Amsterdam, Netherlands

Traveling to Amsterdam was also my first time exploring Europe outside of the UK. I flew with British Airways for just under £35 from London to Amsterdam. The moment I got out of the train and into the city, I was in awe. The numbers of bicycles in the city is ridiculous yet it’s what makes Amsterdam such a beautiful city. For the first night, we stayed at The Flying Pig Beach Hostel, which is situated right next to the beach. However, it is a little further away from the city (approx. 40-60 mins journey to the central city by bus and train). I’ve booked through Hostels World, which is such a great website to find the perfect hostels since sharing a room may sound scary to some. What I love about Hostels World is how rich in reviews it has from the various travelers across the globe. I can easily find the ratings from each hostels from different cities in terms of its safety, security, cleanliness and even atmosphere. Despite booking our hostels last minute, we managed to find The Flying Big Beach Hostel and got a great value out of it (10-20 Euro per person per night).

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The Flying Pig Beach Hostel comes with free continental breakfast served in the common room. During the night time, my friends and I enjoyed their amazing party where we got to meet different people from different places. The bar served cheap drinks (we even got a free welcome shots); however, it was cash only so we had to walk about 10 mins down the road in the cold to find an ATM machine. The hostel has a smoking room right next to the bar; so of course there were people in there smoking either cigarettes or weed (since its legal in Amsterdam). The only downside to the hostel that I must say is how there are no curtains for your beds and so there was less privacy. My friends and I were lucky to share the whole room together (4 beds dorm) and thus the three of us were lucky to not have the other person show up so privacy wasn’t an issue in our case. There was also a sink and a mirror in our room and we had a shared bathroom which was adjacent to our room. This was also my first experience staying at a hostel and I must say that I am glad to have stayed in one. Throughout my lifetime, I always had this idea that hostels were dirty and full of creeps and druggies; but staying at the Flying Pig have completely changed my perspective on sharing rooms. First of all, it’s tremendously cheaper to stay at a hostel. An average price for one night at a hotel would probably be around $60-100; whereas staying in a hostel, the rent would be reduced to $5-20! Second, you get to meet people and actually make new friends from across the world. I enjoyed partying with the folks at the Flying Pig. I became friends with the manager who added some rap and hip hop music during their EDM/trap night just for me. It was probably one of the best night for my friends and I because it was hard for us to get up at 5AM in the morning to catch our next flight to Paris.

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Traveling or commuting in Amsterdam was certainly not cheap. Despite how gorgeous the city was and how friendly everyone was, I hated how expensive transportation was–bus and trains. It was unfortunate that the bus ticket is not valid as a train ticket; so we continuously had to repurchase tickets every time we transfer to either a different bus company or on the train. Each ticket costed us around 8-15 Euro and for the whole day of traveling, it must have costed us around 30-40 Euro per person. That was more expensive than our beds in the hostel. I would recommend travelers to stay close to the city center if you plan on doing most of your travels there or in a specific area of where you would like to see so that you wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on transportation. We booked our accommodation a little too late and thus we had to pick somewhere further away from the city center in order to have a cheaper accommodation. Despite having to pay so much for our transportation fares, I certainly enjoyed the long rides on the bus and train and being able to look out the window and witnessed the beauty of Netherlands.

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