Thursday, October 7, 2010

Travel in Greece - introduction

Dear Reader, if you find some of the posts familiar, it is because they are taken from my other travel Blog - Travel (Past and Present) with Ronald. That Blog has grown quite a bit and I feel it is better that I break in down into individual countries for easier management. So here is the one just on Greece. I may add more photos later on.

Ronald Kwok

Monday, August 11, 2008

Travel in Greece - List of regrets

On looking back there are some regrets during my trip in Greece, things that I should have done but did not get to do, whether by choice or by circumstances. Here they are, not in any particular order.

1. Sunset in Santorini - could not stay longer since we had to get back to the cruise ship before sunset time.
2. Acropolis at night - did not venture out at night, probably tired after a whole day of visiting. Also hotel a bit far from the Acropolis and did not have a roof top view.
3. Ancient Olympia - planned to visit but because it is a bit out of the way, could not fit in. Lack of time, really.
4. Ancient Corinth - this is in another separate tour, skipped because it means visiting Corinth Canal again; also lack of time.
5. Night view from the cruise ship; starry, starry night - not sure why never made it. Probably after dinner, there are other entertainment on board and once that is over, wants to get into bed.
6. Buy pistachio from Oia, Santorini - it says everywhere that pistachio at Aegina is the best but I found the samples given out at Oia to be better (albeit more expensive). Maybe it's just personal taste.
7. Sample more local food - maybe to better taverns are a bit far from the hotel and did not want to venture out too far at night.
8. Taken more photos - this is partly because I did not buy a spare battery for my Lumix TZ18 so had to slow down so that the battery can last the whole day before it is recharged at night.

So for all of you who are planning a trip to Greece, you can ponder the above and avoid these misses if you have the same interests. Still, despite these misses, Greece is still a great place for your holidays. Enjoy.

Ronald Kwok

Monday, July 28, 2008

Travel in Greece - Money saving tips

My travel in Greece is one of my best overseas trip so far and here are some money saving tips based on my experience there.

1. Get your essentials (like bottled water, juices and snacks) from the local mini or supermarket chain, if you can find one nearby. Prices are generally cheaper than those sold in the omnipresent kiosks, especially items on offer. This is true not only in Greece but in other countries as well.

2. If you're visiting the Acropolis, keep the ticket since the same ticket (it has 6 tear-away stubs) can be used for Agora, Roman Forum, Kerameikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Theatre of Dionysus and Hadrian's Library. In fact, if you're visiting any of the above places before Acropolis, you can purchase the Acropolis ticket there and use it for the other places. Not sure how long it is valid, some say 3 days some say more but since the ticket is not date stamped, you can always try your luck.

3. Buy the 24 hours transport ticket for 3 euros that can be used in the Metro, tram and buses in Athens or the 0.8 euro ticket valid for 90 minutes depending on how many times you want to use the public transport. If you stay longer in Athens, there is a weekly ticket for 10 euros. You need to validate the ticket the first time you use it when it is time-stamped. However, all the tickets are not valid for travel to the airport by metro that costs 6 euros.

4. It may be cheaper to buy the local tours back home rather than in Athens as your local travel agent may get better prices. You can compare the prices from the websites of the tour operators. If you have to buy it from Athens, get the tours from the tour operator office directly and ask for discount, they do give discounts if you get more than one tours. It is more convenient to buy it from your hotel but they normally do not give discounts since they live on the commissions. The tourist industry is highly organised in Greece and it appears that Athens is divided into zones and hotels located in a zone is served by a particular tour operator so you need to know your hotel location to see which tour operator is assigned so that you can buy your tour from the right operator for ease of pick-up and drop-off from your hotel.

5. Ask for upgrade of your room whether in the hotel or in the cruise ship. Your request may be granted especially if there are vacancies during off-season.

6. Most taverns in the tourist areas offer set lunches or dinners that are good value for money, if you do not mind the limited choice of items. But if you care to venture outside the tourist areas, prices will generally be lower as well.

7. Get fresh fruits from the local market, if there is one near you. It is cheaper and fresher than those elsewhere.

8. If you intend to shop at Hard Rock Cafe in Athens, get the map of Athens at the airport during arrival; there's a 10% discount coupon with the HRC ad.

9. Do not expose your valuables, wallet, etc in public. Pickpockets are plenty in Athens as in all major cities. This will not only same you money (those in the wallet) but also all the hassle of lost credit cards and other documents.

10. For a quick and cheap bite, there are many street vendors selling pretzels, doughnuts and other pastries all over Athens. If you are lucky, there will be free drinks for sampling as well by major sponsors.

So that's all folks from my travel in Greece. If you want to know more about any item mentioned in my posts, I will be happy to answer any queries. I'll leave you with more images of Greece, less touristic ones. Maybe I'll talk about my travel in Spain in my next series of posts.

Ronald Kwok