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Travel Mishap Took Me to Budapest

Not all of our travels were smooth as expected. Dutchie and I did experience travel mishaps from time to time. One of them took us to Budapest (Hungary) while our initial destination was Antalya (Turkey). It was unexpected with a bitter sweet travel experience being an Indonesian national.

Dutch and IndonesianWe planned to have eight days of beach holiday in Antalya. Everything went well at the beginning of our travel, from the check-in to finally boarding from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. It was a direct chartered flight from Arke, a well known Dutch travel agent, and we were scheduled to arrive in the afternoon. After we flew for a while, the pilot made an announcement he had to do an emergency landing in Budapest due to engines issues and we had to stay in Budapest. You can imagine how the passengers reacted after the announcement.

The first thing came to my mind was: I did not have visa to enter Hungary! At that time Hungary was not a Schengen* country thus as an Indonesian passport holder despite of my residency in the Netherlands, I still had to apply Hungarian visa prior arrival. I was freaking out while Dutchie was joking the Budapest’s immigration must had a sleeping bag for me to sleep over at the airport. Oh dear, the idea to sleep at the airport was interesting for a blog post now but that’s not a reality I wished to experience at that time. As we landed, my fear came true, the passengers who were almost all Dutch nationals allowed to pass the immigration except me. Dutchie was kindly accompanying me, but of course he had no choice unless if he wanted to see a grumpy face for the rest of the holiday later on. I told him I would request two sleeping bags in return to his loyal companionship.

Not allowed to pass the immigration

Listening to our Pilot’s briefing at the other side

The airline attendants helped us in arranging an emergency visa for me. It took hours to process it as the Hungarian authority had to check my profile for security reasons. It was dark when I was finally allowed to leave the airport. As we arrived at our hotel, we were immediately served with delicious meals that I could not remember all of their names. Goulash was certainly one of the meals. Our flight was scheduled to leave on the following day after lunch time thus we had half day to scroll around Budapest. The city was beautiful with unique architectures, but no Hungarians in Budapest were smiling, not even the staff at the hotel and restaurants. It was awkward. Imagine if you were smiling at someone who did not return your smile.

If you asked me at that time about my feeling over the travel mishap experience, I would said I was annoyed and there was slightly bitter feeling as an Indonesian national, as it seemed, I could not fully be trusted equally to the Dutch nationals. But at the same time I was glad I did not have to sleep at the Budapest’s airport. Indonesian passport ranked 60th according to Matador Network, it was not a powerful passport and I had to compromise it. Having an Indonesian passport made me experiencing additional travel challenges that remind me the importance to stay humble wherever I go. I had another story about visa related experience when preparing my future visit to the United States and it was related to human kindness and trusts. Please stay tune on my future post 🙂



*Schengen is an area within European Union (EU) where some European countries agreed that their citizens and Schengen visa holders are free to travel in and out of this zone as one single country sharing equal international travel rights. However, not all EU countries joins the Schengen area. United Kingdom (UK), for instance is a European Union state member but it is not joining the Schengen agreement. My resident permit visa from the Dutch authority allows me to travel within Schengen areas without necessary applying for additional visa, however it would not be the case as if I wished to visit UK. List of of Schengen countries are available in this link: Schengen Visa Countries List. Hungary joined the Schengen area in December 2007, my travel mishap occurred in June 2006.

Submitted to Monday Escapes #19



  1. Crossing boarders can always impose a challenge – of course depending on nationality. Schengen has made it easier to travel within Europe after the first entry. You experience with Budapest was the same as mine. Beautiful architecture, but no smiles.

    • Schengen area is certainly a clever innovation to ease travelers and citizens, and no costs for border patrols. Unfortunately it is different situation now, I hope the EU will find fair solution for the refugees (sorry, it leads to different topic). Indeed, Budapest has beautiful architectures – regardless the no smiling people, it is still a beautiful city 🙂 Thank you Otto!

  2. Some scary experience Indah. That’s a part of travelling I believe. You are always prone to many sorts of risk.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I guess it is and now I know there is an emergency visa for such situation! I thought I would be followed around by security guards afterwards 😀 but I guess they trusted me that I still wanted to visit Turkey instead of staying in Budapest 🙂 Thank you for your kind thought, Anoop!

  3. This was indeed a bit of an unpleasant experience but in the end you did get to see and get a feel of Budapest. I’m sure you could handle it if you had to sleep in the airport, roughing it out 😉 Such a pity to hear the Indonesian passport is so low on the list. It must be frustrating at times to organise visas for travel. I have an Australian passport and usually it’s not much of an issue getting a visa for many countries, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

    • Australian passport is certainly on high ranks and easier to travel around the world. The trouble of having Indonesian passport, I can’t travel on last minutes basis, everything has to be planned as I may have to apply visa prior arrival. It will be more a dramatic story if I were sleeping at the airport 😀 – it was great that there was still an emergency visa to be issued in an airport, I had no idea such thing existed 🙂

  4. It really feels awkward when someone doesn’t return the smile 😦 More so when you’re in a new country and especially in your case, after much trouble and a tiresome wait, you’re allowed to enter. But, as Anoop has said, it’s a part of travelling. One positive point is you got to visit the city… 🙂 Beautiful pictures as always… 🙂

  5. Well…I guess the most important thing was to land safely. 🙂 Your comment about people not smiling at you made me laugh a little……I am a smiler (being American…you know…we smile at strangers a lot)…but the Italians never smile back…they just look at me like I am kinda crazy…..maybe it was just a cultural thing? ANYWAY….glad to know that trip ended up in a safe way.

    • You are so right, I was worried more on the visa issue than safety back then! One thing I remember the plane was flying smoothly and the pilot was very calm when announcing that we had to land in Budapest. He was good in calming the passengers 🙂
      Oh, I just read from Ron’s comment, that actually no smiles are common in Budapest, the city used to be called as City of Suicides as well. It was an interesting history. I was not aware the Italians were not smiling back! Well, at least the men would do so to the ladies, I guess 😀

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