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Kiev Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +2 (GMT +3, Mar - Oct)

Electricity

Electrical current in Ukraine is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are round pin attachment variety with two pins.

Language

Ukrainian is the official language, but Russian is also widely spoken.

Travel Health

Immunisation against diphtheria, hepatitis A, tick-borne encephalitis and rabies should be considered before travel to the Ukraine. Typhoid vaccinations are recommended for long-term travellers who might eat outside of major hotels and restaurants. Tap water is best avoided, or treated by boiling or with chemicals. HIV is widespread and the level of sexually transmitted diseases is high. Due to the risk of exposure to pollutants and radioactive materials, swimming in the Dnieper River should be avoided. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised, and visitors are advised to bring a supply of personal medication.

Tipping

Tipping is fairly new in the Ukraine and expected in restaurants, usually 5-10% of the bill. In more upmarket establishments 10% is more the norm if not already included in the bill. Drivers are not usually tipped.

Safety Information

Most visits are trouble-free, and there are no travel warnings in place for Ukraine. Foreigners are lucrative targets for petty theft and street crime in the Ukraine, and valuables should be kept out of sight, especially in crowded areas and at tourist spots. Particular care should be taken on public transport and overnight trains.

Local Customs

Homosexuality is legal and generally tolerated in the Ukraine.

Business

Ukraine, because of a troubled recent history, is trapped in many paradoxical laws and business is observed quite differently than in the west. However, after the country's break from Soviet ties, there are unprecedented opportunities for the entrepreneur, but not many people speak English and the use of interpreters may be necessary; knowledge of German, Russian or Ukrainian will be useful. During meetings formal attire is observed for both men and women, although women are not traditionally part of the business world, and visiting businesswomen will undoubtedly be subjected to chauvanism. Meetings often include informalities and sociable questions, and will begin with a welcoming alcoholic drink, which would be considered rude to refuse. These are often used for character evaluation and it is considered impolite to delve straight into business matters. Typical business hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Communications

The international dialling code for the Ukraine is +380. The outgoing code is 810 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 81044 for the United Kingdom); wait for a second dial tone after dialling 8, followed by 10. International Direct Dialling is available in most cities. Internal dialling is used; the code for Kiev is (8)44. The GSM 900/1800 network coverage is fairly widespread, but international roaming is fairly expensive. There are internet cafes available in Kiev, and other main cities.

Duty Free

Travellers to the Ukraine can bring in 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco products; 1 litre of spirits and 2 litres of wine; and goods for personal use, as well as goods with a total value of €200, without incurring customs duty. Prohibited items include items that can have an impact on the environment, and agricultural goods and live animals.

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