Marseille Transport

Getting there

Marseille is a very popular destination in the south of France, and it attracts scores of people throughout the year. There are plenty modes of transport that can be taken to go to Marseille from around the world.

Firstly by train, Marseille has many domestic and international rail journeys to St Charles train station. SNCF is the main company which connects Marseille, however SNCF-Renfre partnership also has journeys coming from Spain.

There are also many airline carriers that operate in Marseille Provence Airport. Only British Airways is the only notable direct flight from LHR and only 1 of 3 from London. Other airlines flying from London to Marseille are ‘Easy jet’ which flies from Gatwick and ‘Ryan air’ which flies from Stanstead. Other airlines including ‘Air France’ have a stop over so it will not be too convenient as the 3 direct flights.

In Marseille

Getting to Marseille from the airport is a bit more difficult than other cities. There is no subway system and the nearest train station is a 15minute walk. The best way to travel is by the  airport-city coach which takes you straight from the airport and into St Charles train station which is central to the city.

Once in Marseille there are various modes of transport you can take buses, metro subway, tram and even by boat.

The metro (subway) in Marseille consists of only 2 lines identified a simple metro ‘1’and ‘2’. Metro 2 journeys north to south, whilst  Metro 1 is a U shaped starting from ‘La Rose’ which goes inwards to ‘Vieux Port’ the outwards to ‘La Fourragere. Both lines interlinks at St Charles which is the main train station of Marseille and Castellene.

I was very impressed with the tram system in Marseille, it was new, modern, very easy to use and spacious. You can see that Marseille has put a lot of thought to their trams and the carriages were designed with a futuristic modern appearance, inside the tram was air-conditioned and had lots of space, very comfortable. There is 3 lines to the Marseille tram system, T1,T2 and T3.

There were many different bus journeys available in Marseille, however their intervals can be far apart, which means longer waits and fuller buses. I took 3 buses on my time in Marseille and they were all alike. The buses were very comfortable, air-conditioned and had fast journeys, I didn’t have any problem with them apart from the long waits and packed buses.

As Marseille is mainly a port city, it was just right that boat transport would be available. Between many of the different boat ports such as ‘Port Rouge’ were I scuba dived, and ‘Vieux Port’ there are now boat journeys. I didn’t try them so I cant really write about it.

Transport in Marseille is very easy and straight forward, so even the most amateur of travellers shouldn’t get lost.

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Travelling Around Tallinn

Travelling around Tallinn was one of the most difficult I have ever encountered around Europe in a tourist’s perspective. Not only was the journeys difficult, tickets were also confusing to obtain.  There were also only a number of modes of transport you can use as metro and trains are non existent in the city.

Walking- If fit the capital is small enough to walk around ,most of the attractions within the city are very close together, so walking is very convenient.

Bus –  The Buses in Tallinn was very cheap however, you can buy your tickets before you board from some machines situated in some stations, however this can be very difficult to find as there is not many around.  It is also possible to buy your ticket from the driver however this can be very difficult when the bus is full.

Trams- Similar to buses this vehicle is easy for locals but somewhat difficult for tourists. Reason being is that you have to buy tickets before boarding, usually done online which for tourists could be somewhat daunting. There are not many machines around and there is no way to purchase from the tram operators.

Taxi’s- Cheap compared to other countries around Europe but still expensive compared to the other forms of transport in the capital.

Back to “Two countries, three capitals”

 

 

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Travelling Around Helsinki

The Finnish capital Helsinki has an integrated public transport system where tickets are valid on all mode of transports whether trams, metro and buses. It  had the easiest transport system I have taken from the airport to a city as a tourist.

Walking – If you are fit enough and have the ability to walk around for long distances, then I believe walking around the city is the best way to get around. Take stops in a few places for rest and you should be fine for a whole day.

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Trams – For those unable to walk then I’d say trams are the best mode of transport to use within the city. They come often and are easy to use but remember to purchase your ticket before getting on. One thing to remember is that like any public transport around the world you can expect busy periods where the trams get very full.

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Trains – Better for longer distances like the airport, or other regions. Again very easy, just buy your ticket ahead of boarding. There are no barriers but ticket inspectors and for passenger comfort there are power outlets, small tables, bins and lots of luggage space.

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Metro – I didn’t really have the chance to ride these as walking and trams were sufficient to get around the place. I did notice that the Metro doesn’t cover a lot of destinations. The Helsinki metro is the worlds northernmost metro system.

 

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Bus – As trams were already a brilliant way to travel, I didn’t really have the chance to try their buses.

 

Back to Finland Trips,
Back to “Two countries, three capitals”

 

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Reference

https://www.hsl.fi/en/information/how-use-public-transport/planning-journey

Peru Rail

Brief

Peru Rail is a railway operator that services locals, tourists and freight. It was founded by a Peruvian entrepreneur and a British company  in 1999. Mainly operating in the southern region such as Cusco, Arequipa and Puno20180319_042142

Cost

I only know the price to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo, and it is quiet expensive and ranges from £60 – £100 (even more) depending on time and how busy it is.

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Experience

Peru rail is ha20180319_034403.jpgnds down one of the best rail transport I have ever experienced. The old carriages with the river and mountain scenery was like no other I have done before. Furthermore their service was delightful and goes well with the vacation ambience.

Our first and onwards journey was at 05:05am from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. It is advised to arrive at the station as early as 30 minutes before the train departure where the train station and ticket office officially opens as well.

Remember your baggage does have a size limit of 157cm/ 62 inches (height, 20180319_035509.jpglength and width) and a weight limit of 5kg. However for those travelling from far and who do not have a hotel or hostel to leave your baggage, there is a free bag drop at Ollantaytambo station. Although it is not always manned and you may need to get attention to get someone to attend the facility and take your baggage. Another thing to remember is your passport, because upon entering the boarding area and train, the attendants require both tickets and passport.

In the station (rail side) there is a small basic café, the train was already parked and there is plenty taking pictures with the train. There is not too much security and safety precautions at the platform and plenty of tourists walk along the rails.

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The carriages are divided between local and tourist passengers, which sounds wrong but with good intentions. Local passengers carry huge amounts of baggage and I believe their carriages would be plain and basic. On the other hand the tourists carriages are designed for the extra experience, the walls are covered with Peruvian artwork (wallpaper) whilst the table has a map of the Inca trail. Furthermore the tourist carriage has enhanced seats and a sunroof window for extra views of the mountains ahead.

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All train tickets have allocated seats and not a free for all or first come first serve basis. Some seats are facing the direction of the journey and some facing rearwards, there are also 4 grouped communal seats and the standard 2 grouped seats. My experience for my onward journey was a 4 grouped forward facing communal seat which can be either awkward facing other people or good in meeting other travellers, for me it was more positive as we got to meet two other young travellers which we conversed throughout the trip. The carriage was not too congested and I say my onwards experience was positive.

 

During the journey there is audio with Peruvian music and facts of Machu Picchu. There is also complimentary snacks and drinks which mimics that of an airline and heavier food to purchase if you want. On my onward journey we were given cookies and I chose to have mango juice but there were choices of various juices, water, tea and coffee.

The journey (Onwards) took over 2 hours and you can just disembark and go on your way.

Returning I took the 15:20 journey back to Ollantaytambo. Everything was definitely a bit more complicated than my onward journey. Firstly finding the station was difficult as it was not the same place I arrived (disembarked) from but a 5 minute walk up the hill. There were also much more people taking trains at this time and the station was very congested. Furthermore identifying your train is confusing as there is always one small screen with many similar numbers and times, the language barrier was also a problem. I found tourists helping each other rather than asking the attendants or relying on the info board all through till entering the train.

 

Returning I had a 4 grouped communal rearward facing seat, which for me was a bit uncomfortable as the guy opposite me on this route kept hitting my legs with no care at all. The snacks we were given returning was better though with some Inca corn which was actually very nice. Again I had mango juice but my brother had tea which was not a good idea as this journey was a little bit wobbly.

Overall Peru Rail’s journey to Machu Picchu was an amazing experience. Everything was just out of the ordinary from the train to the scenery. Its something I probably will remember for some time to come and I don’t think many would come close to the experience ive had.

 

Reference:

Perurail.com

 

Travelling to Machu Picchu

How to get there

Machu Picchu is one of the most difficult place to reach and the reason for strong planning and research before travelling. Firstly getting to the country Peru is the first hurdle. Remember Cusco is the nearest airport to Machu Picchu but only a handful of international flights actually fly here. So Lima is usually the entry point to the country itself and a flight connection to Cusco is usually the norm as taking bus would take too long. After reaching Cuzco the journey still isn’t over as there is still a mission to get to Aguas Calientes the nearest village to Machu Picchu. There are various options to get from Cusco to Aguas Calientes but 2 popular methods are by doing a 4 day trek called the ‘Inca trail’ and the other is by commuting to a town called Ollantaytambo then taking train to Aguas Calientes.

Inca Trail

First method is the world famous ‘Inca Trail’. Now I don’t know too much about this as I didn’t do this method but from what I am told it is a 4 day walking journey from either Cusco or Ollantaytambo. The Inca trail is for the adventurous travellers and this method of reaching Machu Picchu is definitely the more scenic way.

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Commute

The other method to get from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is by commuting. It is important to remember that there is no direct trains from Cusco straight to Aguas Calientes and a stopover at Ollantaytambo is inevitable, making the travel to Machu Pichu a 2 phase journey.

The Cusco to Ollantaytambo trip (about 1.5-2 hours) can be done in various ways with the easiest being a private taxi which I could imagine to be expensive. Another way is by taking what is called the shared taxi which is usually a van (sometimes a car) that takes a bunch of travellers to Ollantaytambo at once. The positive with shared taxis is that it is very cheap at only 10 soles or 20 soles for a smaller car. The bad is that there is no timetable and the journey only starts when the van is full, which is not good for people on a tight schedule. Other ways to get to Ollantaytambo is by bus but this could prove to be too complicated for travellers as there is a couple of changes.

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Once at Ollantaytambo the next phase can begin and its much simpler than the first phase. All you need is to buy a train ticket at one of the 2 operating companies Peru Rail or Inca Rail (the more luxurious option). The train journey takes about 2-3 hours and depending on your operator includes a complimentary drinks and a snack. (Peru Rail will discussed on a separate blog) Please note that there is a baggage size and a 5kg weight limit.

One thing I didn’t mention is that Peru rail and Inca rail do offer complete transport from Cusco to Machu Picchu but a higher cost is expected. They will arrange their own bus to and from Cusco and Ollantaytambo.

After arriving at Aguas Calientes another short bus ride is required to get to Machu Picchu itself. There is only one official bus ride and it is quiet pricey. The only other way is to hike 1.5 hours up to the location. However I highly advise to take a ride up as there is plenty of walking at the site itself.

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Once the bus drops you off at the entrance of the Machu Pichu site, your journey is done. You have arrived at one of the greatest places in the world to visit, all there is to do now is to enjoy.

Next: The Machu Picchu Experience

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The Machu Pichu experience…

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Travelling around Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a modern city with up to date transportation just like other large cities around the world. The city includes undergrounds, trains, buses and taxis, most often used was the MTR which serves stations very near to all the points of interests in Hong Kong.

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Sheung Wan Station

Hong Kong’s rail, subway service or “MTR” serves various routes within Hong Kong and even across mainline china, it also offers connections to and from the international airport (airport express). Just like the London Underground’s Oyster card, Hong Kong has the Octopus Card, and you can use this to top up credit to use on journeys from one place to another. MTR offers Tourist Octopus Card which can be bought at any station, and if there is value still left on the card, the remaining value can be refunded at the airport. The MTR railway network has 10 commuter lines and connects nearly all of Hong Kong. It is comfortable and reliable, I have not experienced any delays. Part of the MTR company the Hong Kong buses looked packed and was difficult to understand so as a tourists I opted not to take them.

Taxis is difficult at times, they operate just like any other taxis around the world but has extra charge for the number of luggage’s and other conditions. Furthermore the language barrier is a little tough as all my experiences in communicating with the drivers have not been easy. However unlike other taxis around the world I think that the drivers are relatively friendly, honest and safe. There was no funny games such as no change for notes (all change was received to the penny). I have used Hong Kong’s taxis and have not had a problem in the slightest, all drivers have been very fast though.

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Tsuen Wan

As Hong Kong was also a territory of Britain in the past, driving is also on the left. So renting a car wouldn’t be too difficult to do. Just keep in mind other road user’s attitudes can differ.

Reference

http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/our_network_introduction.html

Travelling around Cebu

Transport in Cebu city mimics that of Manila, however if you want to escape the city and go to the Cebu countryside it could be a little more difficult. The most popular way for tourist to get around is by hotel transports, taxi or rented vehicles.

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Jeepneys in Cebu have a different appearance than the ones in Manila but still have their colourful artwork and design. Usually they are cheap at 7pesos per person, however for tourists this form of transport can be very dangerous and difficult to find your way around. Unless you familiar or know a local that can accompany you in Cebu ,I advise against using a Jeepney.

The majority of hotels in Cebu do have complimentary hour

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ly drop-off and pick-up transports to the main shopping centres in the city such as the Ayala centre, SM Cebu city and the IT park. Marco Polo is one that has this service and this is a convenient way for hotel guests to get around without needing to find a taxi, I personally find these very convenient however working your shopping or touring plans around the hourly pickups or drop offs can be annoying. Furthermore the services only operate around 8-12 hours a day with the first services being around 7am and last being 9pm (depending on hotels). The vans are very comfortable and air-conditioned and from my memory have about 12-15 seats maybe even more. I’ve never experienced the vans being full and any passengers being left behind.

Taxis in the city are convenient for point to point travel, there are plenty of taxi bays and it is very easy to just get one off the streets. They are affordable and can prevent you from going through the stresses and dangers of other modes of transport in the city. They are safe but there may be a few drivers in the city that takes advantages of tourists so just a bit of common sense is required. Other than those few who do cheat there are many that are genuinely friendly and happy to just take you on your journey.

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Cebu Taxi

There is also a mode of transportation called “Habal habal” where one just gets on the back of someone’s motorcycle, this is illegal and very dangerous, some have no helmets and this is not an approved way of transportation. This form of transportation is still used by locals in Cebu.

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Habal habal

To travel outside Cebu city and into the countryside, mountains and beaches, is a bit more difficult. There are bus services to various points of interest such as Moalboal (where the canyons are situated) or Oslob (where the whales sharks are) however I have never honestly used these, so I wont be able to tell you about them. Obviously if you have entered a tour/ trip they would be more likely to arrange your transportation with/without extra fees, they may be a private car, van or an accompanied bus ride. However if nothing has been planned, I advise to rent a car and driver from one of the many companies that do so, these drivers can drive you to any destination of your choosing, they wait for you wherever you wonder, but it is good manners to just give them a bit of money to eat or invite them to eat with you. They are very friendly and act as a tour guide as well, they will also protect and look after you (your own personal chauffeur for the day).You can also pick the vehicle of your choosing whether a 5 seater Toyota Yaris or a 12 seater Grandia for bigger groups. To rent a car it will cost around 5k pesos for the whole day(£70) with the driver but depending on the vehicle you choose.

I’d say travelling in Cebu is fairly easy, it is very tourist focused.

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Travelling around Paris

Paris use comparable modes of transport as London, the Metro or RER Réseau Express Régionale (Regional Express Network) are Paris’s equivalent of the London Underground/ Overground and are very similar by approach. A one day travel card can be purchased from the many machines in nearly all the stations.  RER connects central  Paris with the outer regions and is the easiest way to and from the airport, it has 5 lines RER A,B,C,D and E. The Metro or Metropolitan on the other hand has 16 lines. In my experience the train systems are quick and convenient and relatively cheap, it gets you from A to B in ordinary fashion and although most of the times there are no seats, it is not as busy as other countries I have been to. On the plus side there is plenty performers or buskers inside the trains, it is something different and although the locals careless about them it is good for tourism.

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There are buses and taxis however I mostly just used their Metro or RER because like London many points of interests are not far from stations. So I cannot really write about them.

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Alternatively if you are fit enough walking around parts of Paris is not such a bad idea, as long as you know where your going and can navigate the city is not far apart.

Overall for me roaming the city was easy to do just by using the rail systems and by walking. However if you have a bit more money to spend then taxi’s would be your obvious choice for comfort.

Reference

Photos

metro map (https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepakg/6148932631)

Travelling around London

Travelling in London is very easy, maybe even one of the easiest in the world (in my opinion). Buses, Underground, Overground and even the Thames clipper connect every region and area within the city. London prices are determined by zones and the duration of travel, buses are £1.50 (as of 2018) for any 1 hour of travel, meaning you can use as many buses within the hour. The underground is charged through the number of zones you pass through, zone 1 is the most expensive to travel, overground is the same whilst the Thames clipper is a little different. London transport are also connected with the Oyster card which is used instead of cash and the paper tickets. Oyster cards can be used with any of mode of public transport apart from the taxis.

The iconic London buses is great for tourism as they journey to nearly every location and attracti20170406_122541.jpgon in the city. Each driver or conductor (which some buses have) are trained very well to answer any enquiries from tourists. London buses are also very easy to ride as you will just tap your oyster card or credit/ debit card upon entry. You may ask the conductor or driver for assistance  whilst audio and visual aid are also available to determine the current location. Like many cities across the world bus journeys are determined by the number and destination at the front of the bus. Be aware that London buses no longer accepts cash and tickets (fares) must be bought before including oyster card credit unless you are using your contactless enabled debit/credit card.

Underground (tube) in my opinion is more comprehensive than its European equivalent, it is a quick and convenient way of getting around London especially for longer distances. The only downside could be in peak times (rush hours) around 07:00 – 09:00 / 15:00 -17:00 when the underground is jam packed full of people, which is undesirable to tourists. Oyster cards are used in tubes and are credited depending on the journey you take (not the time). The tube system is divided into zones, with zone 1 being the most expensive and outer zones being cheaper. The London underground basically covers 80% of the city’s area and there are many different lines specified by colour and special names (such as jubilee line, Piccadilly line and many more).  Many of the Underground stations are just a 15 minute walk form each other so going to your target attraction could be accessible by 2 or even 3 stations.

 

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Tube map on from tfl.gov.uk

 

The river transport called Thames clipper is an incredible way of getting around London however can be varied in destination and somewhat slower than other modes of transport. Nonetheless the Thames Clipper has the best views and go to the main riverside sites such as Westminster, Temple, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Greenwich and many more. The Thames Clipper can also use the oyster card but will be more expensive than other modes of transport.

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picture from thamesclipper.com

 

Taxis in London are one of the most iconic in the world, they are also known as the “London Black Cabs“, they can be taken and stopped anywhere in the streets or designated taxi bays.

Santander Cycles or better known as the Boris Bikes are available and used by both locals and tourists. All you will need is to find a cycle bay, input a credit card, take a bike and ride until your heart desires (or when you reach your destination). It is charged by how long you use the bikes, and when you are finished you simply find another bike bay and re- dock the bike so that the timer stops. The charge will be put on your credit card.

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As a tourist there is no need to rent a car as London has one of the most accessible public transport in the world. However walking is not advisable as London is one of the largest city in Europe.

Overall London is a very tourism friendly city in terms of transport, unlike many places around Europe, London have help present in every underground stations, whilst bus drivers would be happy to help with any knowledge they know. All transport is safe and very comfortable.

Reference

https://www.thamesclippers.com/
Tfl.gov.uk


Photos

thames clipper map  https://www.thamesclippers.com/
underground map tfl.gov.uk

(other photos are own)

 

Travelling around Vienna

Vienna is a relatively small but very accessible city, with no prior planning we was able to move around the city with ease. Like London and other big cities, ‘Vienna’ has five modes of transportation which connects the city together.

U-Bahn which is their underground or subway system, for me it was the most used transport system in Vienna, it went to all tourist attractions or at least a 10-15minute walk away. All trains came at a good 3-5 minutes apart, I didn’t experience them being overly packed like in London, Rome and Barcelona.

S-Bahn their overground train is usually used for longer distant journeys, this was only used when we arrived in Vienna and needed to transit from the airport to central Vienna, Pratastern station which ultimately linked us to the U-Bahn straight to our hotel.

Vienna also have their traditional tram system known as the Straßenbahn, which is the 6th largest tram system in the world. I saw newer modern trams in Vienna but they have also kept their traditional ones at smaller routes.

Vienna buses (autobus) are also very active around the city. As I didn’t really know the routes of the buses, I didn’t take them, as the U-Bahn takes you to plenty of the touristic places. Buses in Vienna are smaller than the usual, and I didn’t see no double decker buses.

Travel tickets can be bought at a fixed price, and they can be used on all Buses, Trams and U-Bahn underground, however extra will need to be paid for journeys to and from the airport.

Like all cities taxis are ever present, we used this as an emergency to the airport as we were a bit late. Taxis in Vienna are pretty easy to get and the driver we had understood English very well. Taxis are the easiest more comfortable way to get around however can be more expensive than other modes of transport.