All posts by mike

My 4 favourite places in Munich – Locals edition

Some of you might know that I live “in the best city of the world”.
Yeah, I know everybody claims that of the place they call home. 😉

I live in MĂŒnchen, Deutschland (“Munich, Germany” for the english speaking part of world).
Today I thought I should share my 4 favourite places with you.  Why? Because many travellers to Europe, who go to Germany, seem to skip Munich for Berlin or Stuttgart. The Munich metropolitan area is more than just Oktoberfest and Lederhosen.

In Munich’s metropolitan area you can find Museums, lakes, castles, mountains,… There’s so much to see and do.

In this article I will showcast some places where locals go. I will feature museums and other places in an upcoming series of articles

 

MĂŒller’sche Volksbad

MĂŒller'sches Volksbad
MĂŒller’sches Volksbad

This is a public swimming hall. Equipped with two pools, saunas and steam baths. It was opened in the year 1901 and offers locals and visitors a like a great place to relax.
As time of writing the standard admission fee is EUR 4.80

It’s conveniently located in the city centre and reachable by public transport:
– S-Bahn (“Isartor” station) plus a couple minutes walking
– Tram (“Deutsches Museum” station)

It’s publicly owned and managed by our local utilities company SWM.

Enjoying a beer at the “Isar”

The Isar
The Isar

The “Isar” is the long river stretching throughout the city.
On mild spring, summer and autumn nights thousands of locals go here to enjoy a beer after work. In the summer this is also a prefered place to do a little BBQ with friends on the weekend.
If you go here by U-Bahn (subway station “Frauenhoferstraße”) you’ll find a little store (“Kiosk”) selling hundreds of different types of local and international drinks and snacks. They even take credit card.

 

Olympiadorf

The Olympic village (or “Oly-Dorf” how locals call it) exists since the early 70s. Back in 1972, when the Olympic summer games took place in Munich, the city had to build accomodation for the athletes and nation teams.

Olympiadorf MĂŒnchen
Olympiadorf MĂŒnchen

They build some tall apartment buildings and a little “village” of bungalows next to the stadions. Because Munich is always in need for apartments, it was decided that the Olympiadorf stays and got enventually converted into a student home. So why feature it here?  Because it is tradition that every new tennant has to paint the outside wall of his new home. Thanks o this tradition this village is now an everchanging art gallery. Hundreds of artistic impressions feature the landscape of the village.

It’s worth a visit when you come to Munich!

Want to go there? Use the U3 line of the subway network to “Olympiazentrum” and follow the signs to “Olympiadorf”.

“Cinema MĂŒnchen”

Yes, there’s a movie threatre which calls itself just “Cinema”.

Why do I want to feature it here? Rainy day or night in the city? You have seen all the museums? Why not go watch a movie?

Cinema MĂŒnchen
Cinema MĂŒnchen

The Cinema MĂŒnchen in the Nymphenburgerstr. (between subway stations “Stiglmaierplatz and “Mailingerstraße”) is well known with expats and movie lovers. It’s a one of those small, old, privately owned little movie threatres with just one screening room. Eventhough they’re none of those big multiplex places, they still have the latest technologies like 4K HDR, 3D and immersive surround sound.
They show EVERY movie in original language (English in most cases), while most of Munich’s movie threatres show the majority of movies in a German dubbed version.
If you want to save some money:
Screenings on Monday and Tuesdays are cheaper.

This movie threatre also made history many many years ago by being the first place in Germany to sell popcorn at the movies.
(source: I read an interview of the owner a couple years ago)

 

PSA: Beware: Tiger Beer Bar Complex Patong

This is a warning I’m writing at 1:45am (local time) in the morning. I am so serious about it that I decided to write this post before getting a good nights sleep. This is not an angry post, just a public service announcement.

Do not spend money there.

I am very experienced with Thailand and usually can smell fraud from a mile away. This time they really got me.

For those who don’t know how beer bars work: You basically drink beer or other cocktails like in a normal bar, but you also can play connect 4 and other fun games with the lady staff and compensate them for their time by buying  so called lady drinks. Lady drinks more expensive, watered down, whiskeys or other cocktails, sometimes even only juice. The staff usually gets a commission on each lady drink. The games are there  to keep you in the bar and drink more stuff – which is fine with me, if it’s a fun night with lots of giggling and having a good time with bar games on the premises. They earn so little, it’s usually okay to spend some money there to help them. Lots of the staff comes from the poor Isaan province. Most of them work there to provide for their family.

 

Side note:

Some people also pay a so called barfine to the bar to let the lady leave the bar before closing time. Then it’s up to her and the guest how they want to spend the night. E.g. going for dinner or into a club for dancing or something for intimate. “It’s up to you both” how far you want to go.

I was there with a friend and  we were having a good time. After some time realised that instead of paying one lady drink for each girl entertaining us, we were paying for whole group around us. The bar tap/bill was suddenly reading 4 names instead of two.

Patong and the tiger complex used to be a fun place to spend the evening. But no more.

I officially put the whole complex on my blacklist.

I really ask myself why they do it, especially if they believe in Karma. Isn’t it a bad thing to fraud the customer?

We were definitely too stupid not to realise it earlier. Not all bars in the bar complex might be like this, but I can not recommend to spend money there if this is how they do business these days.

Please don’t support fraud like this. There are better ways and places to spend your time.

 

Yours sincerely

Why I love travelling South East Asia…

Many people have asked me why I travel to Asia more often than any other continent or region in the world. There’s not really a single answer to it.

I like the weather, the food, the people and the adventures and experiences you can have there.

In 2015 I did a Contiki tour called the “Asian Aventure“. I met many awesome people from around the globe on the tour and made a great new friend.  There where parties, of course, but the main reason why I loved this tour so much –  besides making new friends – were the places we visited and the experiences we had. We went to the North of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Lets take  the following photo for instance:

Laos Pakbeng – In the morning

Have you every imagined waking up very early in the morning in a small village in Laos (“Pakbeng”). Going down to a small pier to catch a “slow boat” on the Mekong river even before the sun has fully risen ? 10 years ago I woudn’t even dreamed about it.

 

 

 

Cambodia Siem Reap – Temples

We also explored the amazing Angkor Wat and the other temples in Cambodia where one of the Tomb Raider movies was filmed.
There’s even a cocktail named after Lara Croft in one the bars in Siem Reap. 😉

I’ll definitely come back, because 2 days are not enough to see all the temples in this huge national park.

Or in 2012:

Bangkok – Dr. BJs’s Salon

I took a strawl though Bangkok and suddenly found this place. One of the many stores and venues with such a funny “In your face” name. You’ll find bars, restaurants, massage parlours and many other places with this very direct marketing. It makes me giggle. Every time.

In 2016 I went back to Thailand to visit some of the Islands  in the west. (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao).
We also took a day trip to this paradise like island:

Thailand Koh Nang Yuan

 

 

 

 

 

More Asian Adventures to come…

New content ahead!

For the last couple years, it has been quite, well…  quiet here.

I’m back!  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been to several countries and cities since my latest post. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Spain, Mexico…..

So there’s a lot of new content to write.

I’m looking forward to spending some time during the long Easter weekend to prepare some cool new stuff.

Stay tuned!

How to catch a Taxi in Bangkok

Here I am. Back in Bangkok,  Thailand. This time staying with a mate in the old town part of the city. Meaning no BTS sky train or MRT station nearby. The only way to get from our hotel to Downtown Bangkok with all the shopping malls (like MBK, Siam Paragon and others), are taxis. Unfortunately many Taxi drivers don’t speak English. So I used the “Bangkok method” to get around.

Getting from hotel to downtown/other places

First look for a small business card of the hotel at the reception desk. This will later be important when you want to go back to the hotel. Most hotels can give you a business id card which contains the address of the hotel in Thai letters and/or a small map of where the hotel is located. DONT FORGET TO TAKE ONE BEFORE LEAVING.

The easiest and simplest way is to ask the reception desk, or if available, the bell manager for a METERED Taxi and tell him/her where you want to go. He/Her will then use his radio to hail a cab for you and tell the driver in Thai where you want to go. This helps to avoid lost in translation situations. 😉

After entering the car make sure the driver turns on the meter. If he doesn’t, insist on it or you may end up with a “special price”, which can be twice or triple the official amount. Side note: One of the drivers offered us 200 THB special price, we insisted on the meter and ended up with 68 THB (rounded up to 70)

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

 

Getting back to the hotel

Hailing a taxi on the street is an almost impossible mission.
Here’s the easy way: Just go to the next shopping mall.

Most shopping malls have a so called “taxi queue” or taxi stand at the ground level. When arrive at the front of the line give the taxi coordinator the card from your hotel. He will then ask all taxi (or tuk tuk) drivers nearby if anyone wants to take you to your destination. Jump into the one the he/she points at. Other drivers may try to pursway you by smiling or winking at you to take their taxi/tuktuk instead. Be careful this could lead to either a very expensive ride or a trip to an unknown destination.

After entering the taxi handover the card from the hotel to confirm your driver got the right address and double-check that he/she turned on the meter.

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

Tips

  • Make sure you have a business card of your hotel
  • Double-check that you have all belongigs before leaving the car. Getting it back is an impossible mission.
  • Write down/take photo of the vehicle number (often a sticker on the inside of the window) if you want to report any bad incidents to the taxi queue service
  • Taxis have different designn (pink, yellow-green, orange), but the metered rates should be the same

 

 

Visiting an Automobile graveyard in Sweden

Back in October 2014 I went on a short trip to Oslo, Norway and an very old automobile graveyard in Sweden. This mysterious and little spooky place is located in the middle of nowhere in Bastnas, Varmland county.

You definitely need a car other other form of motorist vehicle.  We stayed at a motel in Töcksfors – you can find it by the name Victoria GrĂ€nshotell. There’s not much to see in Töcksfors except several brand new shopping malls and outlet stores, but it’s a good base for a daytrip to an automobile graveyard. The drive took us approx. 30-40 minutes each way, depending on weather and road conditions. The last part of the road is not paved.

Take note that there’s almost no cell reception at this spooky place, I got 1 bar at best.

You can find the place on Google Maps, if you enter:
59.360989, 11.838341

Here are some photos I took

Abandon car and bicycle
Abandon car and bicycle
Cars and abandon house
Cars and abandon house
Abandon car
Abandon car

Cardiff Hotel, London Paddington – Review

This spring I decided to have a short city trip to London. After searching several days for the right hotel, I decided to book 4 nights at the Cardiff Hotel.

Location

It is conveniently located only 5 minutes from Paddington station. Paddington is one of the main train stations in London (City of Westminster). Both Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect depart and arrive from this station. So if you have an early flight out of Heathrow, this is the right area to stay in London. Several Underground lines stop at Paddington station, which makes it a great starting point to explore London and the surroundings.

The room

I booked a Single room on a online booking site. When I arrived I got the info that I got upgraded to a Double room on the 1st floor. The room had a “typical size” for B&B’s and hotels in old buildings. The bathroom was quite small though. The room featured a double bed, a desk, a closet and a flatscreen tv attached to the wall. The en-suite bath room had a small sink and shower area. The room is okay for a short city trip, but please in mind that it is an old building and has little heat/noise isolation. The hotel offers free WiFi throughout the hotel. I was able to check my emails and Facebook on my tablet both in my room and at the breakfast room down stairs.

Breakfast

Breakfast was included in my rate and I used it every day. The breakfast buffet offered English breakfast standards like bacon, baked beans, sausages and tomatoes as well as toast, fruits, cereals and juices. Huge thumbs up!

Verdict

I like the hotel. It’s perfectly situated near Paddington station, has free WiFi, free breakfast and is nice for a short city trip.

 

Vibe Hotel Sydney – Review

I stayed at this hotel for 3 nights during the last days of my Australia 2013 trip. I really enjoyed staying this hotel.

Location

The Vibe Hotel Sydney  is located in Goulburn St, which is part of the CBD. The two nearest city rail stations are Central and Museum. The Central station is about 10 minutes by foot away, Museum station only 5 minutes. he airport link train also stops at these stations. Because the hotel is in the CBD you’ll can find almost anything you need nearby. Mini marts, Bars, restaurants and coffee shops are only few steps or minutes away.

The reception staff was very friendly and upgraded me to a “Deluxe Suite Queen and Sofa”, which was really nice.

Room

The bedroom features a queen size bed flat screen and an alarm clock. The seperate living room a coach and a desk and a second tv.

Vibe Hotel Sydney - Bedroom
Vibe Hotel Sydney – Bedroom

The bathroom has a bath tub with shower.  I believe I stayed at the 7th or 8th floor. The suite has a friendly and warm interior and was  clean. It was very quiet thanks to the high floor. WiFi is not included. I didn’t try it, because I had connectivity through my smartphone with integrated WiFi hotspot.

I haven’t tried the breakfast, because I prefere to enjoy it at my favourite coffee shop chain. There’s also a pool on the roof

Can I recommend this hotel? Yes, it is a great option for your stay in Sydney. Especially the location is a huge plus for exploring the city by public transport or getting to the airport.

This review and all the other reviews on this blog are not sponsored.

Lonelist pub in Australia – Daly Waters, NT

Welcome to a series of posts about unique and fun places in Australia.

Today I would like to show you the Daly Waters Pub “Outback Servo” in Northern Territory Australia.

Memorabilia left at Daly Waters Pub, Australia
Memorabilia left at Daly Waters Pub, Australia

Daly Waters is about 620 kilometres south of Darwin and three kilometres west of the Stuart Highway. This pub not only has fantastic barramundi burgers but it also houses lots of stories through memorabilia left by visitors from around the globe.
You can find hundreds of t-shirts, bras, car signs and plenty of other unique things at this place in the middle of nowhere. A lonely pub? I am not sure. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but people come to this place, enjoy great food and leave amazing things here.

Barramundi burger at Daly Waters Pub, Australia
Barramundi burger at Daly Waters Pub, Australia