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Ukraine Travel Information

The Basics

Time

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

Electricity

Electrical current is 220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are the round two-pin variety.

Language

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

Travel Health

Tap water is best avoided but it's easy to find still and sparkling bottled water. There is a serious issue of widespread HIV and the level of sexually transmitted diseases is high. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and, for travellers who plan on taking long trips to remote areas, rabies. State medical facilities are generally poor and private institutions, though better, do not always meet western standards. Comprehensive travel insurance is advised and it's recommended that visitors bring a supply of personal medication.

Tipping

Tipping is common in the Ukraine but not obligatory. It's generally fine for patrons to round up to the nearest 10 or 50 UAH if they want to show their appreciation for the quality of service.

Safety Information

Most visits to the Ukraine are trouble-free but foreigners are considered lucrative targets for petty theft and street crime. 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.

Ukraine has experienced serious political unrest in the recent past and continues to do so, and most governments have instituted travel warnings for parts of the country. The eastern part of Ukraine and Crimea are particularly to be avoided. Travellers are advised to research the current situation and to stay up to date on travel alerts for various regions.

Visitors are advised to avoid all demonstrations and take care around public gatherings.

Local Customs

Homosexuality is legal but there is a high level of intolerance towards the LGBT+ community.

Business

Ukrainian business people are generally less formal than in other countries. English isn't widely spoken so the use of interpreters may be necessary; knowledge of German, Russian, or Ukrainian will be useful. During meetings formal attire is customary for both men and women, although women are not traditionally part of the business world and visiting businesswomen may be subjected to chauvinism. Business cards should have one side translated into Ukrainian and presented with the Ukrainian side facing the recipient. Meetings often include informalities and sociable questions, and will regularly begin with a welcoming alcoholic drink, which it is 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. Mobile phone network coverage is fairly extensive, but international roaming can be expensive. Local SIM cards are a cheaper option and are compatible with European and Australian phones. Visitors from the US and other regions should consider purchasing cheap Ukrainian mobiles. Free wifi is the norm in cafes, hotels and restaurants across the country, and is often available at bus stations, train stations and airports, and on intercity trains and long-distance coaches.

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.

Become our Ukraine Travel Expert

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