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Holiday in Ukraine

Ukraine Travel Tips

Holiday in Ukraine has "put" together some useful advice for travelling within Ukraine

Safety!  Ukraine is generally a safe country to visit however. Kyiv and other big cities of Ukraine are usually safer than the smaller towns. You will find the city center is safer  than the outlying districts. Keep your valuables at the safe place, and always carry your vailables somewhere in your inside pockets. Wearing a security belt while traveling is also a good idea. Keep photocopies of your documents (passport, drivers license) in a safe place just in case if the original would be lost or stolen. Don't flaunt a lot of money around in public places and try not to walk alone late at night. Don't open the door if you are not expecting anybody. If you are going to do business here, learn the language! But in general, just use your common sense, like you would while travelling to any other country.

Medical care In Ukraine Medical care is limited. The availability of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics has improved, However because of the economic problems within Ukraine, it is becoming more and more common to be asked to purchase the basic medical equipment such as disposable needles, cotton wool, etc.with.doctors and hospitals often expecting immediate cash payment for health services. It is important that you arrange medical insurance prior to you trip to  Ukraine, because and let us be honest 'accidents do and will happen' 

Money The Ukrainian hryvnia (usually pronounced gry-vnya instead of  the correct hryvnya, or even just greev) is divided into 100 kopecks Coins come in denominations of one, five, 10, 25 and 50 kopecks, plus one hryvnia. Notes come in one, two, five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 hryvnia.In some places, people quote prices in rubles instead of hryvnia. Don’t be confused; it’s just force of habit. It’s virtually impossible to buy any hryvnia before you arrive.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are all over the place in Ukraine The best way to manage your money in Ukraine is to simply take it out of your account in hryvnia. Cirrus, Plus, Visa, MasterCard/EuroCard and other global networks are all recognised. Bankomats, as ATMs are known locally, are also found in major airport terminals, hotel lobbies, central post offices as well as on the street. At Boryspil airport there are several in the arrivals hall however it is advisable to withdraw a minimum amount from these as the exchange rate is not as good as you will get from another ATM somewhere in Kiev. Your own bank will likely charge you a small fee for taking out foreign currency; check with it before leaving home. 

Always telephone your bank and inform them that you are travelling to Ukraine and will be using the card(s) there. This is precautionary because as a security measure your bank may suspect fraudulent use of your card and the ATM will 'Keep it'

 Travellers cheques should be avoided, or be brought only as a backup. It’s relatively hard to find banks that will accept them and the process is lengthy, involving lots of paperwork. If you must use them, take Thomas Cook, American Express or Visa cheques in US dollars. Cheque-friendly establishments include branches of the nationwide chains Raiffeisen Bank Aval or UKRExim Bank. Expect to pay 2% commission.

My Advice Would Be

1) Apply to your bank for a secondary Debit Card ( VISA Electron will be OK ) or apply for a Prepaid Credit card 

2) Get Internet Banking, This will allow you. in the event of losing one card or having problems with a card to transfer funds to another card

3) Arrive with 200-400$US allowing you to get some local currency when you first arrive and then use your cards to withdraw from an ATM. You get a better rate of exchange

* But please remember to inform your bank you will be in Ukraine


Electric currant Electrical appliances here operate at 220V. Plugs and wall sockets differ from North America and the U.K., being of the European two pin style. So, don't forget to bring an International Power Adapter and a power converter. For valuable equipment, you may consider bringing a surge protector. Ukraine uses more than one type of outlet configuration: you could find European outlets (new) and old Soviet type, the difference is in the diameter of the pins.(European pins are thicker then the Soviet type ones). And do not be surprised if the electricity suddenly goes off!

 Ukrainian Telephone Number. You might find it useful if you are already in Ukraine, or planning to visit our country any time in the future. It is quite possible that you will need to make a phone call in Ukraine during your stay, so ensure your cell phone is 'unblocked' or arrive with a second cell less expensive phone that is unblocked . Purchase a Ukrainian SIM card and have a Ukrainina telephone number ( cost about $2) this will save you money.

Water It's not recommended to drink tap water in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine Always buy bottled water for drinking. You should be aware that some bottled water from the smaller Kiosks can be counterfeit and not the authentic product. The brand BonAqua or Morshins'ka seems to be the best bet as far as getting the genuine product.

Transportation  Public itransport s cheap and plentiful but, not to the same standard as we as in America Great Briton and Europe but accept the differences and enjoy the experience! Kyiv has the 3rd oldest subway system of all former Soviet countries and is the deepest in the world with the longest escalators. A visit to Kyiv is not complete without a tour of this beautiful and very impressive subway system. Travel on the subway is safe and inexpensive and certainly convenient, but beware of the “pick pockets” they are plentiful and in abundance on Kyiv subway

Buses and streetcars are also available however it can be difficult if you do not know which bus or streetcar to catch and even more difficult if you are not fluent in Ukrainian or Russian. Tickets can be purchased  at bus stops or once you are on board. Be sure to punch the tickets at one of several punch a machines available on board. Failing to do this could result in delays or even a fine. 

Taxis are plentiful and are comparatively inexpensive. in larger cities official taxis will have markings similar to North American taxis complete with a meter. Just about any vehicle in Ukraine qualifies as a taxi. For a small fee most drivers here will be happy to pick you up and take you to your destination if it is on their way

Ukraine is 7 hours ahead of USA Eastern Standard Time, 2 hours ahead of Great Briton and 1 hour ahead of Europe  

If buying Gold, antiques, coral, icons, furs and caviar, valuable paintings, you will need a special document from the local authorities to avoid any problems with customs when leaving Ukraine.To export any antique items and/or works of art the permission of the Ministry of Culture must be obtained. In addition to samovars, paintings, and rugs, this restriction applies to collections or separate works of fine, applied, and folk art, archeological and numismatic items, valuable musical instruments, gold, silver, precious stones, hand-woven carpets, manuscripts, books published before 1966, and furniture made before 1945.

Shopping Souvenir items to purchase range from vodka and champagne to embroidery, lace, hand-painted lacquered boxes (Palekh), wooden nested dolls, wooden spoons/bowls and carvings, perfumes, amber, kilims, stamps and books. Some bargaining is expected at outdoor bazaars and when purchasing from artisans, but not in stores with set prices

Alcohol Throughout the country alcohol is quite inexpensive and easily accessible. This country is zero tolerance country, do not drink and drive. The fines are substantial and you are never sure what may happen in such incidences with the police.