Be sure to bring clean unworn bills. I brought some American paper money with me that I obtained at a branch of the Bank of Montreal in Canada, and I changed it into Ukrainian Hryvnya at the numerous banks in Kiev. Generally I'd change $100 US into about 450 Hryvnya. On one occasion, the woman behind the glass in the bank told me that the $20 US bill that I handed her contained too much ink (teller's ink stamp mark from Canada) and it had a small tear, and that if I wanted to change the bill into Hryvnya the bank would charge me 10%. I agreed. The paperwork involved with that $20 US bill took 15 minutes, and the signatures of 3 different people.
We were stopped by the police at 4am walking back from a club pretty drunk. They wanted to know who we were and where we were going. We were given a choice of either being arrested or we pay approximately £10 ($20) each and they would turn a blind eye.
You have to be impressed they spoke good English which is more than my Ukrainian and despite the intimidation and impending beating we were about to receive it was all very business like, how we laugh it off now.
Kyiv is quite safe place. It is noticed even in the internet. It's well lightened even at night, espceially the centre of the city. Of course, what else can tourist do :))
no need to observe the 'sleeping districts', they are quite the same everywhere. So don't be afraid. The only thing that should be taken into account, is pocket thiefs. In public transport of course. Just don't carry the money in the coat pockets where it's easy to get them. In principle people don't complain. Such things can happen everywhere, or almost everywhere
Low crime level in Kiev does not mean that you have to relax! I have been myself several times robbed in a day time (in the transport).Also beware to walk alone late at night and flash a lot of money!
I cant stress enough how important using the metros are in large cities...Kiev is no exception.Kiev now has a population of 3 million people and learning the metro will be a lifesaver...it was cheap...fast...and I met wonderfull people.
03Nov11 Flew from Moscow Sheremetova terminal C to Kiev Borispol airport terminal B on Aerosvit flight VV452.
Wife discovered gold earings missing from her case after arrival and baggage storage at Ukraina Hotel. Box left, contents taken. Hotel staff denied responsibility and cited their own experiences of thefts on flights through Borispol. Police not interested - Kiev accused Moscow and Moscow accused Kiev. Have flown through Sheremetova many times over 10 years without problem and now see/hear similar reports from Internet/friends regarding thefts at Borispol so..............
Advice: Don't put valuable items in checked in baggage - particularly if flying through Borispol.
I had never travelled outside the US before, but I dared take a plane to Europe in the winter of 2009. I said to myself " What the heck. Why not fly now and visit " so I flew to Kiev and made a reservation at the Rus. I loved the hotel and their breakfast is very abundant and delicious. I highly recommend the hotel to everyone here.I stayed there a month !!! I had made some friends on line who sounded very legitimate and they showed me the city around. It was fun. Iwas video taping all over and having the best time in my life. I had never taken a vacation this type and since I had finished college and have a career I think I deserved it. The only thing that bothered me was that one night I had fallen asleep in my room and when I woke up the dinner room was closed so I decided to walk over to the restaurant four blocks away ( " Fridays ") and to my surprise after taking such a chance I found the restaurant closed. I had to walk back to the hotel. It was I think about 9 or 10 pm. On my way back while I was walking up the small hill that leads to the hotel someone started walking up next to me and sort of threw quickly a wallet with bills on the street. I did not stop to pick up the wallet or to look at who was next to me. I had read about it and I was not sure if my life would have been in danger, but all I did was walk faster without looking. What would they have done? I dont know, probably hit me or who knows may be even shoot me. You never know. This is a chance that you take when you go to these places where the police knows about it, but dont care because it is not happening to them. I did not make a complaint about it. I think I will eventually since I am still alive. If I had been shot of course I would not have been able to make a complaint about it. The police in these countries is not reliable. You take your own chances when you go to these places and even though I am married now to a Ukranian girl I would still be cautious about going out by myself again on those streets. You never know if you are going to become a statistic. Life is unique, priceless and beautiful. It is best to think ahead rather than be taken by surprise. My girl knows the language and I know it would be different this time. Overall, Kiev is a beautiful city and its normal people are very friendly. Do not travel by yourself like I did. Bring someone along.
When you rent an apartment in the Ukrainian town or city, you can not warn about the dangers of the location of these apartments. For example, it is possible that next to your hotel or apartment is the territory of the former or existing chemical plant (one of the striking examples is the territory of the factory "Radical" in one of the urban areas of Kiev: in the aftermath of ownerless relation to storage of dangerous chemicals substances , from the plant were shipped about 120 tons of mercury and a host of other harmful substances, according to various estimates on the territory of the plant is still about 200 tons of mercury ). It is also possible that the construction and other decoration materials of your room, apartment or office has been made from contaminated X-ray emitting wood, metal, etc. (this may be due to the proximity of Chernobyl or poor quality control of imported and manufactured building materials). There is a local site (http://www.danger.in.ua) using the service which the user can check the potential place of his trip to Ukraine for the dangerous and environmentally hazardous facilities.
It's very easy for the pedestrian to have an accident in Ukraine's capitol, or anywhere else in the country, such are the disrepaired state of it's roads & especially pavements. Kiev is known as a 'green' city, not for environmental reasons, but because of its vine-tangled walls & tree-lined streets - 'oolitsee'. The downside of this is that the underground roots grow towards the surface in the hot dry summers, attempting to gasp at any trace of moisture, the result of which are pavements that in places, appear as furrowed as a ploughed field. Walking here is at least uncomfortable, & always fraught with the danger of a fall, especially between sunset & sunrise, which is exacerbated by the lack of street lighting. Many of Ukraine's roads do not appear to have been resurfaced since Hitler's invasion sent tanks along them, & many buildings & structures along the way appear to be in a precarious state of near collapse. In central Kiev, I have attempted to cross a footbridge over the railway, again, after dark, only to find it was impossible because of entire steps having fallen away. The gap left by the errant slabs of concrete were wide enough for a thin person to plummet through, to the ground below - so the message to anybody arriving in Kiev is, as the locals say, "clear to a hedgehog"...
This is the age old story of the Police in Ukraine but during 3 trips to Ukraine in the past 2 years and having driven across the country and covered a lot of miles we have only been pulled over once which was when we were driving back into Kyiv at the end of our trip. The Police said that we were driving unlawfully we ended up giving them 100 hryvnias (£8) to get them to let us make the rest of our journey. Luckily we had our Ukrainian tour guide with us so he was able to negotiate, I imagine that without him we would have had to have paid more.
There was another occasion in Kyiv when we had got 3 taxis from the Train Station to Independence Square in Central Kyiv. When we got to the square all 3 taxis charged us a different amount. 1 of the taxis charged an extra 200 hryvnias to the rest. When we found this out some of the men we were with asked the taxi driver to charge the same price as the others as he was trying to rip us off. There were 3 policeman stood near the taxi and refused to speak to the driver and stood there laughing. After a heated debate, we got the money back we were overcharged but with no help from the police. We learned a very valuable lesson about negotiating the taxi fare BEFORE you get in to the taxi.
Had a super time in Kiev and the 'normal' people as so friendly you wonder what they want! Often its just that they are nice and practice english.
On our first night out we went home late (4.30am) after a nightclub and we were a little drunk - the police stopped us (3 of them), search us, asked us what we were doing and we spend about 20 mins talking to them to convince them that is was Ok and we were off to the hotel. Unfortuantly my friend though it was a good idea to ask them to drive us to the hotel in the police car....when we go there they wouldnt let us out. I paid them $20 and they were then happy to let us leave.
It was our own stupid fault and we felt happy to pay just to get out - they were really nice (ok we paid them but still). As we left the police car there were a group of 4 men who obviously heard us talking english and laughing - they decided to beat us up. We ran into the hotel and manage to get into the lift and away with very little injury.
All in all we were very lucky and I would advise anyone going anywhere that late/early to get a taxi - there cheap and safe! But the next night we had an awsome time with some locals and ended up in the hotel bar at 7am!
I can confirM being stopped for WWA by the police. I had my military ID with me because I was afraid to carry my passport. It cost me $ 40 USD. The police in Kiev are not there to help anyone. They thrive off fleecing not only tourists by locals. I know this as it is my third time in Kiev in 12 months. I think in the future I will carry a copy of my passport, but still not the original.
Although I was warned I took a taxi from the central station. We agreed on a price before we got in. When we got out, he wanted more money. Saying we agreed on dollars not on Hryvna's. The next day I met two boys with the same problem. They payed 10 times too much. The taxidriver did not want to agree, he wanted to use the meter. But the meter went fast and high.
So don't take a taxi from the central station, most drivers are looking for tourist to scam them. It is easy to use the metro from the station to get in town
Answer: Don't go to Kiev! You will stand out from the rest. Your hotel manager will call some local gangsters to rob you (he will get some percentage of the robbery...). You can't use the safe deposit box at the hotel, because you never know when the girl you talked to will work again. Maybe never after your safe deposit box is found empty...;)
That happened my friend from Bangladesh! He got robbed the second day there & then the police couldn't speak English. The police chief was drinking beer & smoked. He had to give him some money, so he could get the police report in english. All the time, the passport control wanted money because he looked different (both on arrival & departure!)... They even use different pricelist for foreigners at the restaurant!! (like the old-time Soviet style)
This is 100% true. Please, go to a nice country like Latvia instead. Be careful out there!
As a matter of fact there are many pretty girls in Kiev. This may also apply more or less for the rest of Ukraine.