aaus-list @ ukrainianstudies.org -- [aaus-list] Fwd: yet more on travel to Ukraine


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Travel info for Odesa (from R. Senkus; 1 of 3).-rd
==========================================================

British Foreign Office

                       Ukraine

                       Last Updated: 9/4/1999

                       British nationals visiting Ukraine require entry
visas. Visas should be
                       obtained before departure. Visitors must have medical
insurance to apply
                       for a Ukrainian visa and cover any medical costs that
might arise during
                       their visit.

                       There is a diphtheria epidemic in most parts of
Ukraine. The most seriously
                       affected regions are Khmelnitsky, Ivano-Frankivsky
and Lvivsky (all in
                       Western Ukraine). Do not drink tap water without
first boiling it. Consult your
                       GP about immunisation and other precautionary
measures. Visitors to
                       forested areas are advised to seek medical advice
about inoculations for
                       tick-borne encephalitis.

                       Muggings, thefts and car hijacking are increasing
throughout Ukraine. Be
                       vigilant and keep expensive possessions out of sight.
If travelling by
                       overnight train, secure the compartment door from the
inside by tying it
                       closed with wire or cord.

                       Carry your passport at all times.

                       British nationals intending to drive in Ukraine
should be in possession of an
                       International Driving Licence.

                       British Diplomatic Missions in Ukraine: contact details

                       Medical and inoculations advice: contact your GP.
Visa information available from the
                       relevant Embassy/Consulate in London. FCO Travel
Advice is also displayed on BBC2
                       CEEFAX (see p470 for details). NB: Whilst every care
has been taken in preparing these
                       notes, neither Her Majesty's Government nor any
member of the British Consular Staff
                       abroad can accept liability for injury, loss or
damage arising in respect of any statement
                       contained therein.




Rough Guide to UKRAINE

                         Travel Tips

                        Visas, Embassies & Border Crossings

                        Travellers who plan to enter Romania from Ukraine
                        should be warned about how professionally corrupt the
                        police there are : they make Romanian cops seem like
                        Dixon of Dock Green. Don't ever confide in, or even if
                        possible, reveal your presence to Ukrainian police -
                        that's the message we would send after being locked
in a
                        room and virtually forced to hand over cigarettes.
                        Neil Hughes, UK (Aug 98)

                        When foreign tourists enter Ukraine they are now
                        required to purchase insurance. In fact, they even
                        required me to do it on my last re-entry on week ago,
                        although I have a green card to work here. They say
that
                        anyone without a "diplomatic passport" must purchase
                        insurance. It's done at Passport Control and there are
                        varying levels. One - 10 days stay requires a
purchase of
                        US$7.50 and there are levels above that up to half a
                        year's stay.
                        Mark Wallem (July 98)

                        The British Embassy in Kyiv has new telephone
                        numbers: 462 001112/14/15/17; fax 462 0013.
                        Kevin Burden (July 98)

                        I found that applying for a Ukrainian visa in Moscow
                        was not a bad place at all. The staff there were really
                        friendly and helpful and it wasn't full either. The
hours
                        for visa queries are everyday except Sat and Sun, 9.15
                        am to 12.30. Telephone number for queries is 229 6922.

                        The fees are US$35 for four day processing and US$105
                        for express (one day). They also pointed me to a travel
                        agency where I got an invitation for Ukraine. To get
this
                        invitation I had to wait about half an hour and it
cost me
                        US$45.
                        Moritz von Buttlar (June 98)

                        Ukrainian visas from London embassy: Despite what the
                        embassy may say on the phone, and despite what it says
                        on their instructions that come with the visa
application
                        form, the embassy will accept a faxed personal
                        invitation from a Ukrainian which has not been approved
                        by the local VVIR office. I have done it and it worked.
                        The invitation must state that they will provide all
                        accommodation for specified dates and state that they
                        will guarantee your costs, etc. It helps a lot if the
                        invitation is in Ukrainian rather than Russian or
English.
                        Gareth Oubridge (Jan 98)

                        Get your visa before entering the country, recently
                        officials have been turning people without a visa away
                        at Borispol airport saying that the issue of visas
at the
                        airport on arrival is for emergency use only.
                        John Lough (Nov 97)

                        Travel Tips

                        Crimea has adjusted its time zone to that of the
rest of
                        Ukraine - dropping its insistence of following Moscow
                        time zone - so it is gmt+3 in summer. I also heard
                        unconfirmed reports while in Odessa that from
                        September 1st, 1998, a special permit is required for
                        foreigners who want to visit both southern Ukraine,
                        Odessa included, and the Crimea.
                        Panagiotis Antonopoulos (Sept 98)

                        Do not rely solely on travellers' cheques in the
Ukraine.
                        The only place where you have at least a small
chance to
                        get them cashed, is Kiev, but I had lots of problems.
                        Many wanted to have a document confirming that I
                        legally owned the cheques, or tried to deter me by
                        charting 10% commission, The only place where they
                        served me well (commission 3,5%) was a small
                        exchange kiosk on the ground floor of an office
building
                        at the corner of Vulitsya Khreshchatyk and vul
                        Instytutska, next to the metro station Maydan
                        Nezalezhnosti.
                        Harald Schubert (Aug 98)

                        Credit cards are making an appearance : it is now
                        possible to use them in many upmarket restaurants and
                        western-style supermarkets. An increasing number of
                        banks cash advances over the counter: among them the
                        banks in the foyer of the Hotel Rus and the Hotel Lybid
                        and the excellent Percom bank, on Sahaydachnoho. Take
                        the metro to Poshtova Ploscha or go to the lower
                        funicular station, turn left towards Podil and it's
                        immediately on your left. Queue at window 8 upstairs,
                        then collect your cash from window 10. The rate is good
                        and there is no commission. I saved US$65 on one
                        transaction over using the more ubiquitous Dendi Bank -
                        a bank apparently run by a restaurant chain.

                        Legbank also claims to offer cash advances on Visa and
                        MasterCard credit cards. There are branches at the
                        Apollo Restaurant, 15 Khreshchatyk; the Nika
                        supermarket at 2 Tarasa Shevchenko; 12 Shota
                        Rustaveli; 27 Zhylnska; Citi Trade House, 6
                        Rognedinska, Passage, 2 Zankovyetska - tel: 227
                        4132/9583.

                        I have also spotted a few cash (autoteller) machines
                        which will pay out cash on many western credit,
debit or
                        cash cards. There's one in the main lobby of the
central
                        post office on Khreshchatyk in Kyiv and another office
                        in the reception lobby of the Hotel Dnipro, at the
                        northern end of Khreshchatyk.

                        Western Union have also started advertising (tel 448
                        4422;fax 446 8279. Aval Bank (tel 295 6722/229 5236
                        also claims to offer credit card cash advances.
                        Kevin Burden (June 98)

                        St Mykhayl Monastery is apparently, like much of the
                        rest of historical Kyiv, being rebuilt and is due to
open
                        in 2000. The belfry was successfully reconstructed in
                        just a few months and opened by President Kuchma in
                        June, 1998.

                        The Western and Oriental Art Museum has just reopened
                        after a lengthy period of restoration and is
supposed to
                        be well worth a visit. I find the Russian Art Museum
                        particularly impressive and also manageable.

                        Transcarpathia is beautiful, especially in mid-winter,
                        but don't go expecting Alpine ski resorts. In fact,
don't go
                        expecting any services at all, whatever your travel
agent
                        or Ukrainian friend promises you. I would strongly
                        suggest staying in a resort like Mukacheve or Yaremcha
                        which are on main rail lines, so you can move on if
                        things fail to live up to expectations. I took my
family to
                        a "top resort" in the mountains, only to find little
no help
                        from the staff, and no way to leave.

                        The Republic of Crimea is now on the same time as rest
                        of Ukraine. Change money before you arrive - for some
                        reason, exchange rates are consistently 10% or so worse
                        than the rest of the country. This can seriously
dent your
                        finances if you find yourself having to change a lot of
                        money on arrival in Crimea. There also seems to have
                        been rampant hotel price inflation - if one hotel seems
                        extortionate, move on.

                        Sevastopol is no longer barred to foreigners, but is
still
                        swarming with naval offices and officers, both
                        Ukrainian and Russian. The sight of dozens of rusting
                        warships, frigates, destroyers and submarines laid
up all
                        around the harbour is a sight to behold, but I would
urge
                        caution here and in the rest of the town. The Black Sea
                        fleet is a source of tension between Russia and
Ukraine,
                        and you don't want to get caught up in the middle. That
                        said, I spent a very pleasant day there, eating and
                        drinking in cafes by the water's edge, and shuttling
back
                        and forth on the frequent ferry services.

                        Kharkiv : both times I have visited Kharkiv I have
really
                        enjoyed myself. The night train from Kyiv is one of the
                        smartest in the country and the journey is long
enough to
                        offer a good night's sleep without getting too
tiresome.
                        The city offers plenty to see and has a good buzz. The
                        centre is beginning to liven up with more bars and
                        restaurants opening up all over. The architecture is
                        impressive, the scale of the central square
imposing, the
                        parks very pleasant. But as much as anything, I have
                        enjoyed strolling in the parks, stopping for a drink
or for
                        an ice-cream and taking a ride on the long cable-car
run
                        through Gorky Park. One evening we discovered the
                        ruined remains of an outdoor, Olympic swimming pool
                        at the far side of the park. It's surreal and would
make a
                        great location for a rock video. At the northern end of
                        the park are some war memorials. There's a giant statue
                        of a bereaved woman, whose heart still beats, eerily.
                        But don't go without visiting Blahoveshchensky
                        Cathedral.
                        Kevin Burden (July 98)

                        A 20% value added tax was introduced in the Ukraine
                        on 1st October 1997.
                        John Lough (Nov 97)

                        The OVIR office based close to Metro "Palace Sportu"
                        (first floor in room number 2) in Kiev is not the
place to
                        extend your transit visa. However the OVIR office on
                        bulvar Tarasa Shevchenka 36 (Metro "Universytet")
                        will give you a 20 day extension (US$25 payable at a
                        bank on Tarasa Shevchenka). You need your visa and a
                        letter of confirmation from a private host. This was no
                        problem to organise - I went to the train station
and hung
                        out there until a lady approached me and accepted
                        accommodation on the condition that she supports my
                        visa. You have to take your host (passport) to OVIR
                        with a letter confirming accommodation.
                        Richard Lax (Aug 97)

                        The Western Union & Xchange Points office in Lviv,
                        responsible for handling travellers cheques
transactions
                        and credit card advances, has changed its opening times
                        to Mon-Fri 9 am to 6 pm, Sat 9 am to 3 pm. Lunch break
                        between 12 - 1 pm.
                        Ivan Jaselsky - UK (Aug 97)

                        The Slovakian/Ukranian border at Chop takes several
                        hours because the train must change wheels. Border
                        formalities are easy if you have a visa. My visa
cost me
                        about US$40 at the Ukrainian embassy in Prague.

                        The AT &T calling card is valid in the Ukraine and the
                        connection call is free even form the Grand Hotel.
                        Nuno Crisostomo (Aug 97)



                         For more news, views and the odd bit of gibberish,
                            drop in on the rec.travel.europe newsgroup.

                          For detailed up-to-date travel information check out
                                Lonely Planet's Destination Ukraine.










=============================================
	Roman Senkus
Editor, Journal of Ukrainian Studies
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1
	    Canada

voice: (416) 978-8669;  message: (416) 532-7367;
	fax: (416) 978-2672



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