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Advice on visiting Kiev.
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dudeteacher



Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:27 pm    Post subject: Advice on visiting Kiev. Reply with quote

Hi,

I'll be in Keive for a few days next week and I'm wondering what I should know as a basic tourist.

(i) Are the taxi drivers dodgy? Are there any tricks I should look out for?

(ii) Where's the best place to change currency. I figure the airport is too expensive.

(iii) Are there any good tour services?

(iv) Is the Metro difficult?

Any tips would be nice.

Thanks,
Dude
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9786
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not based in Kiev, but have travelled there on business a few times. Only solid tip I can give is to avoid ATMs. Credit card fraud is widespread. Do a brief search and unfortunately Kiev seems to be a black spot in this regard. Better off with cash, if you can obtain it before entering the Ukraine. Otherwise, use exchange offices or banks locally. Dunno about the airport rates, though. Guess they'd be much higher.

As I said, I don't live there, so with luck someone on the ground will supply you with better info.

As a tourist, I found the metro easy - it's the same as in Moscow! And again taxis were similar: stop any car and fix the fare in advance. However, if this is not something you've done before, might be better to avoid. No real need for taxis in the centre anyway.

Enjoy Kiev! A wonderful place to visit.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 890
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like the Kyiv crew (note the correct spelling) are pretty subdued these days.

I never had trouble with an ATM in the 3 years I lived there, but I also NEVER used the portable units either. Use one built-in at a bank location and you should be fine. Don't accept ANY cash exchanges from people on the street. And yes, the airport exchange desk rates are not as good as in-town. Get enough for a taxi+min pocket money (500 max.) and get clear of the airport.

Taxi drivers will jack the price on you the instant they hear your accent. If possible, arrange for someone there to arrange a pickup for you. Your hotel or apartment broker might be able to give you a competitive deal on airport pickup. NEVER accept "pay what's on the meter" as an option. If you have to negotiate a rate and notice the driver's smiling a lot and you suspect he's ripping you off offer him about 2/3 of what he offered and if refused walk away. The drivers are clannish so walk a 100 meter sor so to look for another group and be more assertive.

Tours are possible but I would really say the only thing of particular interest was the Lavra and Rodina Mat/Museum of the Great Patriotic War. Going to Chernobyl was of little interest to me and my faith in their containment systems is only a smidgen higher than their corruption index.

They are still rife with scams (the drop wallet remains a favorite so DON'T TOUCH ANY WALLETS, PHONES OR LEFT-BEHIND BAGS) and pickpockets are still operating in crowded areas although it isn't as bad as some places. Keep your wallet on the inside of a clothing layer (like your coat) and buttoned or zipped over.

All that said, I love Kyiv. Center can be vibrant and enjoyable. There are some good restaurants in Podil and within a few blocks of Maidan and Bessarabski Market. Be smart and watch for tourist rip-off joints.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy the experience! I certainly did.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9786
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if it was with portable ATMs or in-branch ones, but just in this last month, two of my friends and colleagues had problems using their cards in Kiev. Russian cards and British cards, was the same. Sometimes the transaction is processed in the machine, but the cash just doesn't come out. Or, you may find that your card ID has been copied and some fraudster uses it in the Far East.

Don't want to sound alarmist, but I think it would be better not to take any risks with teller machines.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 890
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brits, Aussies, Canadians or Americans, I know of no one who ever had problems that were not related to the security systems of their banks and cards. There have been instances when ATMs run out of money but, again, I never heard of anyone having any sort of problem. The videos and stories are all over the Internet but blow away all the smoke and there's very little fire.

To the OP:

Go to www.expatua.com and see what advice you get.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9786
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough. With luck, the OP won't have any problems either. But these were two responsible-type individuals whom I know fairly well, who both did have issues with cards there, and only there. Maybe they were just very unlucky. Even so, I know I'll be thinking more than twice before inserting any card into a machine in Kiev. Perhaps erring too much on the side of caution, but that never hurt a stranger in a strange land.
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dudeteacher



Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses.

So I guess there is no fixed rate from the airport.

What's the maximum I should pay to go to the City Centre?

Thanks,
Dude
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dudeteacher



Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it relatively easy to get sim card for my phone?
Is there any particular service that you recommend?

Thanks,
Dude
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Sef



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 73
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's very easy to get a sim card, although I don't know much about the different sevices. KyivStar is probably the most widely used. I use MTS and it doesn't cost me much. Life is the other big one I can think of.

Getting from the airport to the city. I'm assuming you're arriving at Boryspil. If you don't have masses of luggage it would be better to take the Sky Bus which goes from outside each terminal to the central station. It used to be 25 gryvna but last time I took it, they'd jacked the price up to 40. Taxis at the airport will quote you around 250 gryvna but you can get them for around 130. There's an official Sky Taxi service but I've never used them. They're on the Boryspil website.

Taxi drivers don't seem any dodgier here than in other places. If your Russian is up to it, you'll get a better price by calling a company, but on the street you can flag down any car and negotiate a bit.

There are loads of currency exchange places all over the city. The rates are all pretty similar. Look out for the yellow signs where they post the exchange rates.

Don't know about tour services, sorry.

And yes, the metro is easy to use because last year when Euro 2012 was here, they added English lettering to the signs and some of the trains still have English announcements.

Hope that helps Smile
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dudeteacher



Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sef.

Dude
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oipivo



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 160
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I thought Droogie up there was being over cautious, but I just got back from the Ukraine and sure enough there are fraudulent charges with my credit card. I only used it at the airport and never once used it in a restaurant or shop. It's no joke, you have to be careful.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9786
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that, oipivo. With luck your bank will be fully up to speed with the Ukraine and its security issues, so you may not be at a loss.

In a strange way, I am thankful that you have posted here to relate your experience. It is not just because it is vindication of sorts of my warnings - it will serve as a reminder to others that this is a very real issue for travellers to Kiev, and presumably to other locations beyond.

Don't want to seem anti-Ukrainian or anything. Love the place as a holiday location. But with credit card fraud, and now increasing amounts of street beggar attention, tourists have to be wary.

Apologies if locals/established ex-pats who know the ropes find this unlike their experience. No offence is meant...
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 890
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oipivo wrote:
Well, I thought Droogie up there was being over cautious, but I just got back from the Ukraine and sure enough there are fraudulent charges with my credit card. I only used it at the airport and never once used it in a restaurant or shop. It's no joke, you have to be careful.


That's a surprise!

Where in the airport did you use it?

By any chance did you overnight and use your card for the lodging or to guarantee the stay?
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 35
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on visiting Kiev. Reply with quote

dudeteacher wrote:
Hi,

I'll be in Keive for a few days next week and I'm wondering what I should know as a basic tourist.

(i) Are the taxi drivers dodgy? Are there any tricks I should look out for?

(ii) Where's the best place to change currency. I figure the airport is too expensive.

(iii) Are there any good tour services?

(iv) Is the Metro difficult?

Any tips would be nice.

Thanks,
Dude


Hi! I lived there for about 9 months as an expat. Here is my advice to you and anyone else visiting Kyiv..

Only ride in a taxi if you call them before hand and they give you a decent price. They can be expensive as hell for foreigners and those who don't call. There are some English speaking ones out there but very few.

You can exchange money in many many places. I wouldn't do it in the airport though

Can't tell you about tour services.. everything in the city is in the same spot.. just get a map and walk around. Lonely planet makes has good walking guides

Finally get a lonely planet guide book it has metro maps in English. Their metro is one of the most simple I ever seen once you get down off into it. You will have to walk through some elaborate malls to get to the entrance though

Also keep in mind, outside of krashetik street NOBODY speaks English anywhere. Not even the damn manager of the banks!

Oh yeah its definitely true about your credit card!! Mine was compromised too. Best to come in with cash and exchange it. Sometimes though if you use the one inside of the banks during their opening hours its ok. Mine wasn't compromised until I used one that was outdoors.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9786
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear that, again. But at least sharing these experiences might spare another, like Dudeteacher, that misfortune.
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