Kyivtips

TIME: Ukrainian Time is +2 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) It is altered twice a year to save electric power. The watches are set one hour forward in the last week of March and it's called Summer Time. The watches are set one hour backward in the last week of October and it's called Winter Time. To find out the exact time, dial 121.

 

ELECTRICITY: Electrical appliancies operate at 220V in Ukraine. Plugs and wall sockets differ from North America and the U.K., being of european two pin style. So, don't forget to take an International Power Adaptor and a power converter. Traveling with electronics will become much easier. For valuable equipment, you may consider bringing a surge protector.

 

WATER: It's not recommended to drink tap water in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine. The better choice will be to buy bottled water for drinking. You should be aware however that some bottled water from the smaller Kiosks can be counterfeit. The brand BonAqua or Morshins'ka seems to be the best bet as far as getting the genuine product. Also for cooking or drinking (after boiling) you could always use different types of filters (water purifyers) which you can get at the supermarkets.

 

MONEY: The National Currency is Hryvnia (Hryvna, Hryvnya, Grivna). 1 Hryvnia equels 100 kopiykas. USA dollars and Euros are the most popular foreign currency in Ukraine. Make sure your foreign currency bills are new looking and crisp.

 

SAFETY: Kyiv is a quite safe city. The city center is safer than the outskirts. Keep your valuables at the safe place, better somewhere in your inner pockets. Having a security belt while traveling might be wise. Also keep the photocopies of your documents (passport, drivers license) in a safe place just in case if the original would be lost or stolen. Don't flash a lot of money at the public places and try not to walk alone late at night. Don't open the door if you are not expecting anybody. If you are going to do business in Ukraine, learn the language! But in general, just use your common sense, like you would while travelling to any other country.

 

METRO: Learning the Metro system will be key to enjoying all that Kyiv has to offer. It’s quite cheap (2 UAH), safe, on time, and fairly simple to learn. We would highly recommend the translated “bi-lingual” Metro plan  as nearly all signs here will be in Ukrainian or Russian only.

 

CREDIT CARDS: Many places in Kiev started to accept major credit cards like Visa or MasterCard and some other. But it is still recommended to have cash with you as well and not to rely solely on credit cards. Only use a Card to debit for cash at a safe location. If you do use your Credit Card, don't ever let it leave your site when handled by the seller.

 

MONEY EXCHANGE: You can change money at the airport but the rate is not as good as in town. However you will need to have some local currency to get you to your Hotel. You should be able to get by changing approx. $100 at the airport, then the bulk of your monetary needs at a local money exchange point or at the bank later in town. Don’t change money with strangers on the street!! You will probably be tricked into losing your money and it’s ILLEGAL!!

 

TIPPING: Tipping used to be non-existant. In recent years the introduction of modern restaurants and entertainment establishments with thier Western clientele have changed all that. Today you can expect to tip in an average Ukrainian establishment between 10 - 15 percent. In the more upscale enviornments tipping will be more in line with western standards. Sometimes it's included in the bill. Drivers are normaly not tipped, unless you feel he deserves it, then it's greatly appreciated.

 

In Ukraine: the temperature is in Celcius ( C ), weight is in gramms ( gr ) / kilogramms ( kg ), height is in meters ( m ) and kilometers ( km ), volumes are in litres ( l ).

 

 Local Customs Tips

  • If you bring flowers, make sure it is an odd number of flowers.
  • Never put an empty bottle on the table (only alcoholic drinks bottles, when you are partying). Put the bottle on the floor.
  • Do not shake hands accross the threshold of a door. It is considered bad luck.
  • As a rule, you cannot "change hands" when pouring drinks. A person, who started to pour drinks, will be a bartender for the evening.
  • At the entrance of upscale restaurants, expect that your coat, briefcase or baggage will be checked.
  • Never whistle inside the house. It means that there will not be any money in the house.
  • Ukrainians never celebrate their birthday before it officially comes as it is considered a bad luck.
  • Ukrainians wear the marriage ring on their right hand.
  • Be prepared to take off your shoes upon entering a house. Most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers.
  • In Orthodox Churches women wear scarves or hats, and men take off their hats.
  • A single girl will never sit at the corner of the table, because it is considered that she will not get married during 7 years.
  • It is considered a bad luck to return to your house after you've already left. (if you forgot something, etc.) But it is possible to reduce this bad effect by glancing in the mirror. :)
  • Sometimes locals don't want to take money from your hand, so you might be asked to put them on the table, sofa etc., only after that they'll take them. (for ex. if you are renting a private appartment) (explanation: usually this rule is active if you see the person first time)
  • When a member of the household departs on a journey, don't sweep the floor until they arrive at their destination.
  • Don't repay loans in the evening. :)
  • Don't take the garbage out in the evenings. :)
  • When passing through the aisles in a theater or elsewhere, it is polite to face the people sitting down.