Ukraine to Russia border crossings via pubic transport
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Sep 19, 2012 6:43 AM Last Post By: everbrite
Aug 13, 2012 4:52 AM
If I don't get the visa, I'll need to cross into Russia from the Ukraine.
Does anyone have any info on the best locations and routes to do this using local transport (preferably trains - Kiev to Moscow?).
Aug 13, 2012 5:50 AM
Aug 13, 2012 10:12 AM
2The easiest choice would obviously be the direct Kiev-Moscow trains. Check the Ukrainian Railways page for times and costs. You have to enter "Kyiv" and "Moskva Kievskaia." Platskart (3rd class) costs around $50-65.
You mentioned public transport, so did you mean something other than a direct connection? There is a way to go from from Kharkov, where you take a bus or elektrichka to Belgorod in Russia, then get another train to Moscow.
Aug 13, 2012 10:56 AM
3Many thanks for the info.
If I'm being honest, I normally don't like city-hopping on express trains because it's boring and you don't see or experience anything on such a journey (and of course the express routes are always more expensive).
If possible, I'd like to see something in between Kiev and Moscow or try to make the trip more memorable and an adventurous experience (if any of these are possible between these two locations). Obviously, I want to keep it under control though as I don't want to have any problems at a Russian border.
Can anyone recommend anything to see or do between such a route? Or worthwhile places to visit along the way? Or perhaps do a route in a particular way (another form of transport available)?
Aug 13, 2012 11:28 AM
4Kaluga and Bryansk are the only places you might want to consider. I would probably choose the former.
The problem is one of all roads leading to Rome, or in this case Moscow. There simply aren't too many options going north from Kyiv towards Moscow.
If you head to Kharkiv and then north, you could stop in Tula, famous for its samovars and Yasnaya Polyana, the home and burial place of the writer Leo Tolstoy.
Aug 13, 2012 12:41 PM
5Thank you Ruth. I will definitely look into those routes. Those in-between stops sound worth pouring over.
@celticbhoy7 - Can you tell me more about the "Elektrichka"? It sounds interesting. I'd be very willing to take different modes of transport for short journeys.
Also, I read on another topic about the ferry on the Crimea from Kerch to ? Rostov? This sounds like a route worth taking. Does anyone have any more info on it?
My last route in 2009 started from Lwow -> Odessa -> Kyiv.
This time I would prefer to go from Lwov -> Kyiv -> Odessa -> Dnipropetrovsk -> Donetsk (not necessarily stopping in all those major cities - just to give an example of the direction heading).
This Kerch ferry crossing sounds promising or failing that, even the Kharkhiv Elektrichka option.
Aug 13, 2012 2:23 PM
6Yes, there is a ferry across the straits at Kerch. You should be able to enter Russia there. Try searching this forum as I think there might be a recent report or two.
If you travel this route you could go south and visit Sochi or east and visit Rostov before heading to Moscow assuming that is your goal.
Edited by: everbrite
Aug 13, 2012 11:21 PM
7To be honest, I'm not sure what my goal is! :-S But let's say that heading East through Russia onto Mongolia is the plan for now.
Thanks Ruth - I also found this link supplied by you in another post for the ferries. Do you know if these ferries run daily and will still be running towards the end of this September?
Aug 14, 2012 3:03 AM
8Actually, going via Crimea would be much more interesting so if you have no real plan I would suggest going that route and taking the ferry from Kerch instead of going via Kharkov. The easiest way to get the ferry is actually to take a bus from Kerch to Krasnodar, as the bus will go on the ferry and you'll already have your onward transport.
Dnepropetrovsk is worth a stop. Many people on here write off the east entirely but I'm a fan of this city. There are no "must-sees" but it's the 3rd largest city in Ukraine with a population of just over a million, a nice riverfront walkway, and it just feels completely different from Kiev, Odessa, or Lviv. Zaporozhye, about 2hrs away by bus, is also an interesting place if you're in the area, especially for the giant DneproGES hydroelectric station and Khortitsa island.
I wouldn't really recommend Donetsk though unless you want to see a match of Shakhter.
Crimea is definitely worth some time as well. Trains go to Simferopol but there is really nothing to keep you there. Sevastopol, Balaklava, Bakhchisaray, Yalta, Sudak, Feodosia, Kerch are all points of interest (there are many more but those are just some of the main ones). September is a really good month actually because most of the crowds are gone but the weather is still warm and you can swim. I spent 2 weeks there in Sept 2010 and we had about 25c every day.
Aug 14, 2012 6:02 AM
9My last visit in 2009 was also in September. I found Odessa to still be rather warm in this time so I'm looking forward to visiting Yalta and other places along the Black Sea coast.
I know it's a little off-topic, but while I'm here, I wanted to mention that I'm intending to visit Chernobyl and Pripyat for the second time too. However, this time I would prefer to make the trip more extended into a few days of the area. Last time was only a day-trip and felt rather rushed and I left wanting to see and know more.
I've heard about people organising multi-day trips to do longer tours for things like photography and staying in the nearby "hotel" right outside the Exclusion Zone border.
Last time I (thought I) was lucky because I managed to purchase the trip through the hostel I stayed in as he had a "contact" that cost $160 USD. I thought it was a good price considering what some of the travel agencies wanted for the same trip.
Does anyone know of any good sites, contacts or agencies that could organise such a trip and it won't be a rip-off?
Edited by: jamesdueeast
Aug 14, 2012 2:15 PM
10The only one I know is Solo East At the bottom of the page is some info on that Chernobyl Hotel you're talking about. I notice that the tours now cost $149 which is a bit cheaper than they used to be but it says that it's no longer permitted to enter the buildings in Pripyat. Everyone I spoke to who went said that was the highlight of the trip. They also now require 11 working days to process your request and get permission from the govt. Last year tours were cancelled for awhile because the govt. was making problems for them and really I stopped following it so I don't know how they reached an agreement but at first glance it seems a lot more restrictive now.
Aug 16, 2012 3:32 AM
11Yes, I looked into Solo East's trip to Chernobyl and was very disappointed to see that you can no longer go in the buildings. If that is true, then my photos from 2009 will obviously have a lot more value to them than before.
It sounds like in the last couple of years the trip have become more of a larger tourist destination hence the increase in health and safety for shepherding people around the place.
Thanks again for all the info provided. It's much appreciated.
Aug 16, 2012 5:13 AM
12Sadly the increase in red tape is more likely down to the current government's love of lining its own pockets, and milking foreigners for all they're worth is a great way to do it. The exclusion zone is a military zone, therefore the government has to grant you permission to visit. However, there are Russian-language tours that cost about half price, but you have to be a CIS citizen. There are also apparently (and there was a thread on here maybe a year ago about this topic) ways to go without paying for a tour but you have to get all the paperwork yourself which requires, in addition to Russian or Ukrainian language skills, a great deal of patience. On one hand, it's incredibly important to have control over an area where a few wrong steps can result in radioactive contamination. On the other though, that control obviously doesn't really cost $150/person.
Sep 16, 2012 6:27 AM
13Does anyone know of any nice and cheap accomodation in Kerch? So far, I haven't found any hostels there? Are bed and breakfasts available? I'd rather avoid slighly over-priced Ukrainian hotels, especially in this oblast.
Sep 16, 2012 10:12 AM
14I would be surprised if there were anything in Kerch as it is not a destination, just a place where you might get stuck waiting for ferry crossing.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$81.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$92.59 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$196.75 per night