I wish I could say it's 100% safe for afro-americans/europeans/etc. to be in Ukraine. unfortunately, the recent sad statistics says that it is not. and though many people with different colors of skin live and enjoy their life in Kyiv, bad things do happen. but they happen everywhere. like, I felt totally safe in Gautemela despite all the robbery reports I'had read and heard about prior to travelling there. at the same time, a met a college girl, who was attacked and robbed on her way to a Spanish class.
here is the article that you might find informative:
the bottom line, don't be paranoid, but definately be aware of the situation, and use common sense. make sure you know your Embassy tel. number.
Usual trip from Kiev to the west of Ukraine - beautiful Carpathian mountains. What is dangerous?.... well ... try to drive a car on the road full of snow, when big tracks driving crazy in front of you, compleately covering front window of your car by melted snow.
The re-elections are scheduled now for December 26. In general travelling all over Ukraine is better psotponed until then.
For the most comprehensive reviews of the current situation in Ukraine please note:
Be careful when using your Credit Card. Never use it if you are not able to see the card under the complete payment process (in particular in restaurants). I never had a problem of that kind when I used my card at hotel receptions or travel agencies and airlines. There I saw my card under the whole process of payment but in restaurants you usually hand it over to the waiter who disappears withthe card and after a short while comes back with the receipt you are signing. But in the meanwhile a copy was taken, most probably not even the waiter or the responsible manager of the restaurant knew that a copier was attached to the appliance for the credit card processing.
It happened to me that I got a call a few days after I returned back home from Ukraine and was asked by Master Card when I left Ukraine because the same days when I used my card at a petrol staion in Switzerland and in a supermarket in Italy it was also used in several shops in Kyiv and Odesa and even in the restaurant where I was eating a bill of 900 EUR was paid (my own a few days before that was only a few % of it).
Hey, there's always alot of funny things to do but what makes me laugh is reading these foreign reviews on Kiev and Ukraine which I have been doing for the last hour. Now I had to spend some time signing up here 'cause I'd hate myself for not replying to arturowan on his "don't seem to care about their future or the future of their country" thing. Now I was born in Kiev and live here most of my life, you know, It's got its own "things", occasions and "weird" behavior but, man, what city and/or country doesn't? I've been to Paris a week ago and our bus, while being at the parking lot that charges 60 EUR/a day with the fence all over the place, had it's sidemirror stolen and how it worked out was the black low-life manager waving his hands and just being an ***. Now I'd be wrong, I guess, If I become some sort of a racist on the very basis of this issue. In a fact, you may get in trouble without leaving your own house if that's what you're up to. Back to the topic, myself personally and the thinking people here do not appreciate your attitude about our concerns on our future. Be sure we have them though. And it will be changing things, not punishing them.
Ukraine as a country is still so far behind its western neighbours it still has not got 'the tourism thing' - those catering to foreigners, do so intent to make the maximum amount of hard currency out of them as they can exthort in a single transaction. Ukrainain folk do not, in general, have much concern for their future or that of their country, consequently, they do not expect to see you again, & in anycase, many regard you as having more money than sense, for having crossed the border...
'TAKSEESTA' are those you need to be especially alert to, & nowhere more so than the 'autovoksal, Moskva Ploshad' (Moscow square) - where they operate in collusion to deter the unwitting arrivee from realising there are separate cashiers offices serving tickets for GUNSEL & AUTOLUX - the main operators of long-distance & shuttle services to the airport. Their trick is to make 'a wall', footballer-style, as if attempting to deflect a penalty, or in this case, a customer from finding the ticket office doors...
The best advice is to try your best not to look lost if you are arriving here for the first time, & head confidently towards the main building, saying, "NYET SPASIBA!" to any followers. They can be persistent & once I was even chased with 2 heavy bags, into the station building, pursued by a score of 'takseesta', all identically attired in obligatory black caps, jackets, jeans, & shiny leather shoes...
It was an intimidating experience & confirmed the worst stereotypes of 'commie-country-types', like that acted out in Bond films - but if you pursue your goal to buy your bus ticket, they do leave you alone. Everybody with wheels in Ukraine regards himself as a 'takseest' - do not deal with those who are unlicensed - they will lock your luggage in the boot of their car, then demand an extortionate sum to retrieve it. A janitor at the station once threatened to hit me with his broom, if I did not pay what his 'takseest' comrade demanded - & do not think the Militia will wish to receive any complaint - they are also bribed to look the other way...
Upon entering Borispol Airport in Kyiv be sure to fill out an entry customs declaration form. And make sure that you get it stamped by the proper individual. Although I had filled out my declaration form the man at the entry gate did not ask to see it. He simply asked how much money I had. I told him I had $1,400 American dollars and he told me to make sure I spent at least $400 of it while I was in Ukraine. And then he let me through without looking at my form. This was a big mistake. When I was going home and I got to Borispol Airport I was asked by a lady at the departure gate to see my entry form. I informed her that I did not have one because when I entered the guy at the entry gate didn't take mine. She told me that it should have been stamped when I entered. She then asked me how much money I had with me. I told her I had about $1,160 American dollars. She then told me that I was not allowed to bring more than $1,000 dollars into the country. I was obviously confused because I told the guy at the entry gate how much I had and there didnt seem to be a problem. Other than the fact that he told me spend $400 beofore I left. But that is difficult to do considering everything in Ukraine is so inexpensive. She then told me I had a big problem. She got her supervisor to come over and they told me to lay all of my money out on the counter so they could count it. So I did. Then the supervisor told me to take some of my money and go exchange it for some Ukrainian money. Now I was really confused because I read on the internet that you are not allowed to take Ukrainian money out of the country. But I did what he told me and then he allowed me to go through. I still can not make any sense out of all this but I think this problem could have been avoided if I had just simply gotten my entry declaration form stamped. And if anyone can clear this confusion up for me please email me. I would appreciate it greatly.
At the time I get the first taxi to arrive from the airport to Kiev, I thought I was in a car racing. Doing Suicide overtakings and ignoring the speed limit it's a normal thing here. But Kiev was only the beggining, because in the transfer from Yalta to Simferepol, in Crimea, there were some moments I had to close my eyes... Don't ask the driver not to run so much, they look at you laughing and hitting the gas!! :)
Always carry ur own suply of toiletpaper, public toilets tend to be unsanitary.
Keep an eye on ur belogings, dont show them to much. Most hotels dont have have safety deposit boxes, so take most valuable things with u, prefarable hidden under ur clothings.
When u wanna take a taxi, ask price before and email to Guilia-ua, she has good tips about Kiev, cause she's living here.
She gave me some phonenumbers of taxis who can be trusted.
Thanx Guilia:-) It helped me a lot!
When u enter Ukraine u get a card which u have to carry with u the time u are here.
When i left the country i couldnt find this card its was somewhere between a lot of paperwork but they let me throught the customs anyway:-)
When u enlarge the pictures u can read the rules.
If you can not understand any of the cyrillic alphabet you are likely to miss somethings during your stay. Wery little information on the historical sights,roads and shops are in english.
Most young people know a little english and info in hotels and on menu`s are in english so
its not a must but you will have an advantage in understanding more if you know what the cyrillic letters mean. A lot of words will then sound/look almost similar to english words.
It arrives in winter that the stream is covered in part of ice. The landscape takes a polar aspect then.
In the islands in the center of the stream, walkers and fishers are to the appointment with ice. It arrives then frequently that walk on ice of people. Every year has the casualty, because of those that fall under ice, thus.
hmmm…. what dangers are in Kiev??? Beware of GIRLS, There are plenty of beautiful ladies you can see in Kiev. They are nice and wonderful, kind and attractive, weak and strong. They draw an attention like flowers’ aroma draw an attention of bees. Protect your neck which can be hurt because of head’s turns following Ukrainian ladies.
Kiev is getting safer.
I jus arrived from a visit to Kiev and I decided to join this site and share fresh information in return for the help I got from here to prepare my trip. Although my first visit to Kiev, this was not my first visit to Ukrania.
The police is making an effort to clean the city from all forms of criminal behavior including their own. This has probably something to do with the fact that next year the European Soccer Championship will be played in Poland and Ukrania, been the final match in Kiev. This will bring a large ammount of visitors of all nationalities and all colors.
There is a lot of police (and I mean a "a lot") everywhere in the center (not so much in the sorounding areas of Kiev) and, yes! they were asking about some form of Id, but the people stopped by police during the day look suspicious, like they had some drug or alcohol related problems. I did not see police hunting tourist during day time.
However, long traditions of corruption take a long time to erradicate and they can still tray to earn some money when the nigth falls. It works this way: First they catch you doing something wrong, then they inform you that it is their job to stop that kind of behavior. After that they tell you that you can be punished for that but they are nice and let you go if you don´t do it again. Finally they ask you if you can be nice to them.
In my case I was stopped for crossing alone one of the main streets in a place with no traffic ligths (only tunnels) at 00:30 at night on a Monday (very few people in the streets). The were very friedly, asked me if I liked kiev, we talked about my country of origin (Spain) and let me go, but the older one informed me that it was the younger one birthday and if I wanted I coud give him a present. I speak some russian (in fact all the conversation was in russian) and wished him a happy birthday, but no present or cash was given and we said goodbye with a smile.
I met other tourists who had been drinking and were accused of been noisy. They did pay some small ammount of money to get away.
Basically, my advice is: Have your passport with you at all times, "play by the rules", do not pick money from the street (It happened to me that somebody drop his wallet of transparent plastic and with cash, in front of me), do not get too drunk if your are going to walk around, and enjoy friendly people, excellent unexpensive ukrainian food, and a very beautyfull town. After all, many of the police agents in Kiev are good police and are there "to protect and to serve" you. And do not be afraid to take the underground or a buss and get away sometime from the center of town and see some othe areas. Kiev feels safe!
Ukrainian law requires that travelers declare all cash in excess of USD 1,000 upon entering Ukraine. Visitors must fill out a customs declaration and ask customs officials to stamp it. According to Ukrainian law, foreign citizens may bring up to USD 10,000 cash or up to USD 50,000 in traveler's checks into Ukraine without a special license. Travelers must declare the cash orchecks. If customs officials determine that a traveler entering or leaving the country has undeclared cash on their person, they can and often do confiscate the undeclaredfunds, in accordance with Ukrainian law. When leaving the country, travelers are allowed to take out a maximum of USD 1,000 in cash, or as much cash as they declared upon entry into Ukraine. A traveler wishing to depart the country with more than USD 1,000 must be able to present a customs declaration proving s/he brought the corresponding sum of money into the country. If you wish to bring in more than USD 10,000 you must obtain a special license after entering Ukraine. Details for obtaining this license are available on the U.S. Embassy web site in a document entitled "Ukrainian customs procedures for transporting currencies, monetary instruments, or precious metals" at:
NOTE! Original works of art manufactured before 1950, regardless of origin, cannot be exported from Ukraine. Art and antiques, such as paintings, samovars, metals, icons,
musical instruments, etc., acquired in Ukraine and intended for export are subject to clearance from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture. The procedure is performed Monday-Friday, 10-5 PM only.