Bargaining

Haggling is not common in Ukraine and probably shouldn't be attempted. The only time we would recommend it is if you know you are being overcharged at a market.

Climate

Ukraine has an extreme continental climate with temperatures dipping down to -30C in winter and +40C in summer. These can be extremely uncomfortable times to travel, especially the hotter months. The Black Sea and the altitude of the Carpathians take the edge off the sweltering temperatures, but only slightly.

Dangers & Annoyances

With Ukraine in the news for all the wrong reasons, safety is a major concern for travellers these days. However, Ukraine is no more dangerous than it ever was – in fact, with better policing and improving roads, the country may actually be safer than it was pre-Maidan.

Hazardous Highways

You don’t need to travel very long in Ukraine to realise that it has some of the most perilous driving conditions in Europe. The country’s mix of poorly lit, potholed roads, an often idiotically aggressive driving style and the poor state of many (seatbelt-less) vehicles is a lethal cocktail indeed.

In a bid to stop the carnage and stimulate at least a basic instinct for self-preservation in local drivers, Ukrainian TV channels broadcast daily and weekly programs featuring dashcam footage of horrific road accidents, most of which are caused by mind-boggling stupidity and/or drunkenness.

Government Travel Advice

The following government websites offer travel advisories and information on current hot spots. Note that all of them advise against any travel to Crimea or to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.

  • Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (www.smartraveller.gov.au)
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca)
  • UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.fco.gov.uk)
  • US State Department (http://travel.state.gov)

Crime

Ukraine is normally as safe as most Western European countries; however, petty theft is a serious problem.

Theft

Avoiding becoming a victim of theft is a matter of common sense:

  • Don’t flash your money around.
  • Watch your wallet and belongings, particularly on public transport and in crowded situations.
  • Stay low-key in appearance and have more than one place on your body where you stash your cash.
  • Avoid being alone at night in parks or secluded places.
  • In hostels, stash your gear away in lockers – traveller-on-traveller crime is all too common.
  • Lock your compartment door on overnight trains.

Credit-Card Fraud

Credit-card fraud is a fairly recent but increasingly common phenomenon. Be particularly careful when using ATMs and only use cards in reputable locations if possible. Take all the usual precautions to make sure no one sees or copies your PIN.

The Dropped-Wallet Scam

This well-known rort starts with you suddenly noticing a wallet or a large wad of cash on the ground nearby. If you pick it up, you’ll be approached by someone saying it’s theirs. They’ll thank you…and then say that they had two wallets or wads of cash and accuse you of stealing the other. Alternatively, they’ll directly accuse you of stealing the first wallet. Accomplices might be brought in as witnesses or ‘police’. Don’t get involved and walk away quickly.

Racist Attacks

Ukraine has tended to be more welcoming to people of African, Asian and Caribbean appearance than neighbouring Russia, though that’s not saying a lot. There have been attacks on non-Europeans, but the situation is nowhere near as bad as it is in, say, St Petersburg or Moscow. If you’re black, Asian or Middle Eastern, stay alert and exercise extreme caution if going out alone at night.

War & Crimea

The war with Russia affects a small part of the far southeast of Ukraine and has little direct impact on the rest of the country. Do not be tempted to visit Donetsk – as a foreigner you are a prime target for kidnapping or accusations of spying.

The situation in Crimea is not as acute, but from the Ukrainian point of view, entering the peninsula via Russia is tantamount to illegal border crossing, and holders of foreign passports can only travel between Crimea and Ukraine proper with special permission from the Ukrainian government.

Discount Cards

The only discount card in Ukraine is the new Kyiv City Card (https://citycard.travel/kiev-en/), which gives discounts on museums and restaurants and will, it is hoped, also include public transport in the future.

Embassies & Consulates

The following are located in Kyiv unless otherwise noted. Call your embassy if you need emergency help. Consulates issue visas and can help their own citizens if there is no embassy.

Australian Consulate

Belarusian Embassy

Canadian Embassy

Dutch Embassy

French Embassy

Georgian Embassy; Consulate

German Embassy

Hungarian Embassy

Moldovan Embassy

Polish Embassy

Romanian Embassy; Consulate

Russian Embassy; Consulate

UK Embassy

US Embassy

Emergency & Important Numbers

When calling within a city, leave off the city code.

Ukraine country code38
International access code00
General emergency number112

Entry & Exit Formalities

  • Your passport must be valid for the duration of your intended stay in Ukraine (obviously). It must be stamped with a visa if you need one.
  • Entry is usually trouble-free and border officials ask few questions these days.

Customs Regulations

You are allowed to carry up to €10,000 when entering Ukraine without having to sign any documentation. You are also permitted to bring in the following items duty-free:

  • 1L of spirits
  • 2L of wine
  • 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco
  • €50 worth of food

If you exceed these limits, you’ll have to sign a deklaratsiya (customs declaration). Be careful not to lose this completed form – you will need to present it when departing the country. See www.iatatravelcentre.com/UA-Ukraine-customs-currency-airport-tax-regulations-details.htm for information in English.

It’s prohibited to export antiques (including icons), works of art or cultural/historical treasures without special written permission from the Ministry of Culture.

Visas

Generally, visas are not needed for stays of up to 90 days.

More Information

Citizens of the EU, Canada, the USA and many other nations can stay without visas for up to 90 days. Australian citizens still need a visa. as does anyone intending to work, study, take up permanent residency or stay for more than 90 days. Some visa-on-arrival arrangements for tourists are available at major airports and sea ports. Check before departure.

For other matters related to visas:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (www.mfa.gov.ua) Offers a complete list of embassies.

Letters of invitation These are technically needed for all visas, although this is more of a formality these days.

Validity Single- and double-entry visas can be bought for one to six months. Multiple-entry visas are valid for three to 12 months.

Visa types Business, tourist and private, with single, double and multiple entries available.

Visa Extensions

In theory you can extend your visa at the DMS Main Department (www.dmsu.gov.ua) office, but the process is a bureaucratic ordeal that’s best avoided if at all possible. Take a friend or helper along if you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian.

Many foreigners who reach the end of their 90-day visa-free limit simply make a 'border run', leaving the country then immediately entering again, giving them another 90 days in the country.

Etiquette

Ukrainians are pretty relaxed about foreigners making the odd faux pas, but there are a few dos and don'ts you should know about to avoid embarrassment.

  • Always remove your shoes when entering someone's house – slippers will be provided.
  • Bring a small gift when invited to someone's home.
  • Saying the odd dobry den (hello), do pobachenya (goodbye) and dyakuju (thanks) goes a long way.
  • Women should cover their heads in Orthodox churches.
  • On public transport, give up your seat to those with children.
  • Avoid declaring constantly how cheap Ukraine is for you – it ain't for most locals.
  • Be wary of talking to strangers about the war with Russia and the occupation of Crimea.

Gay & Lesbian Travellers

Ukraine lags behind most of Europe on gay rights, but pride marches do take place, heavily guarded by police and threatened by right-wing thugs. Ukrainian ultranationalists in the west and their pro-Russian foes in the east of the country have both been engaged in homophobic rhetoric and attacks on gays. Kyiv appears to have the most enlightened approach to the issue, while Lviv and Kharkiv have shown signs of institutional homophobia.

  • Homosexuality is legal in Ukraine.
  • Few people are very out here and attitudes vary – what's acceptable in large cities may not be in smaller communities.
  • Ukraine’s gay scene is largely underground, but gay clubs do exist in big cities.
  • Displays of affection between two men (and perhaps two women) in public could create hostility.
  • The biggest scene is in Kyiv, but Kharkiv and Odesa have one or two clubs.

The following are useful gay websites:

  • www.gayua.com
  • www.gay.org.ua

Insurance

Make sure you are fully insured before heading to Ukraine. Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/bookings. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.

Private health insurance is an absolute must for Ukraine. If you need to see a doctor, approaching a private medical clinic is vastly preferable to entering the third-world state health system. Neither are free. Brits should be aware that in 2016 the UK government quietly scrapped reciprocal agreements with most former Soviet republics, meaning UK citizens are not covered for emergencies as they once were.

If you’re staying longer than 90 days in the country (and therefore will need a visa), you might also be asked to show you have appropriate health insurance, as decided by the Department of Citizenship, Passport & Immigration.

Checking insurance quotes…

Internet Access

Internet service in Ukraine has improved immensely in recent years.

  • Free wi-fi internet access is the norm in hotels, cafes and restaurants across the country, with or without a password.
  • Bus stations, train stations and airports often have free wi-fi.
  • Most cities have free wi-fi hotspots.
  • Wi-fi is available on Intercity trains and on some long-distance coaches.
  • Upmarket hotels often have a business centre with a couple of terminals hooked up to the internet.
  • Internet cafes are uncommon these days; many of them have devolved into dodgy gaming centres.

Maps

Accurate city plan mista (maps) are widely available for all reasonably sized cities. They’re available from bookshops and news kiosks.

Kartohrafiya (www.ukrmap.com.ua) The most widely available local maps covering the entire country. Particularly good for the Carpathians.

Easyway (www.eway.in.ua) Detailed online maps of Ukrainian cities, including public transport.

Freytag & Berndt (www.freytagberndt.at) Austrian company producing a comprehensive Ukraine-Moldova (1:1,000,000) map. Order online.

GPS Server (www.navigation.com.ua) Download very detailed maps of the Carpathians and other parts of Ukraine to your Garmin GPS device.

Stanfords (www.stanfords.co.uk) This UK travel bookshop sells a wide range of Ukraine road atlases and city maps. Everything can be ordered online.

Media

Newspapers

Newspapers include Fakti i Kommentarii (www.fakty.ua), Segodnya (www.segodnya.ua), Ukrayina Moloda (www.umoloda.kiev.ua), Holos Ukrayiny (www.golos.com.ua) and Vysoky Zamok (www.wz.lviv.ua). News weeklies include Korrespondent (http://korrespondent.net) and English-language Kyiv Post (www.kyivpost.com). UNIAN (www.unian.info) is the Ukrainian news agency and has an English-language website.

Radio

Hundreds of FM radio stations broadcast in Ukrainian and Russian; BBC World Service (www.bbc.co.uk) and Radio Liberty (www.rferl.org) broadcast in English.

TV

Channels include Inter TV (www.inter.ua), Hromadske (www.hromadske.ua), 1+1 (www.1plus1.ua), 5 Kanal (www.5.ua), state-run UT-1 (www.1tv.com.ua), and pop-music channels M1 (http://m1.tv/ua/) and MTV.

Money

ATMs are widespread, even in small towns. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants.

ATMs

  • Cash machines/ATMs are more common than in some Western countries and can be found in the same sorts of places.
  • ATMs limit withdrawal amounts depending on which bank they belong to. This can be as low as 2000uah.
  • The best way to manage your money here is to take it out of your account in hryvnya.
  • Cirrus, Plus, Visa, MasterCard/EuroCard and other global networks are all recognised.
  • ATMs are often slow and clunky. The English translations of the instructions can be unclear.
  • Your own bank will charge you a small fee for taking out foreign currency.
  • Some ATMs also distribute euros and US dollars.
  • When possible, try to avoid street ATMs and use those inside bank offices to avoid card-number theft.

Cash

Exchanging currency is still very much a part of everyday life for many locals. Hoarding hard currency is still common. Rip-off rates are unusual.

  • US dollars, euros and Russian roubles are the easiest currencies to exchange.
  • The British pound is harder to exchange, except in Kyiv.
  • In western Ukraine, Polish zloty and Hungarian forints are widely accepted.
  • Banks and currency exchange offices will not accept old, tatty notes with rips or tears.
  • US dollar bills issued before 1990 cannot be exchanged.

Credit Cards & International Transfers

Credit cards are accepted by most restaurants and shops, but much of the Ukrainian economy is still cash only. Also, be alert to possible credit-card fraud.

With so many ATMs, asking a bank for an advance is unnecessary unless you've forgotten your PIN. The process can be long and rather bureaucratic.

Western Union and many similar services will receive money wired from anywhere in the world.

Currency

  • The Ukrainian hryvnya (uah) is divided into 100 kopecks.
  • Coins come in denominations of one, five, 10, 25 and 50 kopecks and one hryvnya.
  • Notes come in one, two, five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 hryvnya.
  • Kopecks have become virtually worthless and prices are often rounded up or down.
  • There is a chronic shortage of change throughout the country – try to give the correct money whenever you can.
  • In Russian-speaking regions, people may still quote prices in roubles instead of hryvnya from force of habit.
  • It’s virtually impossible to buy any hryvnya before you get to Ukraine and it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$121uah
CanadaC$121.50uah
Europe€131.50uah
Japan¥10024uah
New ZealandNZ$119uah
Poland1zł7uah
RussiaR104.50uah
UKUK£134uah
USUS$126uah

For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.

Moneychangers

Some hotels have an exchange office and there are numerous exchange kiosks (обмін валют) scattered along main streets and within markets (though not as many as there once were). Rates vary very little and none charge commission.

Tipping

Tipping is rare in Ukraine. Round up the price to the nearest 10uah or 50uah if you want to give a little extra. Leaving 10% of the bill would surprise many waiters and your money might be returned in the belief you had inadvertently overpaid!

Opening Hours

Opening hours are consistent throughout the year with very few seasonal variations. Lunch breaks (1pm to 2pm or 2pm to 3pm) are an all-too-common throwback to Soviet days. Sunday closing is rare.

Banks 9am–5pm Monday to Friday

Restaurants 11am–11pm

Cafes 9am–10pm

Bars and Clubs 10pm–3am

Shops 9am–9pm daily

Sights 9am–5pm or 6pm, closed at least one day a week

Post

The national postal service is run by Ukrposhta (www.ukrposhta.ua). However, many now use the privately owned Nova Poshta (www.novaposhta.ua), an efficient branch-to-branch alternative to the state-run service.

  • Sending a postcard or a letter of up to 20g costs 18uah to anywhere outside Ukraine.
  • Major post offices (poshta or poshtamt) are open from around 8am to 9pm weekdays, and 9am to 7pm on Saturday.
  • Smaller post offices close earlier and are not open on Saturday.
  • Outward mail is fairly reliable, but you should always send things avia (airmail).
  • Mail takes about a week or less to reach Europe, and two to three weeks to the USA or Australia.
  • Take packages to the post office unwrapped, so their contents can be verified.
  • The state-run International Express Mail (EMS) is available at most main post offices.
  • Incoming post is not very reliable.
  • DHL and FedEx have offices throughout Ukraine.

Addressing Mail

  • Traditionally, addresses were written in reverse order (eg Ukraina, Kyiv 252091, vul Franko 26/8, kv 12, Yuri Orestovich Vesolovsky), but the continental European fashion (Yuri Orestovich Vesolovsky, vul Franko 26/8, kv 12, Kyiv 252091, Ukraina) is now common.
  • The return address is written in smaller print in the top left-hand corner on the front of the envelope (not on the back).
  • When addressing outgoing mail, repeat the country destination in Cyrillic if you can. Incoming mail addressed in Cyrillic, rather than Roman, characters will reach its destination sooner.
  • Be aware that many streets have changed their names since 2014.

Public Holidays

Currently the main public holidays in Ukraine are the following.

New Year’s Day 1 January

Orthodox Christmas 7 January

International Women’s Day 8 March

Orthodox Easter (Paskha) April/May

Labour Day 1–2 May

Victory Day (1945) 9 May

Constitution Day 28 June

Independence Day (1991) 24 August

Defender of Ukraine Day 14 October

Smoking

Smoking (including vaping) is officially banned in all indoor public places, including public transport. Vaping has yet to take off in Ukraine.

Taxes & Refunds

Ukraine's VAT rate is 205uah and is included in all prices. Global Blue (www.globalblue.com) handles tax refunds for non-EU citizens.

Telephone

All numbers now start with 0, that zero being a part of the national code. If you see a number starting with 8, this is the old intercity and mobile prefix and should be left off.

Phone Codes

  • Ukraine’s country code is +380, but the zero is always included in local codes and numbers, so you only need to add +38 when calling from outside Ukraine. For instance, to call Kyiv (code 044) from London, dial 00 38 044 and the subscriber number.
  • There’s no need to dial the city code if dialling within that city, unless you’re calling from a mobile.
  • To call internationally, dial 0, wait for a second tone, then dial 0 again, followed by the country code, city code and number.

Mobile Phones

Local SIM cards can be used in European and Australian phones. US and other phones aren’t compatible; consider a cheap Ukrainian mobile.

More Information

European GSM phones usually work in Ukraine; double-check with your provider before leaving. However, if you’re going to be making a few calls, it’s more economical to get a prepaid SIM card costing as little as 10uah. Top up credit using vouchers available from mobile-phone shops and news kiosks, or use the special touch screen terminals found in busy places such as bus stations, markets and shopping centres.

Mobile numbers start with 050, 067, 066 or similar three-digit prefixes.

The main pay-as-you-go mobile providers:

Vodafone (www.vodafone.ua)

Life:) (www.life.ua)

Kyiv Star (www.mts.com.ua)

Ukraine does plan to join the EU's roaming tariff zone at some point, meaning that, with an EU SIM card, you would pay as much as you do at home.

Time

Ukraine is located in one time zone – GMT plus two hours. During daylight-saving time, from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October, it’s GMT plus three hours.

When it’s noon in Kyiv, it’s 5am in New York, 10am in London, 11am in Paris, 1pm in Moscow and 8pm in Sydney.

Ukraine generally uses the 24-hour clock (for instance 8pm is 20:00).

Toilets

A women’s toilet (tualet) is marked with an upwards-facing triangle or ж (for zhinochy); men’s are marked with a downwards facing triangle, ч or м (for cholovichy or muzhcheny).

Call of Nature

Ukraine simply doesn't do public conveniences – one visit to a vile, stinky, clogged hole with foot markers on either side at a rural bus station will convince you of that. Toilets in cities are better, but sometimes not by much. A tree or bush is always preferable, where possible.

Where it’s not feasible to consult nature, you'll invariably have to pay. At pay toilets an attendant will demand 5uah and proffer an absurdly small amount of toilet paper in exchange. The toilets at newly renovated train stations are quite acceptable, if a bit smelly. Avoid free blue Portaloos, which often stand unemptied for days and can be categorically vile. Cafes and restaurants can often be touchy about noncustomers using their loos.

The bathrooms on the trains are another mucky subject. By the end of a journey, they are usually awash in liquid – but be consoled that it’s usually nothing but water that’s been splashed around from the tap.

Toilet paper in Ukraine is no longer so bad or so rare that you need to carry a major stash. That said, it’s a good idea to always keep a little on hand.

Tourist Information

Reliable tourist information is not as hard to come by as it once was.

Local Tourist Information

You can obtain tourist information in several ways:

Hostels Hostel staff and owners are sometimes very up to date on what’s going on locally, and they speak English.

Hotel receptions Due to the lack of tourist offices, reception staff have become used to fielding travellers’ queries.

Internet There’s a lot of information on the net if you know where to look. Sadly, much of it is out of date.

Tourist information offices Most large towns in the west of the country have tourist offices; the east lags way behind.

Tourist Offices Abroad

Ukraine has no tourist offices abroad, and the information stocked by its consulates and embassies is very general and basic.

Travel with Children

It may not be everyone’s idea of a family holiday destination, but anyone who’s actually taken children to Ukraine will tell you that not only is it possible, it can also be fun. Indeed, over the summer an army of expat children descend on babysitting country grannies to enjoy Ukraine’s fruit, farm animals, swimmable lakes and cheap entertainment.

Best Region for Kids

With its Slavic seaside fun, Crimea was once one of the best places to holiday with young ones, but a visit to the Russian-occupied peninsula is certainly not recommended today.

  • Kyiv

Naturally the capital has the most facilities and indoor entertainment for children, including puppet theatres and aquaparks.

  • Eastern Ukraine

With its pools, beaches, paddle boats and playgrounds, the spa town of Myrhorod is an enjoyable base for children.

  • Odesa & Southern Ukraine

Odesa’s beaches are an obvious attraction for young and old.

  • The Carpathians

Time among the cool forests and tumbling rivers is the perfect antidote to all those electronic devices.

Ukraine for Kids

Ukraine can be a truly fascinating place for the under 10s: a summer holiday here is a never-ending pageant of farm animals, sandy river beaches, late nights under the Milky Way and bags and bags of bargain fruit. Get it right and Ukraine might be one of your kid’s fondest childhood memories.

Ukraine is Fun

Aquaparks and lakes, puppet theatres and quirky museums, playgrounds and rowboats, new friends and funny fauna – Ukraine can be entertaining and educational to boot. Kids love water and when the temperature rises, there’s no better place to be than by a beach. Puppet theatres may not hold everyone’s attention, but some kids love them; more inquisitive minds will be fed by some stimulating museums. Where families gather, there will always be a playground of varying quality and Ukrainian kids are inevitably spellbound by foreign-language-speaking nippers. Further out animals are everywhere – go salamander spotting in the Carpathians or feed goats on the steppe, but give Ukraine’s stray dog population a wide berth.

Dining with Kids

If your offspring are addicted to sugary junk, Ukraine provides the opportunity to get them eating some real food. The Ukrainian menu of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk products, meat and grains is the ideal diet for growing kiddies. And when it comes to sweet stuff, Ukraine has plenty of that too.

Great places to eat are self-service canteens where kids can see what they are getting. Midrange restaurants focusing on casual dining are pretty child-friendly these days, especially newer establishments. However, special kids' menus are rare. Street food is usually a safe bet and in summer ice cream is available on every street corner. For the tiniest visitors, breastfeeding in public is perfectly acceptable.

Getting Around

Airless minivans and grimy bus stations are not places you’ll want to spend quality family time, so train is the way to go. However, sleeper trains present their own challenges. Even if there are only three of you travelling, make sure you book a whole four-berth compartment. Children up to five can sleep with their parents on one bunk. Take lots of food and an arsenal of games to play. In cities, the metro is usually fine, but for overland journeys taxis might be preferable to buses. Slings are always better than prams in Ukraine.

Children's Highlights

Beaches

  • Odesa’s Beaches Bucket and spade fun on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.
  • Hydropark, Kyiv Quiet, forest-backed beaches in central Kyiv.
  • Myrhorod Excellent paid beach next to the sluggish River Khorol.

Museums

Castles

Treats

Wings 'n' Wheels

Planning

For all-round information and advice, check out Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children.

When to Go

  • Avoid extreme temperatures by travelling in shoulder seasons.
  • Summer is pleasant for kids in the countryside, but cities bake.

Accommodation

  • Stay in apartments – you’ll have access to a kitchen and probably a full-size bathroom.
  • Few hotels have been built with children in mind, but the higher up the hotel food chain, the better things get.
  • Ask about breakfast as the concept here can be entirely different.

What to Pack

Ukraine’s supermarkets stock everything you need for babies and children. However, there are some things you might want to pack:

  • alcohol handwashing gel
  • children’s sun cream
  • nappies (expensive in Ukraine)
  • mosquito-repellent spray/cream
  • suitable winter/summer clothing
  • medication your child needs (note its Latin name)

Feature: Health and Safe Travel with Children

With Ukraine often in the news for all the wrong reasons, a certain amount of eye-rolling may be encountered when you tell friends and relatives you are planning a trip there. But to put the fighting in the Donbas into context, avoiding Ukraine due to the conflict in the east would be like cancelling a beach holiday in 1980s Blackpool due to the troubles in Northern Ireland. The conflict zone is well-contained and the rest of the country is as safe as it ever was.

Generally facilities are safe in Ukraine, though you may still come across lethal playground equipment, missing car seats and unguarded drops.

If your child is ill in Ukraine or has an accident, private medical facilities such as American Medical Centers are vastly superior to Ukraine’s often third-world state hospitals and clinics.

Travellers with Disabilities

Even Kyiv, the best-equipped Ukrainian city, isn’t that friendly to people with disabilities. The rest of the country is worse. Uneven pavements, steep drops off curbs, holes in the road, lack of disabled access to public transport and very few wheelchair-accessible hotel rooms mean the only way to have an enjoyable time would be to come on a tour catering specifically for disabled travellers – and these don’t exist.

The following companies and organisations can give advice on travel for those with disabilities, though their knowledge of facilities in Ukraine will be very limited.

Access Travel (www.access-travel.co.uk)

Holiday Care Services (www.holidaycare.org.uk)

Lonely Planet (http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel) Free Accessible Travel guide available for download.

Society for the Advancement of Travelers with Handicaps (www.sath.org)

Volunteering

Volunteers for the US Peace Corps and Soros Foundation have a long history with the country, as do religious missionaries.

Life2Orphans (www.life2orphans.org) Volunteers are sorely needed in Ukraine’s desperately underfunded orphanages.

Svit Ukraine (www.svit-ukraine.org) This NGO organises various volunteer camps and placements for young people with the aim of promoting issues such as sustainable development, human rights and democracy.

Volunteer in Ukraine (www.volunteerinukraine.com) NGO dispatching volunteers to orphanages, children's hospitals and disabled children's homes.

Ukraine Relief (www.ukrainerelief.org) Occasionally requires volunteers to take aid out to areas of Ukraine affected by war.

Weights & Measures

The metric system is used throughout the country.

Women Travellers

  • Old-fashioned attitudes towards women of all ages still reign in Ukraine.
  • The likelihood of being harassed in public is pretty slim.
  • Local men tend to be either wary of or protective towards foreign women.
  • Young Ukrainian women dress to kill and deflect most sexual attention away from travellers.
  • If you’re very cautious, always travel 2nd class on trains. Sharing the compartment with three other passengers, rather than just one, offers safety in numbers.
  • Pregnant women get reduced fares on some public transport, but you’ll probably need more than just a big bump to prove you are with child.

Work

Since independence, English teachers and a few adventurous entrepreneurs have been attracted to Ukraine to work and do business. Kafkaesque bureaucracy puts many off registering legally. To get a work permit you have to show that a Ukrainian could not do the job you’re being hired for.

Online jobs are advertised on the following websites:

Cicerone (www.cicerone.com.ua) Kyiv language school.

Go2Kiev (www.go2kiev.com/view/jobs.html) Jobs and work permit info in English.

Jobcast (www.jobcast.com.ua) Type ‘English’ or ‘Teacher’ into the search field.

Rabota (www.rabota.ua) Lists a limited number of jobs for English speakers.