Vivid headgears worn by Minorities @ Sapa Market

Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Mango dessert sold in Hoi Lau San @ Yau Ma Tei


Rare glimpse of Proboscis Monkey @ Bako National Park


A Blue & White (青花) Vase displayed @ Forbidden City

Vienna (Jul '10) - Overview

Went with my colleagues to Vienna from 09 Jul (Fri) to 11 Jul (Sun) to visit another group of colleagues who were having training there. Vienna (维也纳), or Wien in German, is the capital and largest city in Austria (奥地利), and is the host to many major International organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC.

Because of its musical legacy, Vienna is regarded as City of Music. The Historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

Leisure trip at a glance

Country: Republic of Austria
Period: 09 Jul to 11 Jul 2010
Flight timings:
09 Jul: OS 566, ZRH – VIE, ETD 1955 ETA 2115
11 Jul: OS 565, VIE – ZRH, ETD 1735 ETA 1900

Flight tickets: Return tickets at CHF 283 per person (inclusive of airport taxes)
Accommodation: Colleague's Apartment
Currency exchange rate: EUR 1 = SGD 1.72 (Jul '10 period)

There is no time difference between Switzerland and Austria; both countries are in Central Europe Time (CET) zone. No VISA application is required for Singaporean on short stay. Total damage was about SGD 400 per trip including flight tickets, transport, and food, excluding personal expenses.

Here's the overview of the trip itinerary:

Day 1 – Evening flight OS 566 from Zürich to Vienna Airport. Took S-Bahn from the airport to Praterstern station, then we walked to our colleague's apartment, and had a good rest there.

Day 2 – We proceeded to visit Vienna's weekend market: Naschmarkt. Next visited Vienna State Opera, Stephansplatz, St. Stephen's Cathedral and Mozart House. Had fulfilling lunch at Figlmueller, and then we visited Hofburg Palace, the Imperial Treasury and Maria-Theresein-Platz.

Day 3 – Woke up early and took train to Donauinsel station to admire Danube (多瑙河). Then we visited Schönbrunn Palace before having our late lunch. Took S-Bahn to Vienna Airport for our flight OS 565 back to Zürich.

Zürich Airport

Zürich Airport, or Flughafen Zürich in German, is the largest international airport in Switzerland, and is located 13-km north of downtown Zurich. The IATA code for this airport is ZRH.

Zürich Airport railway station is just beneath the terminal which offers convenience to passengers. The airport has become the largest hub for Swiss International Airlines, and obviously rows of check-in counters are reserved for their passengers (left photo below). For tech-savvy passengers, there's self-check machine available for them (right photo below).

Vienna International Airport

Vienna International Airport, or Flughafen Wien in German, is located 18-km southeast of central Vienna. This airport is the busiest and biggest airport in Austria. The IATA code for this airport is VIE.

Just like Zürich Airport, railway station is located underneath the terminal. Vienna Airport is the largest hub for their National Carrier: Austrian Airlines. It is not surprising that there are have many rows of Austrian Airlines check-in counters in Vienna Airport (left photo below). Interior design of the waiting area is contemporary and ergonomic; though small in circular shape, there is sufficient space for passengers to wait to enter the 8 boarding gates (right photo below).

For passengers who need to do last minute shopping on Vienna souvenir can get the favorite Manner wafers inside the transit hall (left photo below). Or to a have a coffee break before boarding, passengers can relax at the Starbucks Coffee (right photo below).


Transport Tickets

Transportation tickets can be bought within the city covering all modes of public transport for various time periods. The time period can be 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, 8-day climate card, weekly, and monthly. There is also single ticket that cost EUR 2 per trip.

We bought the 48-hours ticket for our travel period at EUR 10 (left photo below). This ticket is sufficient for us to travel within Vienna city which is within the same zone. To travel between two zones, like our trip to the Airport, we just need to get additional 1 zone at EUR 1.80 (right photo below) since our 48-hour ticket already covered another zone. Thanks to our colleague, otherwise we would be paying extra Euros for the trip to the Airport.

These tickets can be bought from the following places:

  • All advance sales points of the Vienna Lines
  • Vending machines in subway stations and the menu control is in many European languages including English
  • Online shops of the Vienna Lines
  • Most tobacconists.

Do note that there are no ticket barriers or inspections when entering the public transport mode; however ticket inspections can be carried out at random on pre-determined lines.

Getting in/out of the Airport

The easiest way to travel out and in the airport is to take the S-Bahn train located at the basement of the airport. However this line stops at every station which took almost half an hour to reach city centre. For passengers who want to save time, there is a faster line called City Airport Train (CAT). This CAT train took only 16-mins to Wien Mitte station close to city center but is more expensive which cost EUR 12 per trip.

We obviously choose S-Bahn upon arrival where we bought the train tickets from the vending machine (left photo below) at the airport station (right photo below). The ride during my travel period cost EUR 3.60. I believed the cost would have gone up now.

The S-bahn train we took from the Airport was an older Standard model (photos below) compared to the newer sleek train we took to the Airport (bottom photos).

Vienna Public Transport

Vienna has an extensive train and bus network, including S-Bahn train, U-Bahn train, local railways, trams and buses (click on photo below to enlarge).

Station platform is spacious and modern (left photo below) just like any European cities, while its train cabin is interestingly colorful (right photo below) which makes the cabin atmosphere very lively.


Colleague's Apartment

We were just in time to stay-in the apartment before my colleague went back to Singapore the week after. Our company had sent trainees to different countries; while some of us were sent to Switzerland, others were sent to United States and Austria. Of course, we don't have to pay for our accommodation in Vienna.

The apartment (right photo below) is located just 5-mins walk from the Praterstern station (left photo below), which comprised of a big living area, modern kitchen (bottom left photo) and a bed room (bottom right photo). And only one person was living in this nice and almost an 'IKEA showroom' apartment. This really envied us who were on training in Switzerland where 2 to 3 of us had to share an apartment.

Daily Breakfast

Unlike hotel, there is definitely no breakfast provided at my colleague's apartment. Conveniently there is a nice bakery located at the basement of Praterstern station (left photo below). The Ströck bakery (right photo below) was founded in 1970 in Vienna and has become one of the biggest bakeries in Austria.

Here’re what I got on my second day: simple cheese bread that cost EUR 1.65 (left photo below) and on my third day: a pizza bread that cost about EUR 2.20 (right photo below). These breads tasted great and would say that they are comparable to those French breads.

Interesting Observations

  • Visiting toilets in Vienna can be interesting. One observation was that there was net covered over the urinals. These unique urinals were found in the toilet of Imperial Treasury Museum (right photo).

    Not too sure if the effort of putting such covers is worth compared to the benefits they produce?

  • There was even themed toilet in Vienna (left photo below)! According to my colleague who went inside, there was even music played in the toilets and decorated like a bar (right photo below). However each entry is not cheap; costing EUR 0.60 per visit and that was about One Singapore dollar.

  • Drinking water, or thrink wasser in German, is available for free in major tourist attractions (photos below). Tourists can either drink directly or refill their water bottles.

Recommended Souvenirs

  • Being City of Music, there are many exquisitely made musical instrument miniatures and busts of great musicians sold in most souvenir shops (photos below).

  • When comes to food, the most popular souvenirs would definitely be Mozartkugeln by Mirabell (left photo below) and Neapolitan Wafers by Manner (right photo below).

    The Mozart Ball, or Mozartkugeln in German, was first created by Salzburg confectioner, Paul Fürst, in 1890 and named after the famous musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Due to its popularity, many confectioneries copied it and Mirabell was one of them. Now Mirabell has produces over 90 million Mozartkugeln per year and exports them to more than 30 countries.

    The Neapolitan Wafers are hazelnut-flavored chocolate-cream sandwich wafer, first made by Austrian company Manner in 1898. The basic recipe of the biscuit has remained unchanged to this day. Reason for the company bearing the logo of St Stephen's Cathedral is because its first store was opened just besides the Cathedral.

Travel Tips:

If you are a museum lover and staying in Vienna for at least 3 days, then it is advisable to get a Vienna Card.

This Vienna Card provides free admission to over 210 museums and sights, theatres and concerts, in shops, cafés, and restaurants. There are also discounts to public transport in Vienna.

Each card costs EUR 19.90 per adult.

Useful Links:

Official Vienna Guide:

Vienna City Guide:

Vienna City Walks:

Wikitravel – Vienna:

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