Ukraine Travel Warnings: Myths and Truth

17.04.18
Ukraine Travel Warnings: Myths and Truth

Is it safe to travel to Ukraine? Those who are going to visit Ukraine for the first time always have numerous questions about safety in the country. It is no surprise: judging from the world mass media, Ukraine has quite an ambiguous image. On the one hand, it looks as a fast-evolving country with friendly people and beautiful nature, regularly hosting important events; but on the other hand, it may seem a corrupted country with significant crime rate and a war conflict in the East. Let`s distinguish truth and fiction about travelling to Ukraine.

War?
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One of the most frequently asked things about Ukraine is: “Is there is a war in Ukraine?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes, but fortunately, this answer does not relate to the whole territory of the country. Ukraine officially includes 24 oblasts (regions) and Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Only 2 Eastern oblasts of Ukraine (Donetska and Luganska) are involved in a war conflict with pro-Russian forces, and Autonomous Republic of Crimea is a disputed territory annexed by Russia. The other 22 regions of Ukraine are completely peaceful and safe for visiting. As for visiting Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts`, we highly recommend you to forget this idea. It is obvious that in the current period of time these areas are not suitable for tourism and should be avoided (except for a situation if you are a military reporter or so).
Read: What Is It Like To Live in Ukraine
Crime Rate and Safety Rules
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So, is Ukraine safe to visit? Yes, if you keep to some common restrictions while travelling in Ukraine. Let`s be real, our country cannot boast the lowest rate of crime on the globe. In 2018, SOS international organization that deals with the safety of tourists all over the world rated Ukraine as a country with middle risks for travelers on the similar level with Mexico and India. Though Ukrainian Government takes serious steps to increase the level of police work and general safety, there is still much to do. However, if you stick to some general recommendations, you are almost guaranteed to avoid getting into trouble, being robbed or cheated. Our advisory of travelling through Ukraine includes the following:
– just for the case, keep your values out of people`s sight. Let your wallet, smartphone or jewelry stay in your bag – unseen for others.
– do not take much cash when you go out. Better have a reasonable amount of cash in your wallet and keep other money on cards. Under “reasonable amount” we mean approximately a sum of money you might need to spend a day walking around, going to some shops or restaurants etc. It is not recommended to stroll around the city with enough money for buying a new Porsche or so.
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– avoid walking around the non-central districts of cities in late hours. If you do so, you are likely to meet “gopniks” (a slang word for Slavic guys from ghetto) who can involve you into a fight or try to steal your values. Walking around at night in the central areas of the cities, like Khreschatyk street in Kyiv or Deribasivska street in Odesa, is safe.
Read: Moving to Ukraine
– do not establish close contact with suspicious strangers, even (especially!) if they are very nice to you. Of course, you can get lucky and meet a good person who is just willing to help, but there is also a chance to meet someone who wishes to cheat you. The best advice is to have a reliable local friend who will spend time with you and help you to avoid dangerous situations. If you do not have such a friend, you can try looking in Couchsurfing or in other similar services before your trip.
– avoid overpaying for accommodation and services. Sometimes foreigners face the problem of locals trying to sell them something for cosmic prices just because they do not know the local costs. Be prepared: for example, you can check out this website to learn average Ukrainian prices in a particular city.
Corruption
Sadly, Ukraine is well-known for the high level of corruption. If you realize that you are being asked for a bribe, we recommend to refuse it and to ask for legal help. You can contact police, lawyer, the Embassy of your country or National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine. For sure, employees of these institutions will help you to protect yourself from unfair exaction.
Read: How to Travel to Ukraine
Useful Contacts
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Let us extend our Ukraine travel advisory with some useful contacts.
Telephone number of police: 102
Telephone number of ambulance: 103
Telephone number of fire department/rescue service: 101
Address and telephone of the Embassy of the USA: 4, Igorya Sykorskogo street, 044 521 5000
Address and telephone of the Embassy of Canada: 13, Kostyolna street, 044 590 3100
Address and telephone of the Embassy of Germany: 25, Bogdana Khmelnytskogo street, 044 281 1100
Address and telephone of the Embassy of China: 32, Grushevskogo street, 044 253 1329
Address and telephone of the Embassy of France: 39, Reitarska street, 044 590 3600
If you need any help and advice from people who are already experienced about staying in Ukraine, contact these communities: Expats in Ukraine, Expats in Kyiv
Read: Specifics of Ukrainian National Character
Advantages of Travelling to Ukraine
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Now let`s forget the problems and remember the positive sides of visiting Ukraine. Ukraine is a beautiful country appreciated by travelers for amazing nature, authentic culture, humorous, friendly and hospitable people. This is a place to enjoy numerous interesting events and historical landmarks in Kyiv; the wonderful Black Sea and bright nightlife of Odesa; sophisticated architecture and delicious coffee & chocolate in Lviv; breathtaking mountain views and berry wine of Carpathians. This is an evolving and vivid country where you will never feel bored and will always enjoy every moment discovering unique spirit and character of cities and their dwellers. Relatively low prices, rich historical and cultural heritage, good climate – Ukraine is ready to delight you in many ways. If you want to feel life to the fullest, Ukraine is the right destination for you.
So, is Ukraine safe to travel after all? Our answer is yes – if you keep to the common rules and behave in a reasonable way, you will have only good memories about your Ukrainian trip. Welcome!
Photo source: https://unsplash.com/. All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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