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.
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.
Check out travel electricity adapters here:
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. For cooking or drinking (after boiling) you could always use different types of filters (water purifyers) which you can get at the supermarkets.
Water Wells (byuvyet) are located throughout Kyiv and are popular especially with the Seniors of the City. They are usually built in a park like setting with several old style hand pumps to accommodate whoever may want to fill up from their favorite Aquifer. Information concerning each Well is posted onsight.
Water supply in Kyiv usually regular and there’s no problem with it. But in the middle of May city is preparing pipes for the winter, so they cut the central hot water supply usually for 2-3 weeks. Different districts are disconnected in different time. (from the middle of May till the end of June)
Ukrainian language (ukrayins’ka mova) is the official language of Ukraine. It is one of the East Slavic languages like Russian and Belorussian. These languages use the Cyrillic alphabeth. Ukrainian language is currently emerging from a long period of decline. But it is mostly prevalent in Western Ukraine (where it undergone some Polish influence).
In Kiev (Kyiv), both languages Ukrainian and Russian are spoken. Actually, this is a notable shift from the recent past when the city was primarily Russian speaking. The shift is caused, largely, by an influx of migrants from the western regions of Ukraine but also by some Kievans’ turning to use the language they speak at home more widely in everyday matters. In northern and central Ukraine, Russian is the language of the urban population, while in rural areas Ukrainian or a mix of Ukrainian and Russian (called “surzhik”) is much more common.
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 (2 UAH), safe, on time, and fairly simple to learn.
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 Kyiv and other big Ukrainian cities like Odessa, Dnipropetrovs’k, L’viv 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 your Debit Card 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.
You can change money at the airport bank (terminal D). The bulk of your monetary needs you can change 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.
Currency Exchange Rates
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.
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).