Finland to Russia

Old Dec 20th, 2015, 02:32 PM
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Finland to Russia

Does anyone have a credible tour agency wherein we can arrange travel from Helsinki to St Petersburg that would include hotels in SP and tours?

The last time we were in SP/USSR we were 'con'd'

Vaga
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Old Dec 20th, 2015, 02:53 PM
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Red Star Travel in Seattle was very helpful when I was getting my visa for Russia. I recommend them.

If I go to St. Petersburg again, I will have them arrange for day tours and/or tickets for the interiors of the various places. The lines for tickets were so long that I wasn't able to see the interiors of any of the palaces.
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Old Dec 20th, 2015, 04:39 PM
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Don't know what you man by "conned". Did they take your money and not provide services? Or services not to your liking?

Russia is not cheap for decent hotels and private guides if that is what you are looking for.

And not sure why you want Helsinki. Since it takes quite a bit of time to get a visa for Russia I would work with someone neat your home you would have easier access to.
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Old Dec 20th, 2015, 07:03 PM
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I'm sorry I can't help with the question you pose; I just wanted to make sure you know that it is quite easy to travel independently to St. Petersburg, from Helsinki or elsewhere. No need for a tour unless that is your preference.
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Old Dec 21st, 2015, 01:18 AM
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Thank you for the many replies.
Answers
1) Con'd - False exchange of money
2) We will contact Red Star (interesting name). Since Russia is being unjustly punished by the west, the Ruble is very low and this is a rare opportunity to travel there.
3) Revisiting the palaces and especially Hermitage is our goal. Thus, advance tickets, via travel agency, may be the only alternative.
4) Decent hotels - All we need is a quiet place to sleep - no services. We are Lonely Planet type of travelers
5) Travel independently

- Question: Are taxi services reliable and 'metered' or ?

Vaga
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Old Dec 21st, 2015, 03:35 AM
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Can't you just go to Finnish railways www.vr.fi , click, click, click, print, that's your cheap Allegro train ticket booked from Helsinki to St Petersburg....

...Go to booking.com, click, click, that's a hotel booked.

Job done?
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Old Dec 21st, 2015, 04:22 AM
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No, taxis are not metered. You negotiate with the driver before you start the ride. We used them a lot and they were much cheaper than NYC - but obviously not cheap based on the local economy.

We visited independently (our first trip, in the dark ages, was when guided travel was the only choice) and found hotels we liked (not basic at all) were not cheap, nor was good food. Ballet tickets etc were much cheaper when we bought at the box office rather than through a hotel or ticket broker/tour operator - by a factor of 10.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 12:39 AM
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Viting Russia requires visa. But there is 72 hour visa-free rule in St.Petersburg - if a person arrives by ferry from Helsinki and book organised tour then he can enter St.Petersburg wothout visa for 72 hours.

So it might worth checking Helsinki - St.Petersburg ferry line:
St.Peter Line

They also offer tour within city
http://anastasia.stpeterline.com/en/...etersburg.aspx

I haven't use them but heard many european tourist use it to have short 72 hours visa free trip to St.Petersburg.


Taxi: i prefer not catch it on the streets since you will be overcharged 2-3 times more than usual price. There some oficial taxi operators which have english speaking stuff. Just try google "taxi st.petersburg english" and you will get a number of www links
FYI: Taxi from airport to city center doesn't cost more RUB 800-1000 (~usd 15), and the same within city center costs no more than RUB 700-800. If any taxi driver/operator asks more then try another one.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 07:45 PM
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Appreciate all the advice
Non metered taxi is fraud-in-waiting especially if you don't speak the local language.

Unfortunately, when touring time is the enemy and a taxi becomes the friend.

We plan to leave SP for Moscow; consequently, we need a longer stay visa.

Tonight I'll Google Pegonontheroad recommendation of Red Star travel agency. that has to be balanced by NYtraveler observation of 10:1 price reductions and Pegonontheroad observation of long lines (time consumer)

Anyone rent a car at SP or Moscow? I've driven in many countries including opposite road England/Japan/Australia

Vaga
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Old Dec 22nd, 2015, 09:28 PM
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You can book Hermitage ticket on line, pick it up there, avoid lineup...
Hotels are easy to book, as suggested.....
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 08:42 AM
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You don't want to drive in SP or Moscow. It's not worth it. Traffic and bad drivers will ruin your vacation. Find a reputable taxi company or hire a driver through a travel agency, if you can.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 12:50 PM
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The ticket price was only for the ballet - not the museums.

We were never cheated by a taxi - have only had this tried once in europe (in Prague) and the driver lost. I just got out and paid him what I knew it was worth. He cursed me and threatened to call the police and I invited him to do so.
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Old Dec 24th, 2015, 07:49 AM
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Many, many thanks for all your valued information.

Merry Christmas to all with this very unique song

https://www.facebook.com/PeterHollen..._finch_trailer


Vaga
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