Something that you will come across when travelling in Kyiv is that the admission prices for foreigners are more expensive that admission fees for Russian/Ukrainian visitors. More often that not you will see a different queue for tourist and locals.
Unique Suggestions: Try to brush up on your Ukrainian before travelling so you are competent in asking for admission for your group and you will get the cheaper rate.
I have been in Kyiv since 02/04 and spent most of my days and nights "out and about". The places to eat as well as the places to play have been straight forward and very accommodating to someone with little/no local language skills. The best example of the type of service to expect was recently offered in a night spot called DINOs. I asked the waitress to buy a table a round of drinks and she brought me a menu to show me what the prices would be. If I had done the same thing in a club in Bucharest it would have resulted in a bill accompanied by two strong armed Goons in the amount of $300-$500. If there are any tourist traps in Kyiv I haven't found them and they are probably few and far between.
PS: Sorry but DINO'S was bought out and is closed.
The Beverly Hills (Ladies only)and Playmate Clubs are part of a rather nice American Steak House named SOHO. The clubs are similar to the Chipendales in the US and the other, what Americans call a "Gentlemen's Club" A group visiting Kyiv had dinner at SOHO and decided on a few drinks at Playmate. I was later told that there was a $10 cover and that a 100ml of Brandy was $30-$40 and that a small basket of chocolates was $30. In addition, there was an "mistake" on the bill which was an additional $40 drink. When called on the mistake it was removed. This place is trying to be something that it will never achieve and that is a classy cocktail lounge. I have rated SOHO in a separate writeup as a good place for those who must eat American or a place for a business lunch/dinner. I will still go with that rating but given the report I got on the other places in the restaurant complex, beware and even better stay out.
Unique Suggestions: Ask for a menu each time you order something and check your bill carefully.
Fun Alternatives: Sorry but a great alternative was a place called Dino but it has closed.
Taxi prices to and from airport Boryspil can differ MUCH, depends how taxi driver will rate you. My friend told me, once when he was going from airport to city, driver asked fot 250 UAH ($50), all in all, they agreed on 120 UAH. Thats the ordinary price when you take tazi without preorder. If you will call and ask for a car, they will bill you on about 90 UAH.
Unique Suggestions: Bargain bargain and bargain!
In the city centre the rate is quite high, you can easily change money there.
But remember that they are not 24-hours open, so you may face difficulties with currency exchange in the evening, in particular after 8pm.
Unique Suggestions: The best way is to change money earlier :)
Fun Alternatives: You can exchange money in hotels but the rate won't be favourable for you.
Usual practice everywhere
i even don't know nothign about this place before. Free entrance, like "Pirogovo"(oriental big national museum under the sky outside Kiev) but small, with oriental houses, at the end of the Kiev, very lovely and nice, clean, nice people.
If u in Kiev and wanna see something oriental its a place u should visit and just 30 minutes from downtown on the bus or taxi.
Unique Suggestions: Don't forget water, comfortable shoes.
Fun Alternatives: Take taxi(better) or bus from metro station "Palaz Sportu".
Location: Venue - Mamayeva Sloboda (Borshagivka area)
This is a great place to find traditional Ukrainian souvenirs as well as "communist" souvenirs. However, be sure that the currency they give you is authentic. Otherwise you may end up with useless paper.
Unique Suggestions: Try to take a Ukrainian VTer or friend with you, so that as you shop, someone else can pay attention.
Fun Alternatives: There are many shops that sell traditional items as well instead of buying things from a stand on the street.
Alexandria park is 70 km from Kiev on the Odessa road. Turn right from the main road when you see the sign "Bila Tserkva".
Botanic garden - is in Kiev. By metro - till Pecherskaya station and than by minibus to Botanic garden.
Many male losers plus men from areas where women are either kept like a special sort of domestic animals (that still exists even in countries where officially are no longer Harems) or where the women are as ugly as their fathers, brothers or sons come to Ukraine and other countries hoping to find an attractive woman/girl.
Without any doubt not so few Ukrainians are looking nice, clearly better than the average in the countries of origin of the special category of tourists I am mentioning here. And in particular the Ukrainian women are able really to show that. For example they are despite of their usually low economic possibilities far better dressed than the women in many Western countries - every comparison in this respect for example of Paris and Kiev is clearly in favour of Kiev.
No wonder that a lot of "business people" try to make money of this fact. A lot of entries concerning this can be found in the VT forum...
An important problem, for the traveler who decides to go in the countries of Europe of the East can meet, it is the one of the language.
Unique Suggestions: Few Russian or of Ukrainian, in the street, understand English. Some interpreters exist, but it often looks like the con. A real interpreter will be capable to translate a current conversation, without the help of no dictionary, and won't ask you anymore for 10 $per hour.
For those and those that foresee a travel, it is important to prepare itself a kid memory with expressions that can help you.
Fun Alternatives: To prepare your travel or to help you to prepare some small essential sentences, the VT prepares a free translator on Internet to this address:
Kiev is an immense city, and, in spite of its subway, very efficient and the numerous buses (too numerous so that a stranger recovers himself of it), it is not always easy to visit all monuments.
If you understand a little Russian (and even though you don't understand, you will see all the same), of the visits of Kiev by buses are organized every day. At present, it doesn't exist, on board of these buses of simultaneous translation system, but it would not know how to linger.
Unique Suggestions: The tour of the city begins the central station, pass before the botanical garden, the park Taras Chevtchenko and the university, the bourgeois districts and the odd houses, the golden gate, the St.-Sophie cathedral, the Podol, the St.-Catherin monastery, the strands of the Dniepr, the monastery of Kyiv-Perchersk Lavra and return on Khreschatyk.
Fun Alternatives: The buses leave regularly, every day since the central station (Voksal) and the visit guided by a very competent guide, only cost 10 Hvrinas.
When we first arrived Kiev with train we decided to take a taxi to the hostel. We could not find any buses (found out later that we were on the wrong side of the station). We had seen in the guidebooks that it was best to go for a taxo with a meter. So we did. We ended up paying about 250 local money. It was a 10minuts ride. It was a total rip off!! We did not take a taxi again in Ukraine after that.
Unique Suggestions: Order a taxi over the phone. Or get your hotel to order one for you. Thay know more about companies that are honest.
Fun Alternatives: The bus system can be hard to figure out cause everythins is in crylic. But try, it can save you a lot of money!!
If your a tourist in Kyiv..
Taxis will try ripping you off and rates keep going up over the years
Always negotiate a price beforehand. If its higher than 50Uah or anything you would consider unreasonable walk away, or ask another. they will scramble and realize they just lost
During the day, getting anywhere in kyiv center shouldnt cost more than 50uah. Dont listen to their stupid traffic excuses.
At night still the same they always start with 100uah at night if you leave a club, but thats way more and they know it.
Be nice to the drivers thank them and try using the same one.
i got a driver to take me from club-apartment-club-restaurant for 70 uah.
Unique Suggestions: If you dont speak russian, and you have time on your hand find a driver that does speak good english, there are a lot of them, so find one.
DONT FLASH money! they wont back down if they see you clearly have the original ammount.
Please pay attention if you change money. Once I didn´t do it, at least I didn´t know anything about the rate. For about 62 USD I received 135 Hryvyna. Then we went to a Café (surely, it was a good one at Khreschatyk) but I payed for two piece of cake and two coffee about 23 USD!!! First I couldn´t believe that Kiev is so expensive but two days later I found the problem. At the weekend it´s very difficult to find a place where you can change 'exotic' currency like Austrian Schilling. We found one, and it was an official one in a shopping center and not on the street, but the rate was cool cheek.
One Monday I changed some money again, this time in a bank. The result: For 1000 ATS (62 USD) they payed 342 UHR. Surely, ATS was not easy to find and with USD or EURO you wont have that kind of problem, even not at the weekend. Well, at least for me as Austrian I wont have this problem anymore... since we use Euro... the exotic currency Austrian Schiling is past....
The exchange rates in the airport are a joke... especially when their are ATM's all over the terminal. You can withdraw Ukrainian Grivna (UAH) with any Visa/MC debit card for usually the best exchange rate. However each withdrawal is usually limited to about 1500 or 2000 Grivna by the machine's parameters and you will have to pay whatever fees your bank charges for international ATM withdrawal.
Also the prices of food and drink are ridiculous just like in most airports. BUT, if you walk out of the international terminal and go straight down the ramp (to the right if you are looking at the parking lot, left if you are looking at the Terminal B) there is a tiny "gastronom" minimarket just like you'd find in any apartment block and they have drinks & snacks for normal street prices. LOL... just a few meters can make quite a difference.
Here is a link to the current exchange rates so you know what to expect: