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Belarus Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +3.

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European two-prong plugs with circular pins are in use. Schuko plugs are also in use.

Language

Russian and Belarusian are both official languages, with the majority speaking Russian.

Travel Health

No vaccinations are required for entry to Belarus. Visitors should not drink unpurified tap water. Medical care is limited and essential medications are not frequently available, while facilities lack modern equipment. The best equipped are private clinics, which are available in Minsk. Doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash. Travel insurance with air evacuation cover is highly recommended.

Tipping

Tipping in Belarus is not as common as in many other countries, but it is adequate to round up the bill or taxi fare, and a 10 percent tip for excellent service will not go amiss.

Safety Information

Most visits to Belarus are trouble free. The crime rate is very low. However, precautions should be taken against mugging, pick-pocketing, and theft from vehicles or hotel rooms. There have been instances of theft from travellers on sleeper trains between Warsaw and Moscow.

Local Customs

While visiting Belarus, do not take photographs of government buildings, military installations, or uniformed officials. Be aware that jaywalkers are heavily fined. Whistling inside a building is considered bad luck.

Business

Business appointments in Belarus should be made well in advance through a local third party with a good reputation and connections. When meeting, address people with their surnames and a brief handshake. Meetings are usually formal, and negotiations can be protracted.

A great deal of concessionary bargaining is expected. Bureaucracy and legal matters in Belarus are complicated so it is best to hire local professionals to assist. Dates in Belarus are written with the day first, then the month, and then the year.

Communications

The international dialling code for Belarus is +375. There are several mobile network operators in Belarus, at least two of which operate GSM networks. Coverage is good in the major towns and along the highways, but generally not available in rural areas. Mobile phones may be rented from local service providers.

Duty Free

The duty free allowance for visitors entering Belarus is 3 litres of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco products, a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use, and goods up to the value of US$1,500.

Become our Belarus Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Belarus travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Belarus or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.