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Should I visit Kiev ?

Wokingham, United...
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Should I visit Kiev ?

I've just returned from a very successful city break to Moscow and am now considering going to Kiev in May next year for 4 nights. BMI have just started direct flights from heathrow to Kiev and with thier being no Visa requirements for EU nationals Kiev has suddenly become a potentially attractive citybreak destination.

Is there any sort of tourism infrastructure there i.e. Boat trips open top bus tours etc etc ? Have any of the restaurants English menus. I know a tiny bit of Russian but absolutely no Ukrainian whatsoever.

I'd be very interested in hearing of the experiences of Western travellers there as I have heard conflicting stories about Kiev but am keen to go nonetheless.

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1. Re: Should I visit Kiev ?

Hi foxbat,

Though I’m not a Western traveller, but a resident of Kyiv, hope you don’t mind my answering some of your questions.

You don’t need any Ukrainian while in Kyiv, people mostly speak Russian here. Sometimes you can even get that lucky to meet people speaking some English :)

Many restaurants have English menus (lots of medium class and all high class, even on their web-sites, for example, check here http://www.karta.ua/eng/restoran.html and here http://www.carteblanche.ua/en/rest/). Smaller or cheaper restaurants, cafes, bars and fast-foods mostly don’t have it.

Boat cruises are available from River Terminal located on Podol district (3 Poshtova Sq). Navigation for Dnieper cruises is normally from May 1 to Sep 1; navigation for Kyiv panorama short (1 hour) boat trips is normally from March 28 to Nov 1. Dates can vary depending upon weather and climate. Also check it earlier discussed here tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294474-i3663-k281…

As for the open bus trips, I haven’t heard of those, but with heavy traffic jams in Kyiv Sep through May it can hardly be of any pleasure. Many of Kyiv routs are pleasant for walking. And if you still want an overview city ride, you can hire a driver.

I believe no one’s experience can compare to your own as tastes and demands differ greatly, so you just go for it! :) Hope you’ll enjoy Kyiv :)

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2. Re: Should I visit Kiev ?

The answer to the question "Should I go to Kiev"? is yes. Most definitely. Although there are many similarities to Moscow, it is a completely different city. Different demeanor. And in my opinion, much cleaner and more beautiful city. And much, much less expensive. I was surprised how many people speak English and how happy people seem to be to help you if you are lost (great way to meet people too). This, even though the culture seems to be to be wary of strangers. Maybe that is just older people. You don't have to worry about the militsia checking your documents as they like to do in Moscow. I never carry them. And they won't roll you for money. I'm not very religious and maybe this sounds weird. I always feel some sort of presence in Independence Square. Don't know what it is. But something's goin' on there. And this started even before the Orange Rev.

Anyway, I suggest getting a flat near Kreschatik and walking to many destinations from there since you will be only spending 4 days. Traffic is horrible especially during rush hours so don't be in a hurry to get anywhere. So I would also suggest making 2 of your days Saturday and Sunday. Kreschatik is shutdown to traffic for a few hours each day.

But traffic may be the only bad part about the city. Keep a couple of Hryvnia handy to give to the street kids (seriously, this is more important than it sounds).

Maybe you will like the boat trip. I couldn't get into it, though. No open air buses in Kyiv. And most excursions are too short and spend no time at any place interesting. They hurry you back on the bus to sit in traffic to get to the next stop. Learn about the places in Kyiv you want to see and then just go there. Walk or ride.

Ukraine will start requiring visas again in January, I believe. This isn't an unfriendly act. They didn't know where all the foreigners were going in the country. And they need to know about the bad ones. I don't know if they'll require an invitation letter or not. But please don't let it stop you from going. Kyivans will welcome you. And Kyiv is a must-see! Beautiful, beautiful city!

London, United...
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3. Re: Should I visit Kiev ?

Definitely head there for a long weekend. There's enough to keep you occupied and interested in the centre of town all within walking distance so don't consider hiring a car!

You'll be fine with a bit of Russian and lots more people speak English in Kiev than in Moscow so if you survived there you'll have no probs.

I think it's nicer than Moscow, certainly smaller and more easily digested. Try and head to the opera if the season is on (which in May I think it might still be) and look at the churches.

Also perhaps head to Chernobyl perhaps for a day - it's really quite interesting.

There are boat tours, but not essential to see the city, the river doesn't flow through the middle of town like in London or Paris for instance.

There aren't any open top buses for sure! And in May the weather will be getting hot so it's a good time to go.

I lived there until May of this year so this information should still be valid!

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4. Re: Should I visit Kiev ?

For "western person" Kyiv may be a real Eastern Star with all its pecularities. KYiv will meet You with the warm smile and hospitality, but You should always bear in mind, that everything can happen. In Kyiv there is always opportunity to find something interesting (sightseeings, galleries, riverside etc).

A lot of Kyivers speak English, so it wouldn't be a problem to ask or find something. City restaurants with manifold cousine will not leave You indifferent. Beware of walking alone in the night, better take a cab. Good luck!

5. Re: Should I visit Kiev ?

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