When we visited Orsha, our friend was able to take us everywhere and explain a little about the town. She suggested that some people could hire a tour guide who would take you around the important sites of the town and explain the history.
A guide will cost around $25. Unfortunately, I am not sure where you can engage one, or if there are english speaking guides available.
The Railway Station is the Jewell in the Crown of Orsha's establishments. It is very clean and modern, air conditioned and has an international feel to it. Amongst the shops, bars and banks inside, is a first floor restaurant. Follow the signs to it from the entrance.
Once upstairs, you will enter a spacious lounge. The restaurant is very clean with marble floors and wood pannelled walls. I was not aware of any air conditioning in the restaurant itself, but the high ceilings and marble floor kept the summer temperature comfortable. In the lounge area are two sofas, toilets and an impressive suit of armour. The toilets were very clean (a welcome change for Belarus).
The service at this restaurant was very good by Belarussian standards. The menu was a mix of international dishes and local cuisine but beware, it is all in Russian! During the evening, a fiddler came to our table and played a few tunes which was fun. Although the price is reasonable by western standards, not many townsfolk can afford to eat here. We were one of only two tables for the whole evening.
Favorite Dish: The salads are very good appetizers and are very fresh.
For main course we chose "Hunter's Meats" which consisted of a mix of meat, primarily elk, which was very tasty.
The kids had ice cream for dessert and we had coffee. The coffee is typical Belarus style: a bit like Turkish, strong with thick grounds at the bottom.
Local wine is reasonably palatable, but you must have a few shots of vodka for a really authentic evening!
If, like us, you take your car to Orsha you will probably need somewhere to park it at night. There is not much parking space near accomodations and for security it is best to use a secure car park.
Along the road that runs past the railway station, just behind the small market is a car park. For 2000 BYR a night, you can leave your car here. The parking is manned 24h a day. Just be careful entering/leaving the parking - the road has more craters than the moon!
The three realistic ways of getting there are: 1)train (from most cities of Belarus, from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany); 2) bus (only from major cities in Belarus); and 3) your own car (if you are not afraid of horrific road conditions). No rail passes valid, but rail tickets are more than cheap.
Orsha and Belarus in general is a very safe place to visit and the people are very friendly. The dangers here are no different from anywhere else in the world.
When visiting the large market, be very careful of your money as this is a popular place for pickpockets to operate.
At night, some of the local drunks can get a bit rowdy. Be careful going out alone, westerners already stand out from the locals and Belarussians think we are all rich. They are pretty harmless really, but best to avoid them.
The Belarus Rouble is available in note form only, so it is common for people to walk around with a fat wad of cash (worth about $5). Euros and Dollar bills stand out, so dont wave them around unless you are changing money at the bank - keep them in your pocket.
You will not have problems with basic things, but if you require special batteries, professional film or something of the kind - you'd better take it with you from your home-country or from any other major city you visit. There're no great specialist photographic shops in Orsha.
Miscellaneous: ATM vs cash vs travelliers' cheques: People, do take my advice, take cash. ATMs are really infrequent in Belarus apart from Minsk.