Starting 2018 with such a grateful heart, knowing that God takes care of me that well. He took me to places I’ve never thought or imagined before, at least, not in a near time. Yet, God is sooo good to me. Prague, who doesn’t dream to go there at least once in their life? I’m just so lucky to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful city. This trip has been very special to me, and Prague… certainly has caught my heart in an instant.
It was at the end of autumn, at early November 2017, when I visited Prague for business purpose. It’s been my habit not to lose any momentum, I extended my trip to explore this beautiful city along with some other countries in the region. I mentioned before that this trip has been very special because this was also the first trip where I was going solo to a completely foreign country, which, I cannot speak or read the language. I mean, travel solo and be completely blind in a new places has always been in my life’s bucket list! And it got checked already! Thank you 2017 for being that awesome.
How to go there & what to prepare?
I went there using Emirates Airlines with transit route to Dubai, before landed at Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. It was 8 hours long flight to Dubai, continued by another 7 hours flight to Prague. And it’s me who always had a hard time to sleep in a plane, which means, I gotta finished at least 7 to 8 movies during the flight. Thank God, Emirates is very generous providing good and up-to-date movies in their airlines, so it’s not a big problem.
Currency & Communication
Czech Republic is an EU country which is located in Central Europe. I brought some Euros with me, but I still need to exchange some of my Euros to local currency, which is Czech Crowns (CZK). And since I’m planning to be in Europe for around 11 days ALONE, I would probably need a local SIM card which I can use to browse for internet. Some of my friends prefer to use the available public wi-fi. They said, it’s widely available, yet I still prefer to get a SIM card instead (which turned out to be the best decision ever, because the public wi-fi isn’t that widely available as they said so in Prague). I bought myself a Vodafone SIM Card which consist of 10GB data that can be used across EU countries. It costs around 1,600CZK or around EUR62. I got a problem with my SIM Card though, it wasn’t active for the first 2 days due to some reason. So, I eventually got to experience the wi-fi hunting in a foreign country lol.
Where to stay?
I chose to stay in AirBNB instead of hotel because I found that it was more affordable. With the same cost as the common hotel, you can get the whole apartment. I think as long as you are thrifty enough, you can get the best house. I will make a review of my AirBNB stay during this Europe visit in another thread. Please stay tune!
The public transportation in Prague is quite comfortable, and I think the system is pretty similar in most of EU countries. I used tram, metro, or bus to go around the city. It was quite confusing at first though, because there was no clear guidance in English on how and where you can purchase the ticket. There are some ticketing machines, but not in all tram-stops. Usually, you need to check in any tobacco store near the tram stop to purchase the ticket. There are two options of ticket with 30-mins and 90-mins duration, or you can also purchase short-term pass for 24 hours or 3 days duration. You will need to have some coins if you’d like to buy tickets/passes from the ticketing machine. So, be prepared for that. For the route of the public transportation, you can simply use Google Maps direction. It is very loud and clear that you won’t get loss.
Where to go?
I was in Prague for 4 days, yet I only have 2 full-days to explore the town – since I had business meetings for the other 2 days. I arrived in Prague on November 4 at around 5pm. I was too jet-lagged to go anywhere, so I spent the first night to rest. The next day, I went to Old Town Square which is located at the center of Prague and joined a free-walking tour to explore the town. Europe has many free-walking tours which offers you a tour around the town with its own famous landmarks for around 3-4 hours duration. Just like its name, it was completely free of charge – unless, you only need to pay for the tips for the guide. I chose Sandemans New Europe Tours and it was definitely worth it!
So, I spent the first 4 hours walking around the town with Sandemans, continued with Prague-Castle tour and beer-tour at night also with Sandemans. So, where did I go that day?
Old-Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)
Every city has an icon or a landmark. Prague has one too, which is the Old-Town Square. Many people visited this place and took a picture to mark their existence there. I did one too! There are many tourists from across the world who gather in this place. Many tour services also put this as the first meeting location.
There are several famous landmarks around this area, such as: The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn, The Astronomical Clock, House of the Black Madonna & Museum of Cubism, Municipal House, St. Nicholas’ Church, etc.
New Town (Nové Město)
After walking around the Old Town, we came to the New Town area which is separated with a huge gate (honestly I forgot the name of the gate, lol). There are many modern shopping place in this area, including the infamous Wenceslas Square.
Old Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
The Old Jewish Quarter (Josefov) is located between Old Town and Vltava River, where historically, all the Jewish were ordered to leave their houses and settle in one area. There are synagogues and the cemetery of the Jewish in the area. One of the most visit place is the Old-New Synagogues, which is also one of the oldest Jewish synagogue in Central Europe which is still active until now.
Rudolfinum & Vltava River
London has the Thames, Paris has the Seine, and Prague… has the Vltava! A calm, serene, and beautiful river at the end of autumn has certainly become one of the most integral part of my visit there. While Rudolfinum is one of the most eye-catching architectural building which is located at Jan Palach Square right of the bank of Vltava River. It is now acting as the music auditorium of many musical concerts and shows in Prague.
Prague Castle (Pražský hrad)
Finished exploring the town with the free-walking tour, you can continue your journey by joining the Prague Castle Tour, also by Sandemans New Europe, starting at the front of Rudolfinum to the Prague Castle complex which is located at the other side of Vltava River. You will need to use tram for 2 stops since it will take such a long time to walk there. Also, you will definitely walk, walk, and walk a lot in the castle area. Better save your energy and enjoy the journey!
I do really love this place! I’ve got the experience the ‘real Prague’ around this area. Every nook and cranny of this city was just so fascinating! There are squares, castles, cathedral church, and others. You can also experience the breathtaking view of Prague from up on the hill near the castle area. You can also witness the changing the guard ceremony at Prague Castle which was done every hour. It was such an amazing experience!
Strahov Monastery Brewery (Klášterní pivovar Strahov)
What is Prague without beers? This city has one of the best beer in the world. And this place, Strahov Monastery Brewery, is a must if you want to taste the real Prague’s beer. Of course, you can do a pub-crawling just like in other parts of Europe, but this place is exceptional. It has one of the most delicious beer in Prague as one of the oldest brewery. The location is not too far from Prague Castle. So, you can drop by after exploring the castle. There are 3 kinds of beers, which are: Sv. Norbert Amber, Sv. Norbert Dark, and Sv. Norbert IPA. All beers are unfiltered, and served perfectly fresh and cold. Seasonal beers are also available throughout the year.
Charles Bridge (Karlův most)
Oh, why do I cover this place last? I think this is the best part about Prague. It wasn’t included in the list of destinations from the tour which I joined, but thank God, I’ve got the time to visit this place at one of the night of my business meeting days apart from pub-crawling and restaurant-hunting activity.
This bridge crosses the Vltava River for 621 meters long and 10 meters wide. It is decorated with more than 30 baroque style status along the way. It was beautiful at the day-time, but it was even magical at night. One of the most romantic place I’ve ever visited in my life! One of those places which can give you that certain magical feeling bursting from your chest. Try to walk around this bridge at night while listening to Ed Sheeran in your earphone! Haha, I was being so melancholic, but it’s true! It was amazing place! Oh, how I wish I could go back.
After all, Czech Republic is a beautiful place. There are so many places I wish I could’ve the chance to visit there. Let’s just hope that life will keep surprising you like this, having the chance to visit one of the most beautiful and charismatic in the world is something I would be forever grateful of.
See you in my next post!
(…which is still about another part of Czech Republic. Stay tune!)