only legal tender in Bosnia & Herzegovina. I exchanged in Sarajevo International Airport - the first Bosnia's airport I landed. €1.00 = 1.95KM on average*. But because there is 1% commission being charged, hence I got €1.00 = 1.93KM
  • The official currency for Croatia is Croatian kuna. €1.00 = HRK7.13 on average*
*The rate I exchanged in May 2018
Huawei P2013
Top: Bosnia & Herzegovina's convertible mark
Bottom: Croatian kuna 

PURCHASING TRANSPORTATION TICKET
The most frequently asked travel questions - where to buy all these transportation tickets and when? Being "kiasu" in me, I always prefer to buy all my buses and trains ticket prior to my trip in order to secure the seats, especially when the bus and train schedules are quite limited. Except for my train ticket from Sarajevo to Mostar and a-return day trip between Split and Sibenik, I booked all my bus tickets from GetByBus (click here). It's a legit and reliable website, so don't have to worry cause it's really pretty save and secure buying bus tickets from this website. 

GetByBus Website

The only downside of this website is that you have to print out your tickets. They don't accept mobile ticket. And another thing you have to take note is that for all intercity buses, there is an extra fee of €1-2 charge for luggage fee. Remember to keep some small change.

SIM CARD
Because I was travelling alone, hence it's freaking costly to rent a pocket WiFi by my own. Besides that, for your information Bosnia & Herzegovina is actually doesn't consider to be part of European coverage even for both pocket WiFi and travel sim card. What I did is I bought my travel sim card from Hello1010 (click here) and purchased another one for Bosnia & Herzegovina in Sarajevo Airport. 

2018 Day 3 Bosnia 02 Sim Card

There you go! Hopefully I don't miss out any important travel tips and info relating my trip to these Balkans countries. In case you have any queries or doubt, feel free to leave a comment or email me. 

TOTAL SPENDING
As usual, I simplify everything for easy reference - which include means of transportation, hostels, entrance fees, food but excluding my shopping spending throughout my trip around 17 days. 
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
€/KM/CZK
RM
Air Fares
Singapore Airlines (Return fare Kota Kinabalu to Istanbul)
Pegasus Airlines (One-way Istanbul to Sarajevo)
Turkish Airways (One-way Zagreb to Istanbul)

Cities
Sarajevo – 2 days
Mostar – 2 days
Dubrovnik – 2days
Split – 2 days
A Day Trip to Split
Zadar – 1 day
Plitvice Lakes National Park – 1 day
Zagreb – 2 days
Istanbul – 2 days

Ground Tour
Herzegovina Tour

Others
4GB Travel Prepaid Sim Card - Bought from Hello1010

-
-
-


-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


60KM


-

2,190
293
955


301
188
782
419
149
289
300
363
250


150


103

TOTAL:
6,732
Exchange rate  €1.00 = RM4.84 as at May 2018

Curious about my souvenir travel haul? There are two items I die-die must buy whenever I visit different country or city which are the fridge magnet and postcard. Besides these two, another one would be the stamps. Sometimes I would spend up to RM100 by just buying these three things. As for this trip, my total spending for souvenir and shopping is RM1,026 including numerous of fridge magnets, postcards, stamps, a T-shirt, a skirt and a dress when I was in Croatia. 

2018 Travel Haul 4
A hardcore collector for fridge magnets.

2018 Travel Haul 3
Souvenirs from Croatia including tea towels, liquid soap dispense and a T-shirt for my nephew.

Istanbul Shopping Haul 1
Pouch and fridge magnets from Istanbul.

Istanbul Shopping Haul 2
Turkish ceramic bowls in various sizes.

AIRLINES EXPERIENCE & THEIR IN-FLIGHT MEALS
For this trip, I flew and experienced 4 different type of airlines:
1) Silk Air for my journey between Kota Kinabalu to Singapore. I even blogged about this airline before (click here).

2018 Silk Air BKI-SIN-BKI
In-flight meal for Silk Air. I like their fresh fruits but not their main meal. Feel like eating thick flour instead of fish meats.

2) Singapore Airlines for the trip from Singapore to Istanbul as well as for the return. Finally I got to fly with the World's Best Airline. However, I'm quite disappointed with the fleet for the flight to Istanbul cause it's one old aircraft being used. The in-flight entertainment wasn't fascinating and not many options were given. Even for the in-flight meals, I found out it's just so-so and nothing to shout. 

2018 Singapore Airlines In-Flight Meal
For the route Singapore to Istanbul, their meals are quite acceptable. 

2018 Singapore Airlines In-Flight Meal Istanbul to Singapore
But for the route from Istanbul to Singapore, the meals look kinda sad and unappetising. Luckily there's an ice-cream to cheer me up

3) Pegasus Airlines for one-way journey from Istanbul to Sarajevo. Pegasus Airlines is a Turkish low-cost airlines with no-frills, similar to AirAsia where the fare doesn't include free baggage allowance, in-flight meal and entertainment. 

2018 Pegasus Airlines Istanbul to Sarajevo

4) Turkish Airlines for a trip from Zagreb to Istanbul. Turkish Airlines is a national carrier airline of Turkey and it's full-fledged airlines. This is one of the most expensive fares I ever bought in my life just for a single trip. 

2018 Turkish Airlines Zagreb to Istanbul In-Flight Meal

Never thought this is going to be a lengthy post but I'm glad that finally this is the end. Now I'm going to have a cup of nice hot coffee and at same time, thinking which travelogue should I blog next.

DT Backpacking in Croatia

2 comments:

  1. This is surprising to hear that you almost lost your interest in traveling! If I have the money, I could travel all my life and worry not about work.

    I will take note on the visa-free and loose changes to carry. I had similar thoughts that I should carry US dollars instead of Ringgit as it is lighter and well accepted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love all your fridge magnets! They are so beautiful and unique with odd shapes.

    ReplyDelete

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