Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ksamil Travel Tips

I always start out every blog entry with an apology for not updating this more often. Its serioulsy been like a year. I'm alive, I've been busy, etc. This is not an apology. My life is generally pretty boring and I'm generally pretty lazy, so there you go. Instead of a life update, I figured tourist season is approaching quickly, so it might be a good idea to let everyone in on some tricks of the trade when it comes to visiting Ksamil.
When to Visit:
From May to September the weather is usually good enough for swimming. I would generally try to avoid August, the busiest time.
Getting to Ksamil:
Step 1-Get to Saranda
Step 2- From the main bus station in Saranda walk towards the Sea. The Ksamil bus stop is directly across from the synagogue ruins.
Step 3 - Wait for a Bus. The permanent bus schedule is 7, 9, 11, 1, 3, and 5. Busses leave Butrint on even hours last bus at 6. Ksamil is on the Saranda-Butrint route. There are usually more busses, one running every hour in the morning, but these can be a gamble. There are also random furgons at random times. If a bus/furgon says Qafe Bote or Konispol, it will also take you to Ksamil/Butrint.
***Notice step 3 is "wait for a bus" it is NOT "get a taxi." The tourist taxi price is 1,000 leke. The bus is 100 leke to Butrint and 80 to Ksamil. I guess if you want to get a taxi, its your prerogative, but you've been warned. If you really, really need a taxi walk down to the taxi stand across from the Hotel Butrinti in Saranda. The taxis there are generally cheaper, but no promises.
Before you get to Ksamil:
Go to the bank. Also, if you want, buy me presents. But, seriously, go to the bank. In theory we have a bank in Ksamil. As of now, the ATM has never worked. Not for one minute. So, bring money. You're going to love Ksamil so much that you're going to want to stay longer. That's just how it is. Plan ahead.

Once you're in Ksamil:
Where to Stay: If you're not staying with me, I reccomend you stay at Tani's Guest House. Its on Tani is pimp, plain and simple, and speaks fluent English. Tani's is located off of the third square. Its the last bus stop in Ksamil, at the Tirana Bank. From the bank, walk west and turn left on the dirt road between Bar Ledio and Hotel Joni.

Where to beach: The beaches all over Ksamil are great. I have my favorites, though. The Tre-Ishjut beach is my second home in the summer. To get there: get off at the Tirana Bank, walk west up the hill, past the post office. Turn right on the first paved road. Turn left on the last road, by the cultural center. Not the paved road, the dirt one. Continue west until you hit sand. Throughout Ksamil, beach chairs run 200 leke for the day and dolphin paddle boats 600 leke an hour. Other beach locations are on a need to know basis. If I run into you in Ksamil, you can ask. If you have a car and will take me with you, I'll tell.

Where to eat: All the beach-side cafes are good. My favorites are the Tre-Ishjut (don't miss the mussels in the shell...ah-maz-ing) Belinda restaurant, just north of the tre-ishjut and the restaurant just north of Belinda's, at the begining of the promenade. I can't remember its actual name, but the food is awesome. At night, Papi's at the Hotel Joni is a favorite and Pizzeria Xheni across from Hotel Joni is also good. I happen to not recommend the boat restaurant floating out next to one of the islands.

Where to drink: Tani's bar. See above directions to Tani's Guest House. There are two or three discos in Ksamil. That's not really my thing, so I stay away. If that is your thing, I recommend you stay in Saranda and go to the big discos there.

I think it goes without being said, but this is the internet, so I'll say it: These are just my opinions. I'm obviously biased and want to promote the businesses and business owners that have been good to me over the last two years. This is in no way a complete list of all the good things/places/etc in Ksamil. Just a few good natured suggestions.
See you this summer!