Belarus Travel Information
Local time is GMT +3.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European two-prong plugs with circular pins are in use. Schuko plugs are also in use.
Russian and Belarusian are both official languages, with the majority speaking Russian.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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