How Safe Is It In Kiev?

Mar 20th, 2009, 02:18 PM
  #21  
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Hi Stu,

Thank you for all your advice. I believe experience is a good teacher and since you have had extensive experience my nerves have significantly been calmed. Also, after extensive reading of people's opinions, research, and first hand calling various venus in Ukraine your observations tend to have veracity. I will definitely write to you about my experiences!

Thanks again!

Techctzn
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Mar 21st, 2009, 10:16 AM
  #22  
 
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Stu, I have lived in Kyiv for several years. I'm sure during the Soviet Union the police were vigilant towards protecting tourists. They wouldn't want bad publicity. These days, it is common for people of color to be approached by the police with hostility, demanded to show their passports, and asked intrusive questions.

Your level of warnings are appropriate for white tourists. For the most part, there is just petty crime, pickpocketing and the like which in the grand scheme of things is not a big deal and happens in most cities. However, random violence happens to blacks, Asians, and others. Just recently a Mexican diplomat was attacked with a broken beer bottle right downtown, for absolutely no reason other than prejudice. I'm sure Tech will have a good visit but it is relevant to know that there are (rare) hate crimes in Kyiv.

Prices in Kyiv vary dramatically... there are very fancy restaurants (where the quality of the decor usually does not match the quality of the food) but also many reasonably priced ones, especially with the dollar appreciated against the griv.

Souvenirs are cheap too - 100 griv for a nesting doll, maybe more if it is a large one. People seem to like those Ukrainian soccer scarves, maybe 40 griv for one. Most sellers on Andrivsky spoosk speak English and will give you a discount if you buy multiple items. A tourist t-shirt on the street should cost 40 or 50 griv. Anything in the stores is not worth buying because it's all imported from the west and you will pay much more due to the markup for taxes, shipping, etc.
orangetravel is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 09:52 PM
  #23  
 
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Orange:

So you are a Kievite...that should solve Tech's problem about safety. As a fellow Fodorite, why not extend your hand in fellowship and offer to hhelp make his visit a safe and joyous one. I'm sure he'd appreiate it. I hava already done all I can possibly do including suggestions for restos, hotels, etc...But for giving out pesonal assistance, I know I would surely do the same, as would many of our Fosorites. Problems solved.

Thank you in advance, on behalf of Tech.
By the way, do you mind telling us what you're doing in Kiev? My dad (1900) and family were born there, in the Podil district, near what is now Kontraktova Square (Ploschad)
Of course they left in troubling times during the period 1912-1914.

Can we refer all Fodorites who are planning to visit Kiev, to you? It would be of great help to have someone on the ground therein. I wish I had know on my most recent visit in October, last. I'm sure you were familiar with all of the places shown in my pix, above. We did some genealogical gymnastics in Belarus, as well (see pix), finding my wife's mom's birthplace near Brest.Very emotional, as was Babi Yar where my family lost dozens of those who did not leave for the west in prior years.

Best wishes...
stu tower (see above for my email address in L.A.if you care to write)
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Mar 21st, 2009, 09:56 PM
  #24  
 
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Please excuse typos....poor eyesight this time of night...

st
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Mar 22nd, 2009, 12:31 AM
  #25  
 
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Actually I didn't have much to add in the way of restaurant suggestions -- the ones you listed above are great. Re hotels I always, always recommend the Sunflower, I can't think of anywhere else in Kyiv that I would stay. (Other than the Hyatt, but it's way out of my price range!)

Sure, anyone going to Kyiv can ask me questions. I don't check the board every day but I like to come here at least once a week and see what adventures other travelers are having!

Many of the places you visited are new to me though I would like to go someday.. I've mostly done Ukraine (Lviv, Odessa, Crimea) and Central/Western Europe while I've been living here.

I hope I was not too argumentative re: the safety issue. I just think an ounce of prevention can go a long way in ensuring an enjoyable trip. I am so saddened by the rare incidents I hear about, and wish the best for Fodors travelers and everyone else.
orangetravel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 09:10 AM
  #26  
 
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Orange:

I hope I was not too argumentative

Not at all...it was helpful for Tech to get slightly different opinions. I think we both contributed the way Fodorites always should...

Are you working there?
stu
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 01:28 PM
  #27  
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Thank you both for your comments. I am largely relieved to know that Kiev is relatively safe. I heard from another guy who is ethnically mixed but looks Asian and he said that did not have a hard time there in Kiev with racial issues. Since the weather outlook seems to be cold, I intend to wear a long coat, khaki colored, a big hat, a scarf, and dark sunglasses. I should be fairly incognito to anyone looking.

I will check out the restaurants mentioned.

Thank you Orange for the cost of things especially for the souvenirs. Are the street vendors easy to deal with?

I ended up booking with Hotel Rus. From Stu's description, it should be a good hotel. There are a lot of positive reviews about the place from many other people. The Sunflower is nice however it is a bit out of my price range.

My trip is close. I will be in Kiev on April 3 to 8.

Thank you both!

Josh
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:09 PM
  #28  
 
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Josh

as I mentioned above, you can start out with the overabundant included breakfast buffet at Rus ...and you'll find dinner prices are also very moderate. Do get to Opanas and King David's..two of the better offerings in Kiev.(Rethink your incognito outfit..you'll stand out like a retired Cold War operative)..some day I'll tell you about my Cold "faux" War experiences...a mockery, nothing less)

Enjoy it all...

sstu
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:21 PM
  #29  
 
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Tower - I really enjoyed your pictures. My father was from Belarus, but as far as I can tell, his town no longer exists. The town had a name something like Duboi. My mother however is from Lviv and I have been wanting to go there. I even know the street address and was able to find the street on a Lviv map. Your pictures give me renewed motivation to try to make the trip.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:50 PM
  #30  
 
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Thank you Basingstoke...it's a lot easier to send you the synagogue list by [email protected]

Here are the Russian pix that go before the Belarus/Kiev pix..this was my third visit to Russia, twice during SSR days, as far east as Uzbek SSR (scanned pre-digital, of course)

The Russian portion of the Oct-Nov '08 Belarus,Kiev trip was a Viking river trip on the Volga..after which we independently went off to Bel and Kiev.

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/Russia2008#

and the scanned old shots of Uzbekistan and Suzdal:

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/MapUSSR

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuartto...raSamarkand85#

Stu Tower (I'm in L.A.)
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:53 PM
  #31  
 
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Basingstoke:

Best to view the digitals by "slide show"...the scanned also, but you can magnify them by clicking on the magnifying glass icon...Josh, don't mean to hijack here...please forgive...
stu
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Mar 24th, 2009, 12:05 PM
  #32  
 
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Basingstoke...I took your suggestion and it worked...posted Synagogue List on your Rome Photo thread...

stu
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Mar 25th, 2009, 12:56 AM
  #33  
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Hi Stu,

No worries. Thank you for the advice. I decided on a black jacket, jeans, hat, and waterproof shoes. I also bought some thick thermals. It says the high will be 53 and the low 37. Never been in that kind of weather...not taking chances.

Josh

PS. Please check you email for a message from me.
Techctzn is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 06:17 AM
  #34  
 
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basingstoke2 - I highly recommend visiting Lviv (didn't make it to Kiev). To encourage you to move it up your must-see list, my pix are here: http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/264391 (ninth gallery).
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 06:52 AM
  #35  
 
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Nice trip report and photos. That was quite a trip. I'll make time to look at the others too. How long is the Krakow - Lviv journey by train?
basingstoke2 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 07:08 AM
  #36  
 
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Well, when I did it it took about five hours, but bahn.de is now showing seven to nine! (You need to spell Lviv as Lvov.) I don't think the scenery was especially exciting, but I spent a good part of the trip talking with the young man sharing my compartment.
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Apr 24th, 2009, 12:49 AM
  #37  
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Hello!

I would like to report that Kiev is ABSOLUTELY safe!

The reports, Hollywood, and rumors are WRONG!

Heck, I would like to say that Kiev is safer than where I am here in Honolulu! There has been scary stuff going on here on a weekly, if not daily basis!

Techctzn
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Apr 24th, 2009, 03:04 AM
  #38  
 
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i don't know anything about travel for minorities going to kiev, but i've heard and seen (on youtube) numerous incidents of xenophobic, neo-nazi, skinhead-type groups attacking "foreign-looking people in moskow. whether this happens in other russian cities, i do not know. sometimes "white" people are less knowledgeable or concerned about these kinds of things because they wouldn't experience it in europe. on youtube there's a video of a nonwhite medical student in moskow who feels like he's a prisoner on campus because, especially around the time of adolph hitler's birthday, he is required not to go off campus because the usual threat of violence against nonwhites by neo-nazi russian men is particularly elevated during that time. use your judgement!
utrechtman is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 10:11 AM
  #39  
 
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FYI - Kiev is in Ukraine, not Russia. Not that there aren't Ukrainians who would like to be Russian, but let's get the geography right.
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Apr 26th, 2009, 07:08 PM
  #40  
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Thank you thursdaysd!

First, I am Asian. That says a lot right there.
Second, Kiev is in Ukraine. There is a joke in Ukraine. Ukrainians joke that they thank God that they are not born Russians.
Third, I would never visit Russia. There are too many restrictions to travel and definitely higher chance of violence. Plus, they are not as amenable to the United States in general. On the other hand, Ukraine is.
Forth, I ran around the populated portions of Kiev during the day and night and even took the metro and no one bothered me. I actually was more of a bother to people because I got lost.

It takes experience and I am just sharing my experiences.

Tech
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