Immigration and Customs:
Import and Export:
Getting to the City Center:
Ukrainian is the official language. However, Russian is
widely in use in Kyiv. Major restaurants, bars and hotels have English
speaking staff, but in general not much English is spoken in Ukraine.
Other European languages are not spoken very much either. We recommend
that you have a phrase book on hand or find someone bilingual to help
you at least for your first hours in the country. For more information
look through the following websites:
The official currency in Ukraine is Hryvnya (UAH). It
is easiest to exchange US dollars and Euros. The exchange rate is approx.
UAH 5.0 to US$1.00 and UAH 6.0 to Euro1.00. Exchange points are located
all over the city, in the markets, in the import stores and just along
the street. Usually the signs are in Cyrillic and English. (Obmin Valut
or Currency Exchange). Exchanging money with private individuals on
the street can be risky and is not recommended. There are many ATMs,
however we recommend you use cash and only withdraw money from official
bank ATMs as there are still incidences of fraud and pin-code theft.
Visa, MasterCard and Eurocard are the three main credit cards accepted
in large restaurants, stores and hotels.
The climate in Ukraine is temperate continental. The average temperatures in April vary from 0’c to +15’c during the day and -7’c to 0’c at night. The spring weather can be quite unpredictable, we recommend wearing layers so that you can cool down or warm up as necessary. We also recommend bringing a wind/water proof jacket in case of light (but chilly) spring rain.
For up to date weather information and forecasts, try
the following websites: http://weather.cnn.com/weather/forecast.jsp?locCode=UKKK
Ukraine is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and it uses the Daylight Savings system similar to the rest of Europe. Once you arrive, you may find out the exact local time by dialing 060.
Similar to most big cities in the world, the most convenient way to get around is by taxi. You can order a taxi by phone or flag down a “gypsy” taxi on the street. Gypsy taxis are privately owned vehicles without meters and are relatively safe. However, its best to avoid getting in a car with 2 or more people already in it, and make sure you negotiate a price before you get in. The average price of a ride is UAH 15 to 20. Most drivers do not speak English.
Public transport is quite reliable and easy to use. It operates from 6 am til 1am. The price is also incredibly affordable (usually between UAH 0.50 and UAH 1.50). The only downside is there are usually a large number of people using the system. Public transport options include underground metro, trolley buses, trams and minibuses known as a ‘Marshutka’.
Metro: The metro is the quickest way to avoid traffic jams. Stations are conveniently situated around the center and tokens can be purchased inside any metro station. You’ll recognize a metro station by the large green “M” next to an underpass or on the side of a building.
Buses and trams: There is a ticket controller on the buses and trams from whom you may buy a ticket, after you buy the ticket you’ll need to punch it (watch other passengers to find the puncher machine). Also Kiev has developed minibuses services.
Marshutka/minibuses: Marshutkas are available on every
corner of the city and can get you to your destination much quicker
than buses or trams. A passenger fare for minibus service is not fixed
and stops can be quite flexible along a given route. The price varies
from 1 hryvnia to 1,75 hryvnia (approx. $0.20-0.35).
Internet cafes: internet cafes are becoming very popular in Ukraine. Kiev has a growing number of 24 hour internet cafes. The cafes can be a little hard to find but once there, the cost per hour is approx. UAH 10 (US$ 1.71). One of the biggest internet cafes can be found next to the food court in Metrograd (the large underground shopping complex at the end of the main street Kreshatik next to Bessarabska Market).
Post offices: Post offices in Kiev are normally open 8 hours a day. The central post office of the city is located at number 22 Kreschatik Street, right on Independence Square. Here one can send letters and packages, buy stamps and postcards, make long distance calls, use fax machines and so on. In Kiev one can also use a variety of mail services provided by such internationally known companies as DHL Worldwide Express, Federal Express, Pony Express, TNT Express Worldwide and United Parcel Service.
Public Emergency numbers
For more information on public emergency contacts and
procedures, look through the following sites: