Tipping Servers

Do you tip?

Tipping is not our culture from where I come from. Here, it is known as the Service Tax. But watch this video below and see how a couple of guys surprised their servers with a $200 tip.

Would you tip? Why?

Swiss Bliss Day 1 (Part 2)

TGV Lyria

Train travel is surprisingly easy when in Europe. Take for example the Paris to Switzerland’s TGV Lyria. You get to choose from Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Basel or even Zurich. All departing from Paris. We took the noon train from Paris to Lausanne. The journey lasted a little over three hours. Passing through French towns such as Dijon, Frasne and Vallorbe in Switzerland.


Stepping out from the train, we were greeted by the fresh air of the Swiss. Most likely due to psychological rather than real reasons, we felt refreshed. Compared to Paris, Lausanne seemed like a small town. We located the travel information counter who redirected us back to the ticketing counter for our Swiss Pass. As noted earlier in one of my previous posts, the Swiss Pass is by far the most economical ticket during my stay in Switzerland. We saved about CHF450 per person, not inclusive of time that would be wasted on queuing and asking around.

The Swiss Pass is sold at the TICKET counters, not the TRAVEL counters

After checking into the hotel which was just located opposite the Lausanne train station. We had half a day left to explore Lausanne. Everyone got their walking shoes on as we headed to Fondation de l’Hermitage. If you had done your research, you would know that Lausanne is situated on a slightly hilly side. That was never more apparent than the steep slope we had to climb to get from the train station level up to the Eglise Saint-François level to catch our #16 Bus.

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Monopoly In Real Life

Remember the boardgame Monopoly that you played when you were a kid, or probably still playing now? It had never crossed my mind as to where the original places on the board were located. The answer : Atlantic City. And since Atlantic City is like a billion miles away from where I am right now, I bring to you an interesting blog post by scoutingNY. He went and captured all the properties on the board in REAL LIFE.

Minimalist Design by Louie Mantra

Minimalist Design by Louie Mantra

Real Life Monopoly by scoutingNY


Swiss Bliss Day 1 (Part 1)

Blink and I am back from another Europe trip again! Instead of jetting from one place to another like last year’s Eurotrip, this time around, I’m focusing on one country only — Switzerland. Unfortunately, there is no direct flight from Malaysia to Switzerland, so we will have to make do with an open jaw arrangement. Flying in from Paris and flying back from Frankfurt.

Airbus 380

One of the reasons I chose to fly in from Paris was because of this. The Airbus 380. In case you have been living on the other side of the moon, the Airbus 380 is the world’s largest commercial airliner. We managed to get seats on the upper deck. The leg room was much better than the one we had last year. Another plus point was the lack of turbulence and engine noise, probably from the fact that we were sitting a fair distance from the fuselage.


Paris’s Charles de Gaulle still had the same decor as last year and their baggage system left a lot to be desired. Although we were the only arrival, it took ages for our luggage to appear on the carousel. I am guessing it must be the distance from the plane to the main terminal. Paris was only a stopover while we wait for the TGV Lyria to Lausanne which leaves Gare du Lyon at noon. It was only 8am by the time we sat down on the bus heading towards Gare du Lyon.

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Swiss Pass Addendum

Forgot to make a conclusion for the previous Swiss Pass post.

From what I have gathered and experienced whilst travelling in Switzerland, if you’re going to the mountains, then it’s better to get a Half-Fare Card. If you’re planning on visiting museums and travelling around the country, the Swiss Pass would be your choice. This is not an either or question, you need to list down a few of the possible travel routes, calculate the amount and then decide.

Feel free to add your views or comments, or if you have any questions, I will try my best to answer them.

Swiss Pass

Switzerland is an expensive country to travel. Lucky for us, they have this wonderful package for all would-be travellers to this country of theirs — the Swiss Pass. Unfortunately, the Swiss Pass offers numerous options, including the Swiss Pass, Swiss Flexi Pass, Swiss Card and the Swiss Half-Fare Card, making your selection a major dilemma.

While I was researching for my trip, I found out that there are people from around the world equally perplexed with the Swiss Travel System. I am, by no means an expert, having only been there once, which was just a few weeks ago. Neither did I visit all the various places offered by the Swiss. But I hope my insight (from the POV of a fellow traveller) would provide some assistance in your choice.

Having said that, the best way is to list down all your likely travel routes and calculate them one by one. Because one man’s meat might be another man’s poison. There are just too many variables during the calculation. I hope that after answering a few questions posted here, you could come to a decision without having to go through some mathematical equations.

For discussion purposes, I have only included the Swiss Pass and the Swiss Half-Fare Card. The rest of the options are pretty much self explanatory on the Swiss Travel System website.

First up, a few questions to ask yourself.

1) Duration

This is a major factor when it comes to deciding which pass to buy. The Half-Fare Card (HFC) lasts for a month at a price of CHF120 (in 2013), and as the name imply, you pay half-fare for all public transportation in Switzerland, including the privately owned funiculars, cable cars and trains.

As for the Swiss Pass (SP), it offers a few choices, including a 4-day, 8-day, 15-day, 22-day and a 1-month pass. So if you are planning on a shorter trip, you could choose accordingly.

IMHO, those that could afford a month of stay in Switzerland would be pretty flexible with their schedules and the HFC will definitely pay itself during that period of time. I bought the 15-day Pass for my 13-day stay in Switzerland

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