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Money in Belarus can be confusing and difficult to deal with. The most striking thing is that they have NO Coins. You need a good-sized wallet if you are travelling here. Credit cards are not widely accepted, so it's loads of paper to deal with. There are 2 other issues to deal with. All currency was revalued in 2000 and the date is on all notes (please see the pictures). Also the currency is not convertible. You can get a small amount of money changed at the airport and then withdrawal money in major cities from ATM's. Outside of large cities, it is cash only! You cannot change the money once you leave, so don't change that much!
Also be careful with the exchange rate. Belarussians, outside of taxi drivers, are honest, but you want to know what you are spending.
1 United States Dollars = 8,744 Belarus Rubles (BYR) as of June 2013
Updated Jun 16, 2013
Well, this is something I didn't like about people in Belarus. They still have a typical communist mentality. For example, when I came to the front desk agent in a hotel in order to check in, they all set down and didn't even think about getting up. They set during the whole conversation, and I had to stand. In addition, when you go to shops you can expect exactly the same situation. You can stay there for hours and look around and they won't approach and say: "May I help you?" untill you ask them for help. Well, maybe it's not that bad but still I think they should smile a bit more and try to be kind.
Written Apr 5, 2006
If you want to go to Belarus you have to collect your Visa in an Belarussian embassy in advance. There is absolutely no chance to get into Belarus without a Visa.
If you want to stay longer than 72 hours take care about the regulations.
It might be necessary that you registrate at the police office.
If you want to travel through Belarus you need a transit visa.
The border crossing can take a lot of time.
So be patient and don't forget to be friendly to the officers!
Perhabs you have to fill out an decleration for the toll!
IMPORTANT: Count your money before the border crossing. So you don't have to count in front of the officers. Fill in the right sum of money.
Written Jan 1, 2006
I was alerted to this custom by a note on another travel guide site and was amazed to see it is true.
For some strange reason, Belarussians often squat in the street whilst waiting for a bus, or to meet someone etc. I know they don't have a lot of benches in public places, but you just try this position - it hurts! They seem to sustain it for minutes on end. I saw a soldier at the border squatting and the guy in the photo was a worker at a summer camp.
After using the somewhat primitive toilet facilities (a hole in the ground) for about a week, my wife decided that the squat solves two problems: It provides a means to sit without a bench. It also is good training for the necessary position to perform bodily functions in the aforementioned toilets!
The Belarus Squat. Watch out for it...
Updated Aug 19, 2005
We soon discovered that like their neighbouring Russians, people of Belarus drink vodka to celebrate special occassions.
Our friends introduced us to this custom with a baptism of alcoholic fire! The vodka is poured into a shot glass (neat) and then a toast is made and the vodka is downed in one! The glass is NOT smashed by throwing it into the fireplace as in Russia, they can't afford to do that in Belarus. Instead, it is quickly refilled ready for the next toast! Incidentally, after the first vodka, you will find your hosts will toast to anything: a dog barking, the door closing, grandad burping... it really doesn't matter what!
It is a custom that is a lot of fun, but take note of how they drink in Belarus, after each vodka you MUST eat immediately. There will be some bread, meat or something on the table to accompany the vodka. Just follow the locals and be wary of your limits!
Written Aug 19, 2005
I.m not a real fan of such kind of travelling.But since i didn.t have a big choise,i had to stay in the tent.
We found a spesial place for tents, around 3-5km from Novogrudok.It.s not for free, but it.s very ,very cheap.and it has toilets,places for fire(which u use for cooking)and u can get a shower somewhere surround it.The landscape was imazing.and even I was enjoyed our staying there:)
Written Mar 15, 2005
If u decide to visit Belarus,u should visit Novogrudok .This small town,which used to be a a capital of Polish -Lithuanian county and a popular center in the Middle Ages, famous for it.s chivalrous festival now,which take place every year in the sammer.There u can find the highest sport of Belarus and enjoy the vew of nice landscape.
We enjoyed the time during the festival, it.s very nice to walk around the town,because ,just like with help of magic stick it turning into a middle aged city.U can see proud ladies in nice dresses, knights with swords.U can hear beautifull music and songs from that time(like "Nightwish " and "Blackmore night").
Written Mar 15, 2005
Belarusians have a fancy for gathering mushrooms and berries. It has always been a very popular activity. Approximately in the middle of June the season starts, and hundreds of people go to forests all over the country's territory. If you occasionally see a woman (or man) rambling through the woods with a wicker basket in her hands, be sure that is a real mushrooms-hunter. There are about 1000 species of mushrooms growing in Belarusian forests, among them more than 200 are eatable. Many different meals can be cooked with mushrooms, that is a notable part of national cusine. The most widespread berries are strawberry, bilberry, blackberry, and raspberry. Jams made of them are delicious...
Written Aug 25, 2002
Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Shagall - the most famous XX century Belarusian artists. This work is 'Blue Rider' of Wassily Kandinsky.
Unfortnately, due to the communist ideology pressure, they had to leave the country. Most part of their creative life they lived in Europe.
Written Aug 25, 2002
The sample of Belarusian pottery - the oldest kind of handycrafts on the Earth. This particular pottery is called 'chorna' (black).
Written Aug 25, 2002
1 Review and 8 Opinions "Intourist" hotels always were the best hotels in the USSR. Therefore for any foreign tourist...
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