Is Kiev safe to Travel to?
If you are going to Ukraine, most likely your trip will be pleasant and quite comfortable. But remember it can always be different from what you are used to, so you should take care of your own safety and be always ready for the surprises this affable East European country is full with. This is approximately what governments and tourist companies of English-speaking countries advise.
Ukraine Conflict with Russia
It’s hard to believe, but there are people who are not aware of the revolution that took place in Kiev 4 years ago in 2014, and of the conflict in the Donbass. And during the excursions around Kiev they are surprised that all this was happening in Ukraine. After all, there are practically no traces of tragedy in the capital.
The territory of the Donbass, which in 2018 is still occupied by Russia, is 700 km from Kiev, so there is no danger of visiting the capital of Ukraine. In Kiev, every weekend there are festivals, and the influx of tourists increases every year by 25%. Kiev hosts such international events as the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 and the Final of the Champions League 2018.
Therefore, forget about relationships with Russia. It in no way affects you when in Kyiv.
Small thefts and fraud with foreigners as victims are inherent not only in Kiev, but also in most tourist centers. Therefore, when traveling to any large city, be aware of possible theft, especially on main squares of large cities.
“Ukrainians usually recognize a foreigner in 10 steps, so that no matter how you try to side with the crowd, you will still stand out as a “rich” Western tourist, so do not complicate the situation and do not show your money.”
“Crime rate in Ukraine is growing,” writes the state tourist portal. Especially it is a question of public transport, crowded markets, popular tourist places, as well as bars and nightclubs.
One of the techniques of Ukrainian scammers is described in almost every official recommendation. A passer-by finds someone’s lost wallet right under the feet of a trusting tourist. After that he (and this of course a theft!) amicably offers a foreigner to share the money he has just found and invites the lucky one to go to the cozy courtyard where they can share the money. Foreigners of course are advised not to accept such offers and simply walk away.
Tourists are also advised not to walk alone on unlit streets after sunset.
Does our police protect them?
The government of the United States, whose citizens are regularly concerned about shooting in their own country, prudently explains: in Ukraine, most criminals do not carry pistols or rifles.
However if we speak about violent assaults, it is usually all about punches and kicks or bottles or other similar things that are used as truncheons.
Official and unofficial guidebooks warn: representatives of the less common in Ukraine nationalities, as well as homosexuals have to be especially attentive in Ukraine.
“The situation is far from as bad as, for example, in St. Petersburg, but if you have the appearance of a black, Asian or Middle Eastern person, look out and act especially cautiously when you go out into the street in the evening or at night”
And the US government warns that representatives of sexual minorities can also be attacked in the country. Therefore, same-sex couples are not recommended to show their feelings in crowded places.
The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers do not speak English. In this case, police officers have the right to stop you on the street to check documents, so it is better to carry the passport with you.
If you are not in the city center of Kiev, the roads are bad and unlit, drivers often ignore road signs, do not signal, do not give way to pedestrians, even where crossings are clearly marked; they park on the sidewalks, drive drunk, and sometimes drive without driving license . This is how one can briefly summarize the peculiarities of Ukrainian traffic from the governments of the United States, Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australia.
Therefore, foreigners are recommended not to leave in the evening or night outside the large cities for their own safety.
Being still unknown to the global community, Ukraine has involuntarily become the object of scandals, and foreign travel guides are full of gossips about trips to Ukraine.
As in any other country, in Ukraine there are well-trained tourist attractions, and there are ordinary, everyday realities. This is not because we are “hostile”, but because Ukraine has not yet fully studied the rules for welcoming guests from abroad.
But we learn fast. And as a result, this year Ukraine beats its previous tourist records. For example, in Kiev in 2017, there were 1.66 million guests from abroad, and in Lviv – 1.92 million.
“Talking to foreign guests, I notice that the “enemy” image of Ukraine, artificially created by Western media, is debunked. And if tourists still face certain Ukrainian “realities”, they perceive this as an adventure, as something new”- Kiev guide Anna shares.
If there was a trouble and the foreign driver got into an accident on uncomfortable Ukrainian road, the US government gives clear instructions: do not move the car from the scene of the accident, unless it creates an obviously dangerous situation. However, there is good news: in Ukraine the traffic jam caused by your car is not considered an obviously dangerous situation.
The conclusion is obvious: in Ukraine it is safer to travel by trains and buses, especially since you will have enough interesting impressions there.
“This is a very specific experience: when you see how buses come and go, it would seem without any rhythm or reason, and drivers sometimes decorate their cabins with icons, curtains or plastic flowers.”
Travel guides pay special attention to the Ukrainian city buses.
“The ticket usually costs somewhere between UAH 5 and UAH 8. And it should be remembered that passengers often pass the fare to the driver through the hands of other passengers,” the website of the Irish Department for International Affairs and Trade specifies.
Annoying little things
However, if you listen to foreign tourists who, despite all the warnings visited Ukraine, it becomes clear that they know about this country a little more and deeper than their governments issuing recommendations.
The paradoxical contradictoriness of Ukrainian life was subtly noted by the resident of Turkey: “Ukrainians as a whole are friendly people if you get along closer, but sellers, officials and often passers-by you ask for directions can be incredibly rude.”
Foreign visitors in Ukraine are mostly struck by the bureaucratic, apathetic and sometimes unceremoniously vulgar service.
Dumb workers at hotel check-in counters, sellers who are never in a hurry, and ticket offices closing just when it is your turn after the long queue – Ukraine has yet to get rid of all those annoying trifles inherited from the Soviet Union.
Having spent a little more time in this country, you get used to the crazy style of driving, crowded transport, garbage on the streets, smoking and almost superstitious fear of local residents in front of drafts – that is, fresh air – especially in stuffy shuttles.
On the other hand, all these are the details of a large canvas with very special impressions of the country. And Ukraine is the country where you should go to get off the beaten path in search of real adventures.
Take a local to learn about the nuances that must be avoided by tourists in Kiev.
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