I came to Munich for the Oktoberfest. Joining the Oktoberfest is one of the top items on my bucket list because it is something that I want to experience in my 20s.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival. It is held in Munich, Germany each year from mid/late September to the first weekend in October. I know the name ‘Oktober’ fest is a bit confusing where it actually begins in September. I don’t like beer too much – what I really want is to experience the super lively atmosphere in one of the world’s craziest event.
On Saturday afternoon, I reached Munich and bought a set of Dirndl (Oktoberfest costume) here. Although it is not mandatory, it is more fun if you wear the costumes since many people will wear them.
It costs €50 for a full set of Dirndl, i.e. blouse, dress and pinafore (luckily I brought my own black flat ballet shoes). A German guy told me that it is very expensive for that quality, but well, who asks me to buy it last minute? 😣
On the train to Munich
I met a few Germans on the train to Munich. They live in a small town in Germany and come to Munich for only one day to join the Oktoberfest. They were very friendly and invited me to go with them. I was so happy and thought I will be able to go with the locals.
Since I was carrying a big backpack, I can’t follow them directly so I took her phone number and promised that I will Whatsapp and look for them later. But later I realized that it is an impossible mission.
Oktoberfest was a lot bigger than I thought. The internet data connection was extremely poor in this area. I heard that almost everyone lost their connection too. So, I tried to call one of them but no one picked up (I can understand!).
Finally, she sent me a message regarding the tent they were at but I couldn’t find them. The place was too big. I was a bit disappointed but anyway, I am grateful as they were very nice and gave me a free German beer on the train!! 🙂
Inside the Oktoberfest (First Experience)
I want to emphasise this many times: Oktoberfest is a very, very, very crazy beer festival, especially on Saturday night. Well, maybe I should use the word ‘insane’. It was extremely busy and noisy. Almost everyone was drunk and some people lay on the floor. I saw two people were fainted and lay on the floor, surrounded by many policies. It was incredibly messy…
But Oktoberfest is not only about beer as it is also one of the largest fun fairs in the world. There are many interesting rides including the roller coaster, mini-games and so on. It is a heaven for kids if you ignored the drunkards. I looked at others playing those games which were fun until I noticed that a guy followed me. 😨
It was obvious that he followed me because he is an Indian (there were not many Indians here) wearing a pink colour T-shirt. He wanted to talk to me at first but I ignored him. I don’t know why he followed me; I don’t think he can do anything to me because there were so many people here. Yet, I felt very uncomfortable so I pretended as if I was not aware, and then disappeared in the crowd when he was looking at the other direction.
Overall it was a terrible first experience in the Oktoberfest. Luckily I stayed 4 nights in Munich so I can choose another day to try again. It was the first time in Europe that I was desperately looking for friends. Usually, I am fine being alone, but I think it is safer if I can find someone going to the Oktoberfest with me. I couldn’t find anyone in the end.
Munich is not only about Oktoberfest…
Ok – now I want to change the topic because Oktoberfest was not the only thing that I have experienced in Munich! I went to the free walking tour that started at Marienplatz. The tour was very good, though I was a bit distracted because I hope I can meet someone to go to the Oktoberfest with me.
I met a gal from San Francisco who is a student in Spain. She was a very good companion but unfortunately, she was leaving Munich in the evening on the same day. I quite like her. She gave me a big hug in the end.
We went to the tower of the Church of St. Peter which offers a great view of the entire city centre. Admission is €3. You have to climb 300 steps to the top of the tower, so I would not recommend this to senior citizen. More info is here.
I had the famous white sausage in the food market. Then I find out that I do not like white sausage and I prefer the red sausage.
Munich is a cute city. It is a good place to visit even without Oktoberfest.
Alright – let’s get back to Oktoberfest XD
Still, the main objective to visit Munich was Oktoberfest. 😝 After the horrible experience on Saturday, I decided to go again on Monday. It was a pleasant experience this time.
I went to a few tents and finally stopped at this tent, Hofbräu Festzelt (HB). The German guy told me that this tent is popular with tourists and he doesn’t know why. I chose this tent because I saw more Asians here, so maybe it was easier to start with.
You can go to the Oktoberfest in the morning, though the atmosphere is more lively after 3pm. Before you sit down, it is better to ask the waitress if anyone has reserved that seat until late night (it is indicated for the tables at some places, but some are not). By the way, I did not make any reservation. Usually, if you are going in a small group (3 people or less), you don’t have to make a reservation.
Enjoying the Oktoberfest (finally!)
I ordered the classic “Wiesn-Hendl” (grilled chicken) for €11.70. It was very delicious! And of course, I also ordered a glass of beer. They only serve one size and one type of beer that costs €11.60 per glass. The waitress told me that it is not normal without tipping, so I gave her €5. Later I realised that I gave too much because the tipping is usually 10-15% of the bill.
A fun fact: In each year Oktoberfest, about 70 million hector litres of beer are drunk and more than 500,000 chicken are eaten. 🐣🐥🐔
A few people talked to me and left. Finally, a German guy sat down beside me. He was alone too. His name is Ben and has a wife from Thailand. He taught me a lot of German things.
Learning the German culture
When you heard that music (I can’t recall what it is), you will notice some people raise their glasses and swing them. It is their tradition. Besides, when you stand up on a chair then you must finish your drink immediately. In the short video below, this guy just finished a full glass of beer and everyone cheers for him.
The female can stand up and drink too!! Yeah~~! Seriously, I can’t finish 1 litre of water immediately, let alone the beer… I really admire those who can do it!
Some waitresses sell small drugs and “Schnaps” (shots). Please, do not drink Schnaps if you are travelling alone! It is extremely strong according to the advice from the locals. Besides, the German guy told me that there are fewer people in Oktoberfest as compared to previous years – he suspects that is because of the tourism attacks that just happened recently (a few people died).
One annoying thing is that a drunk guy vomited on my legs, that was very disgusting! I knew that he drank a lot because he stood up on the chair at least twice…
Anyway, I am a drunkard too~~ 😝😝
I drank a glass of beer and shared a glass with a German. And then someone gave us half a glass for free because they can’t finish, so we shared again. So in total, I had 1.75 glass of beer in this Oktoberfest. My friend said that one glass of beer was bigger than my face!
An American lady came to me and asked if the German guy was making a move on me and if I need any help. I was touched. When you are in oversea, please be kind to others and ask people if they need any help.
After the Oktoberfest
I went to the Oktoberfest at about 12pm+ and went back to the hotel at 4 pm. I was drunk and was so scared that someone will take advantage of me on the way back to the hotel. It was about 10 minutes walking and I had no defence power at that time. My brain was conscious however my vision became blurry and my body was shaky. I fell down when I reached the bed at my hotel room… Luckily I booked a single room!
I wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on the next day and perhaps go to the Oktoberfest one more time in the evening… But I was exhausted. I had a very bad hangover on the next day. So I rest at my hotel for almost the whole day.
I spent the most money for my trip to Munich. The 4-night stay in Munich costs me €860 whereas the budget for my entire 2 months Europe trip is about €8600 (including flights and everything). The reason for the high spending in Munich is due to the popular Oktoberfest season as well as the single bedroom in the hotel (safer).
But to be honest, I think I spend too much for the trip in Munich. Well, it is one of the most memorable experiences in my life but there is much more thing you can do here. Also, I feel vulnerable when I am drunk, so I can’t really enjoy to the max when I am alone. In hindsight, I should have just visited Munich for 2 days in the weekdays, and spend my money and time in somewhere else.