Ukrainian Time is +2 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) It is altered twice a year to save electric power. The watches are set one hour forward in the last week of March and it's called Summer Time. The watches are set one hour backward in the last week of October and it's called Winter Time. To find out the exact time, dial 060.
Electrical appliancies operate at 220V in Ukraine. Plugs and wall sockets differ from North America and the U.K., being of European two pin style. So, don't forget to take an International Power Adaptor and a power converter. Traveling with electronics will become much easier. For valuable equipment, you may consider bringing a surge protector. Please note: Ukraine uses more than one type of outlet configuration: you could find European outlets (new) and old Soviet type. The difference is in the diameter of the pins. European pins are thicker then the Soviet type ones.
It's not recommended to drink tap water in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine. The better choice will be to just buy bottled water for drinking. You should be aware however that some bottled water from the smaller Kiosks can be counterfeit. The brand BonAqua or Morshins'ka seems to be the best bet as far as getting the genuine product. Also for cooking or drinking (after boiling) you could always use different types of filters (water purifyers) which you can get at the supermarkets.
The National Currency is Hryvnia (Hryvna, Hryvnya, Grivna). 1 Hryvnia equels 100 kopiykas.
USA dollars and Euros are the most popular foreign currency in Ukraine. Make sure your foreign currency bills are new looking and crisp.
If you need to transfer money to from or within Ukraine, there are several International Money Transfer Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram. You can find them at many local banks or at major shopping centers and Malls. Western Union is the largest in Ukraine and can easily be found even in smaller towns. MoneyGram rates are more affordable but it's availability is not as widespread. Your other options for sending or receiving money within Ukraine is to do a funds transfer by bank-wire or by Money Postal Order at the Post Office. These are cheaper options but will take more time.
Ukraine is a safe country in general. Kyiv and other big cities of Ukraine are usually safer than the smaller towns. The city center is safer than the outskirts. Keep your valuables at the safe place, better somewhere in your inner pockets. Having a security belt while traveling might be wise. Also keep the photocopies of your documents (passport, drivers license) in a safe place just in case if the original would be lost or stolen. Don't flash a lot of money at the public places and try not to walk alone late at night. Don't open the door if you are not expecting anybody. If you are going to do business in Ukraine, learn the language! But in general, just use your common sense, like you would while travelling to any other country.
Learning the Metro system will be key to enjoying all that Kyiv and other big cities have to offer. It’s quite cheap (1.70 UAH), safe, on time, and fairly simple to learn. We would highly recommend the translated “bi-lingual” Metro plan available on this site as nearly all signs here will be in Ukrainian or Russian only.
Taxies in Ukraine are quite cheap, especially in the smaller towns. But the problem with Taxis are their drivers' lack of foreign language skills. The best taxi's are those with their company's phone number on the rooftop, or side, of the car. Others may be private taxi's which may be more expensive and less comfortable. Hitchhiking is common in Ukraine, but not recommended for tourists.
Many places in Kiev and other big Ukrainian cities like Odessa, Dnipropetrovs'k, L'viv started to accept major credit cards like Visa or MasterCard and some other. But it is still recommended to have cash with you as well and not to rely solely on credit cards. Only use a Card to debit for cash at a safe location. If you do use your Credit Card, don't ever let it leave your site when handled by the seller.
Read more about Banks and Money in Ukraine here
You can change money at the airport but the rate is not as good as in town. However you will need to have some local currency to get you to your Hotel. You should be able to get by changing about $100 at the airport, then the bulk of your monetary needs at a local money exchange point or at the bank later in town. Don’t change money with strangers on the street!! You will probably be tricked into losing your money and it’s ILLEGAL!!
Hiring a translator/assistant can be money well spent especially on your first day in Ukraine if you are a bit concerned about making your way around on your own. You could also start learning the language with the help of our audio lessons Essential Ukrainian for the English Speaking Traveller
Tipping used to be non-existant. In recent years the introduction of modern restaurants and entertainment establishments with thier Western clientele have changed all that. Today you can expect to tip in an average Ukrainian establishment between 10 - 15 percent. In the more upscale enviornments tipping will be more in line with western standards. Sometimes it's included in the bill. Drivers are normaly not tipped, unless you feel he deserves it, then it's greatly appreciated.
By dialing 001 in Kiev you could get the information (in Ukrainian) on recent weather forecast, expected temperatures, and current level of radiation.
In Ukraine: the temperature is in Celcius ( C ), weight is in gramms ( gr ) / kilogramms ( kg ), height is in meters ( m ) and kilometers ( km ), volumes are in litres ( l ).
Note: The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. BestOfUkraine.com (U.B.K.) seeks to collect the most accurate and up to date information possible but of course, specific details are subject to change at short notice - something for which we cannot be held accountable. If you find a mistake, please feel free to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org