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You can also book visa only, flight only, or accommodation only holidays if this better meets your needs.
We organise travel to the following destinations: Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Mongolia, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, and throughout parts of Eastern Europe and Asia.

VISAS

Required for a Russian / Belarus visa:
  • Visa form completed and signed by the applicant
  • One passport size photo
  • Passport signed and valid for 6 months after the date of your return
  • Relevant tourist / private / business invitation. Ask staff for details

Please refer to our visa section Russian Visa / Belarus Visa for further information.

Required for a Chinese / Mongolian visa:
  • Visa form completed and signed by the applicant
  • One passport size photo
  • Passport signed and valid for 6 months after date of return

Please refer to our visa section Chinise Visa / Mongolian Visa for further information.

Required for a Ukranian / Baltics visa:

UK passport holders do not require a visa if staying for less than 90 days in Ukraine or any of Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania).

Please refer to our visa section Visa Services for further information about other visas.

BOOKING TRANSFERS

We strongly recommend that you pre-book your airport transfers with us prior to departure, so as to avoid any problems acquiring transport upon arrival. We have a large fleet of both Western and local cars and can arrange internal transfers between hotels, airports, railway stations, or for any excursions.

CLOTHING AND TEMPERATURES

Summer in Moscow and St.Petersburg is similar to that in northern Europe: hot but with frequent showers. Evenings can be cold even in July and August so bring enough warm clothes. Dress is casual but Russians do make quite an effort when they go out. In churches you should always wear clothing covering your shoulders and wrists. In some Orthodox Churches ladies may be asked to wear long trousers and a scarf to cover their hair. Shoes should be comfortable because you will have to walk a lot whilst touring the cities. During winter (November-March) a warm hat, gloves and a scarf are essential as well as a warm coat. It is advisable to wear removable layers as buildings are often very hot inside.

ELECTRICITY

Electricity in Russia is 220v 50Hz AC. Sockets require a European-type plug (two round pins) or adapter. Phone and modem jacks are different from other European countries or the UK and you might want to bring a converter if you need to work online with your computer. Trains usually provide sockets for electric razors.

MONEY

Roubles are now available at some UK outlets, but we still recommend taking US dollars or Euros in cash and low denominations e.g. $1 to $20. Do make sure that the bills are issued after 1993 and that they are in immaculate condition or they may well be rejected by the bank. It is possible to exchange travellers cheques in banks but you will be charged a higher rate of commission. Most hotels have a bureau de change that will most likely be open upon your arrival. When you check in at the hotel you will be asked to hand in your passport and visa for registration purposes. Until your passport is returned you will only be able to change money in the hotel. Money should only be changed at banks or official exchange kiosks. The current exchange rate is approximately GBP £1=48 RUR, USD $1=30.5 RUR, EUR €1=40 RUR. For accurate rates please refer to www.xe.com.
Russia introduced new roubles in 1998, devaluating the old rouble by a factor of 1,000. the old rouble notes from 1996-1997 are still valid though a 1000 note from 1996 will actually only be worth 10 new roubles. All notes from 1991, 1993 and 1995 are no longer valid.

HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

National Holidays are many in Russia. If a holiday falls on a Thursday, then Friday and Saturday may also be a holiday. If a holiday falls at a weekend, then Monday will generally be considered as a holiday.

1 Jan New Year
7 Jan Russian Orthodox Christmas Day
14 Jan Russian Orthodox New Year
23 Feb Defenders of the Motherland Day
28 Feb - 6 Mar 2011 Maslenitsa
8 Mar International Women’s Day
12 Apr Cosmonaut’s Day
22 Apr Lenin’s Day
24 Apr 2011, 15 Apr 2012, etc.    Russian Orthodox Easter
1 May Russian Day of Spring & Labour
9 May Victory Day
12 Jun Independence Day
End of June White Nights St.Petersburg
4 Nov Anniversary of the October Revolution (7 Nov), now called ‘Grief Day’ or ‘Day of Accord and Reconciliation’
12 Dec Constitution Day

During public holidays, festivals, special sporting events etc, sightseeing tours may not operate. Museums, banks and shops may be closed. Transfers may also be affected.

LANGUAGE

English is widely spoken in good restaurants, upmarket shops and in the busier, tourist areas of Russia. Most hotel staff also speak English. This is often not the case in bars, standard shops and amongst most taxi drivers or metro staff. Cyrillic is the alphabet used in the Russian language. A phrasebook detailing the Cyrillic alphabet is recommended for travel. Also, see our website www.into-russia.co.uk, for a few handy phrases.

PHONE CALLS

Local calls in most major cities are free. Public phones do require phone cards and these can be purchased in most tourist locations. However, please note that the phone cards sold in Moscow may not be useable in other cities. Please check before you purchase the card.
Phoning from your hotel room can be very expensive.
To make a call from Russia to the UK:
  • Lift receiver and check for a dialling tone
  • Insert money or phone card
  • Dial 8
  • Dial 10 44 + UK area code (omitting the first 0 of the UK code)
    Mobile phones (GSM 900 + 1800 standard) also work in most urban areas with good reception.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Take plenty of film and batteries with you. Even though there are officially no restrictions other than on the Moscow underground, people still consider filming or photographing railway stations, military installations, airports etc. prohibited.
Using flashes in churches or in performances is usually not allowed. Some churches and museums may ask for an extra fee if you want to take pictures or make a video recording. The fee will be payable at the kiosk before you enter the church or museum. If you do not pay the fee you must hand in your cameras/camcorders into the kiosk and the attendant will give you a numbered ticket to claim your items at the end of your visit.

TRANSPORTATION

In Moscow and St.Petersburg, the main means of transportation are metro, buses and taxis.

The metro is the fastest and most convenient way to get around. It operates from 5:30am to 1:00am and metro stations are easily found by the “M” signs. Metro tokens (jetons) and magnetic cards (magnitnaya karta) are available from the ticket counter at all metro stations. One token/card is good for one journey of an unlimited distance and costs approximately 28 Roubles in Moscow and 25 Roubles in St Petersburg. Monthly and weekly passes are also available.

Buses operate from around 5:00 am to midnight. Tickets are available in strips or booklets from people outside all metro stations or from bus drivers directly. Please don’t forget to punch your bus tickets in the machine provided inside the bus. If the bus is crowded and you can’t reach the machine, pass your money (if you want to buy tickets) or pass your ticket to someone else who will pass it to the driver or the punching machine.

There are three types of taxis:
  • Private taxis which are run by private companies and need to be ordered in advance.
  • Official taxis are usually yellow in colour and can be identified by a small green light on the windscreen. They have chequered signs on the doors and may also have yellow domed lights on the roof.
  • Ordinary Russian drivers who are ready to give you a ride for a negotiated rate when you stop them. However, this way only works fine for Russians or tourists that can speak Russian. The rules are that there must be at least two of you and never get into a car already occupied by two people. To hail a taxi, simply hold out your arm and tell the driver the address (preferably written in Russian) and ask the price. It will often be higher than normal if you are not Russian.

WATER

It is not advisable to drink the water in Russia unless it has been boiled or purified.
You can buy bottled drinking and sparkling water at any supermarket in the major cities.

SAFETY

On arrival at your hotel, it is advisable to acquaint yourself with fire exits and emergency procedures.

Crimes against people and property, particularly in cities are a regrettable fact of life throughout the world. It is recommended, as in any other Western countries, that you take care of personal belongings especially in busy streets and markets and that you avoid deserted areas after dark, particularly in big cities. Visitors should be vigilant at all times and keep money and valuables out of sight. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up to date travel advice on www.fco.gov.uk

Should you encounter a problem during normal working hours, please contact any of our reservation offices in the UK. For additional peace of mind we have a 24-hour emergency contact number in Russia as detailed in your travel documents. We have included some useful numbers below:

British Embassy, Moscow: Tel +7 (495) 956 7200
British Embassy, St.Petersburg +7 (812) 320 3200
Health Literature Line 0800 555 777


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