Safety Tips in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    Smoking

    by Odiseya Updated Jan 30, 2016

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    Smoking is still popular past time in whole country. It is popular break during day and it usually connect with drinking coffee (espresso or homemade). Almost every table in cafes had ashtray.

    I understand your concern, believe me! I am non-smoker too! Even during summer is pretty hard to find smoke free indoor space, it could be done or at least not so bad especially in the morning and noon.

    On other hand, there was some restriction by law regards smoking in public institution, public transportation and all public open and closed space such as cafe, restaurants, pubs etc. and you can find there signs "forbidden smoking" or signs for places within establishment where smoking are allowed. The prices of cigarettes was in last decade goes up. There are lots of studies regards frequency of use of cigarettes and other tobacco products; knowledge and behavior regarding tobacco use, about role of media and advertising awareness of the existence of messages that do not promote the use of tobacco, availability of tobacco products, Exposure to tobacco smoke, availability school programs and quitting smoking, etc.

    Majority of citizens are nonsmokers but even is one smoker in room is enough to "spoil the party". Estimates is that third of population are smoker and if you carefully look in cafes you will notice that usually on one table is on smoker and at least 2-3 non-smokers. So, again, most people here don't smoke at all!

    In trains there are compartments for nonsmokers and for smokers and on window of compartments you can see signs but sometime people go in small corridor in front of compartments and smoke there. In wagons where is open space there no smoking. In couches (buses) and waiting room nobody smoke.

    Interesting is mention that I never witnesses that smoker in train or visitors in my home (or anybody else) light the cigarettes without asking presents is it OK with them and is there places there they can do it. I don't suggest that you always meet smokers with good manners but you probably will.

    All shops have signs for forbidden sell cigarette and other tobacco product to underage persons (under 18). On every package of cigarettes there is text about potential risk for health (there inscription: Latin, Cyrillic and English translation).

    During summer outdoor and terraces are great choice to escape the problem.

    Since 31 January 1982, a group of students and professors of the Medical Faculty in Tuzla, together with a handful of physicians founded the "Section for the fight against smoking." That was even earlier attempt even to prevent smoking then in rest of Europe. Medical students through his personal example have become drivers and carriers of actions of preventive measures in the fight against smoking, especially among children and youth in the former Yugoslavia. At they the suggestion 31 January was declared as "the day without a cigarette" and it has become the most massive preventive action in are of former Yugoslavia and all it still going on in those counties.

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    Watch your belongings!

    by Odiseya Updated Dec 1, 2015

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    Watch your belongings especially if you are in touristic areas like Sarajevo center, especially Baščaršija and around Mostar bridge and in trains when is big crowds. There is and professional thief but more is opportunity if your are careless.

    Fortunately, I usually find that people are helpful and I remember several occasion when people return my things or warn me to be carefully. People are friendly in general and they have empathy and will try to help you.

    On other hand, when is heavy rain and you are left your umbrella unattended in public spaces or even any kind institutions - then is your fault!

    If you notice that something missing, especially documents, recreate your previous journey till moment you know that you had with it. Ask in store or wherever you ware if you ware there. I notice many documents display on windows in stores, banks, cultural institution and if you are fail report in nearby police station.

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    Keep in mind!

    by Odiseya Updated Nov 6, 2015

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    1. Bosnia and Herzegovina touristic offer is not on high level in compare to other European countries but there are more places you could visit besides Sarajevo and Mostar bridge. There is good touristic sites that you could find online and they have at least English version.

    2. While you in any town you should find local touristic offices witch kind be hard to find because many locals don't know or care for it. Mostly there are in town center.

    3. Public transportation is efficient but without online sites. Trains ride are limited but cheapest way of traveling. Mostly bus or train station are without luggage storage.

    4. There no tourist traps! Still no enough tourist in country to local "entrepreneurs" bother with it. Still, I could imagine many things that could be miss leading that would be looks like "trap". It could come from great expectations and prejudice!

    5. It is nice to meet locals - well it is hard to do that since many migrations for every possible reasons you could imagine (sadly). That could be cause confusion due to asking questions about locations.

    6. Nature are fantastic but there are mines in some areas. Those area are former "line of demarcation" (front). There are signs and it is restricted area. Due to floods in 2014 some mines was shifted but there no place for panic. That is all under control by professionals.

    7. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not part of Schengen visa free travel zone. So, make sure prior your visit that you able to come into country without visa. Your Croatian visa doesn't apply on nearby countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    8. Our cafes and pubs don't serve food, at least wast majority don't.

    9. Some big landmarks like hotels, shopping malls or industrial complex is just it - monument to glorious past.

    UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

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    Electricity

    by Odiseya Updated Sep 15, 2015

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    Like in most European countries, in Bosnia and Herzegovina is in use voltage of 220 volts AC, 50 Hz, and the country uses European two-pin plugs. If your electric devises don't support it I advise you to bring and your adapter. I didn't sure where that you can find here. When I find out - I will let you know.

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    Weather

    by Odiseya Updated Jul 26, 2015

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    Used too Bosnia and Herzegovina belong to middle clime with four seasons. In last few years (especially 2014) something change and weather soon become part of everyday conversation. It become key factor in planning vacation. Winter and spring is more rainy, summer too hot and autumn start to look like May used too look. It is my favorite season now. No rain and is not too hot with starting cultural season is reason for local day trips.

    Winter nowadays are not so cold and more rainy or with low snow mostly. Springs are more rainy. Summer is very hot but it can be storm with hail. Autumn is more nicer I think for traveling around.
    Still, hard to predict weather too ahead.

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    International buses

    by Odiseya Written Jul 20, 2015

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    When I start to find out more about how to travel abroad independently (except for ex-Yugoslavia countries) I find out some unusual information. Namely, many buses for abroad don't departure or arriving from official city/towns bus station. Those are all legal bus company and from them you will find information on touristic offices on or next to official bus station, their official site and facebook profile/page and mostly from locals. I was surprised to find that! Initially I was think that this is isolated issues but it is global. Even those companies abroad start or end its journey of some bus parking space. I was used it several time and know many people that do that and it is fine and organized tour. It is initially hard to find information about bus companies.

    Those places where you wait your bus are usually main petrol station on main road. Reservation of ticket is via company, local transport or touristic office in person of from bus driver (after reservation by phone).

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    Visa for Bosnia and Herzegovina

    by Odiseya Updated Jul 18, 2015

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    Visa-free countries for Bosnia and Herzegovina are most European countries, holder of some diplomatic, official and special passports (Egypt) and business-civil passport (China) etc.

    Citizens of the European Union Member States, citizens of countries that signed Schengen Agreement and citizens of Andorra, Montenegro, Lichtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Serbia, Holly See & Switzerland can use their Identity Cards as a travel document to enter, exit and transit over BiH.

    It is best to check if you need visa for enter or transit trough Bosnia and Herzegovina within your national or our national Ministry of Foreign Affair.

    Interesting is that is suppose that even citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot enjoy in visa-free travel to most of world countries still it is easier for us to get somewhere then for some countries for their citizens to come here due lack of our embassy or any other form of representation office in most of world countries.

    Welcome any time in any case!

    I wish you nice vacation!

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    Tourist information

    by Odiseya Written Jul 8, 2015

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    If it had any possibility I would choose to go to Tourist organisation.

    As things-to-do I always try to find as much tourist information on spot. That means that I will search for any local touristic board or office, local news, adds, information about cultural and sport events, etc.

    There are few places (cities) that stand out with their tourism promotion such as Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar and Trebinje.

    As far I know every seat of municipalities (at least in Republika Srpska part of country) had their own tourist organisation where you could find printed maps, some useful brochures, information and at least basic souvenirs. The question is where they are!

    The first task for tourists is to find out which of many names on maps (particularly here on VT), is to distinguish: residential settlements such as cities, towns and villages, then names of hills, mountains and even rivers and then, what is touristic complex. Second, which of those residential settlements are seats of municipalities. For examples, Doboj is city like Banja Luka or Sarajevo. It is seat of Doboj municipality and wider Doboj region. Teslić is town, seat of Teslić municipality. Banja Vrućica is touristic complex within Vrućica village within Teslić municipality and is located next to Teslić. All that is part of wider Doboj municipality.
    Next, Trebava, Ozren, Krnjin and Vucjak (and many others) are mounts, mountains or hill complex.
    Stanisici, Banja Vrucica and Argela Vucjak are touristic complex (last one still not develop enough).
    You cannot know that from VT data base as for examples. for Vaduz, county of Vaduz etc. On my independent pages you will find detailed information.

    OK, there are and confuse with names because English version of names sometimes is not the same as original name. For examples, Banja Vrucica is actually Banja Vrućica etc. On my independent pages you will find original name (for Republika Srpska on Serbian Cyrillic too).

    This is important to know because if you planing to do independent trips it is much easier to figure out about public transportation system if you come to seat of municipality. There you will see local bus station, sometimes and train station and more about taxi services.

    Now, back to tourist offices. I just love them but still where are they?!
    I didn't find any of them on bus or train station except in Sarajevo. If you find some - write in comments, please!

    I find some tourist information offices in city centers but there are not widely know as in Banja Luka for examples. In smaller places hardly that locals will known or care for it. So, if you didn't find any public big sign for it there are big chance that you are not is seats of municipalities or town in matter of speaking.
    Some places has it own office, like Doboj which is officially city. Their touristic office is not easy to find even is city center. But if you don't pay attention for inscription around you and Banja Lukas offices can be challenge for you.

    I find great tourists boards across country and I am glad that more of them you could find on main bus or train station.

    Internet is great resources of course and there is very good touristic sites in country and presentation of it. Use it! Facebook is favorite national social network and great place to promote your business and find interesting information. Use it!

    I wish you nice vacation! Welcome any time!

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    Traveling by car

    by Odiseya Updated Jul 8, 2015

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    Traveling by car is most convenient way of transportation around country especially if you visit countryside. Some very attractive places within country, especially some natures gems are hardly reachable by public transportation.

    Mostly roads are not in good condition even is that changes on better. Besides roads reconstruction and landslides can be potential hazard on roads.

    Third problems are drivers. Sadly, some of them are arrogant and its maladjusted speed can put people in dangerous.

    There are signs on roads for speed and all necessary information. Within residential places need more precaution and in town you will see speed bumps and signs for school area.

    Sometimes semaphores and railways ramps are out of order. Pay attention on it!

    Roads, especially rural, are in bad condition and pay attention for serious damage on concrete.
    I see several smaller on road Teslić - Blatnica.

    Roads are usually narrow and it need to be careful. Highway are under construction and it was quite some time and only on small part of roads.

    Pay attention for pedestrians. Popular and very dangerous streets to cross is one part road Doboj-Rudanka and Banja Luka-Klašnice and Banja Luka - Vrbanja (part Zeleni vir) where many accidents happens in past.

    I wish you safe trip and nice vacation!

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    Be careful on railways

    by Odiseya Updated Jun 25, 2015

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    All railways line in country are electrify and even those line that temporary cut are dangerous. Some of rail crosses in countryside are not protected by proper sings and barrier even then you need to be careful! If somehow train stop in tunnel don't go outside. Maybe some electric cable is broke and it is high voltage. I friendly recommend you to don't walk trough tunnel also, they are dangerous like in all countries on world.

    Gangway above ground and railways tracks (here known as pasarela) are not place for exhibition any kind, jumping, trowing garbage or urinate.

    In train don't stay in part of train where two cargo is connected wile train is moving.

    In train there no pickpocket as I know. Still, take care of your stuff and don't leave them unattended. When I go on long distance train ride I always find company. People here are friendly and they can help you with your staff if you go to WC. They expected to do it the same for them too. They will offer you food if they have. Drinks usually share only if they have glass spare but usually people drink from bottle. This is time for socialization.

    Be careful about taking photos on railways! Especially on train stations with big camera.

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    Traveling by train

    by Odiseya Updated Jun 19, 2015

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    Trains are my favorite means of transportation, despite all odds.
    First of all, this is cheapest way of traveling trough whole country. Traveling by train are for some destination, for example for Banja Luka and Sarajevo from Doboj is twice cheaper then by bus. In fact return ticket for trains are like one way bus ticket or even cheaper then this.
    Second, I find it more comfortable and even they slow they didn't slower then buses due to configuration of landscapes and roads conditions.
    They offer some discounts like FIP, ISIC and international discount tickets.
    I like interaction passengers and so call travel-symbioses. People like to make small arrangement on long distance journey in case they need to go before last stop or need seat in overcrowded trains or go to toilet. I find that people are very friendly and helpful.

    Several things need to have in mind.
    First of all, this is limited transportation, especial due closed Belgrade-Doboj line and Ploče-Čapljina line.
    There no any food service in train. Used to be for international trains but is more expensive then usual and people usually brings food with it.

    Smoking in trains are limited by space but we all share same air. There are compartments for smokers and nonsmokers but people go in passage in front of cabinet and smoke there.

    Slow ride but very scenic! On some trains stations (stops) there no train ticket offices and I didn't find there any luggage rooms in any of them. There are slow but on time especially on departure if there no any problems.

    There no any officially regulation on transport of pets or bikes. I suggest to choose less crowded line (during week).

    In case of some problems like railways reconstruction or strikes, buses covers part of trip (bustitution).

    In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are two national railway companies: Railway of Republika Srpska and Railway of Federation of B&H. Doboj is border point and you could save some money if you keep that in mind and buy ticket to and from Doboj.

    Train conductor will check your ticket very soon after departure up to 15 minutes or so. Double checking of tickets are rare but keep your ticket to the end of your ride, just in case!

    I wish you safe trip and nice vacation!

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    Short or long visit?!

    by Odiseya Updated Apr 28, 2015

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    Bosnia and Herzegovina is not type of "city break destination" like are mostly European countries. Let be honest it is hard that we have any proper-size city anyway. If you like that kind of tourism I am afraid that you will be disappoint and it will be big time! I know - people are interesting in Sarajevo and Mostar (its bridge) mostly. But that is hardly city-break visit, isn't?!
    Mostly on forums I saw questions about advice of how to "drop in" and visit Mostar, Međugorje and Sarajevo from mostly Adriatic coast. First of all it is far away from those summer resorts. Ride with buses takes hours and it will be and on bumping roads on mountains. That is real buzz killer!

    I just thinking how I need rest from road trips. For example from my hometown to Sarajevo it takes 3 hours in one direction. So, it is not bad. But, I need to back eventually and that makes 6 hours in total. Witch is not so bad! But if I wont to go to Mostar just keep in mind that Sarajevo is on half way! That makes my road of total 12 hours just too much to make day trip! Good for you if you can! I admired such a strength! And it is OK if you have own car but on public transportation - not so much!

    Bosnia and Herzegovina is destination that offer different kind of tourism. You could find many travel articles that they describe country like "unusual and unspoiled by mass tourism" travel destination. If you devote time you could benefit from it!

    It just need to take much more serious if you wont to take all advantage of your stay here. Be open minded and if I make suggest to devote more time and heart for this off-the-beaten country.

    I wish you safe trip and nice vacation!

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    Traveling by bus

    by Odiseya Updated Apr 28, 2015

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    Traveling by bus is very convenient transport around country. It covered every corner of country.

    There is some limitation that need to keep in mind!

    First of all, it is hard to find online presentation of bus stations. Online timetables are almost non exist. You could find online numbers of bus stations and sometimes and facebook page. But hardly they have and online timetable.

    Bus station are in seats of municipalities and around places and villages have bus stops. Bus station are run by one local bus and/or touristic company. If you keen to find out more online you will find some online information but hardly on English. I spend some time online and I find some useful staff but you will need to use google translate and find bus company related by seat of municipality. It is not easy task but it can be done. For big places is not hard to do that.

    On spot on bus station you will find timetable on several places. Mostly it will be next to exit on bus terminals. Sometimes it will be just on printed paper and protected by glass or special board. I suggest to take photo of it! There are mostly only departure times but it changes.
    They hardly changes timetables and it worth for years. Departure are on time but arriving can be postpone if it is international line.

    Forget about online bus ticket purchasing even it had some exception like Tuzla bus station. On bus station you need to go in line and buy ticket in person. You could buy ticket in advance but it is not necessary for local lines. For international regular line there no necessary to buy ticket in advance but for summer additional lines it is recommendable to make reservation of your ticket. Usually for that kind of service bus staff will send to office of local agency within bus station. I assume that English there would not be such a problem.

    Bus ticket include small fee for using its service but that happens only on bus stations. On bus stops you need to buy ticket from bus driver and there no any additional costs.

    On bus station and around it you could find and touristic agencies and bout bus international ticket there. It usually worth for 6 months but for return you need to call and make reservation.
    Sometimes bus departure outside of bus stations but you will get explanation.

    Bus stops are not so great marked by some shelter but drivers can let you out on your request where you wont. Hardly its not easy to make it to let you in wherever you wont but it happens.

    Forget about driving without ticket! You need to get on bus terminal on bus station and direct to door with drivers on bus stops and it is simple not possible to do that without ticket or to escape to buy ticket. On city public transportation is the same thing. Special bus ticket control are so rare.

    Discounts are for students with right index (national but only for officially state universities, Serbian and Austrian). Some agencies accept and ISIC cards. I never saw ITIC discount! There is discount for return ticket. Just keep in mind that there is many bus companies that run from one single bus station and make sure you catch the right bus back.

    Use only national currency and preferable in small bank notes. Not sure about visa cards but I doubt. I never saw any exchange office but I think it changes and that is possible find in big places.

    Bus stations have and additional services and shelters. There are mostly small markets with food, some shops, kiosks and cafes. Sometimes you will find and basically restaurant type place. Mostly at night nothing works except in big places. I find bus stations safe enough for stay.

    Tourist info boards can be find near station but mostly only map. Take photo of it!

    If you ask on bus station you will be find and luggage room or small place mostly by staff in its compartments. For small fee you could secure your bags.

    There no official bike transport regulation that I find but it can be done in arrangement to bus drivers.

    Buses line are limited on weekend especially on Sunday. Mostly lines with suburban areas and villages are connected with school year.

    Due to large migration there are good bus connection with Central and West Europe and Scandinavia and former Yugoslav republics.

    Smoking in bus station (building) or buses is not allowed even you can find a sign for it.

    I wish you safe trip and nice vacation!

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    B&H on foot

    by Odiseya Updated Apr 28, 2015

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    Yes, favorite way of exploration of new places and mostly here is only adequate. Settlements are small and mostly "attractions" are very close one to another. Usually are roads leads to nearby cafe and tavern.

    There are very active promotion of walking and hiking in urban areas. Lots of potential day trips and resorts are ideal for complete of vacation.

    But problem is roads between urban settlements and villages. Pavements are only in urban areas with some exceptions. Regional and local roads are usually overcrowded and narrow and that is potential danger for passengers. There is limited area between roads and creek or rocks that follow it. In most of case, it is nice walking experience.

    Well, in any case - just use your favorite sneakers and enjoy!

    I wish you safe trip and nice vacation!

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    Transportation of bikes

    by Odiseya Updated Apr 28, 2015

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    Cycling is more and more popular within country. There are serious cycling enthusiasts and movement to make county more bike friendly. Some urban cycling is reserved still for Sarajevo and Banja Luka. More is promotion of mountain cycling and there are great potential and I think promotion.

    But I will refer here on another interesting and useful thing - transportation of your bikes. It seem that if you don't have own car is still problem what to do when you are tired on road. I know many people who love to ride a bike and that do often that have that kind of problem when they decide to do complex and long active vacation.
    It can be done by train or bus but there no special official regulation so you must make your own arrangement with drivers or train conductor. It could be done but I assume it will depend of how is train or buses are crowded. I recommend to choose days on train when is not so crowded like during working day (first in early in the morning or during day) except in time when workers or students travel. Use last compartment and make sure you dont on way. But ask first train conductor.

    I wish you safe trip and nice vacation!

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