GOVERNMENT: Federation, semi-presidential republic
CURRENCY: Ruble (RUB)
LANGUAGE: Russian (official), 26 regionally-official
RELIGION: Russian Orthodox 70%, Muslim 24%, other/atheist 6%
CALLING CODE: 7
TIME ZONE: UTC +2 to UTC +12 ( 4 hrs behind Hongkong time )
ELECTRICITY: 220V / 50Hz (European plug type)
Climate ranges from steppes in the south to humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from hot in the steppes to cool along the Arctic coast. http://www.weatherforecastmap.com/russia/moscow/
WHAT TO BRING
Comfortable walking shoes, underwear, bra, jeans, cotton or light wool pants, tee shirts, button downs or polo shirts, light spring jacket, sweater, perhaps a light rain parka, sweatshirt. Perhaps a cap and sunglasses - remember during the White Nights it stays sunny until well past mid night. You may want to bring some nice clothes if you plan to go "out on the town." Russians in the cities dress quite fashionably and if you don't want to stick out like a sore thumb, you should too. Also, don't forget to take an umbrella. In St. Petersburg in particular it rains a lot. Also, if you are planning to go to the beach bring your bathing suit.
Comfortable walking shoes / boots perhaps with galoshes, warm, waterproof boots (it is typically snowy, slushy, cold and wet), thermal underwear just in case, jeans, wool pants, cotton pants, sweaters, undershirts, button down shirts, flannel shirts, warm jacket (leather/fur or down), warm wool or fur hat, warm gloves and scarf
In Russia, especially in the big cities, you can buy everything you need for personal care that is available in USA and Europe. However, if you are used to some specific brands, you may want to bring these products with you.
Chapstick, stomach medicine (pepto bismol, immodium), Russian phrase book, suntan lotion, perhaps a small radio shack converter for 220 volts, your favorite stuffed animal, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, tampons, etc. Pretty much all of this stuff you can easily find in Russia (except for pepto bismol and the electrical converter unfortunately) but it is always a good idea to have things like this on hand. Also, bring the things that you use everyday if you have space in your bag - you'll find most things in Russia but not necessarily the brands that you are used to.
Required to visit this country, please check with the Embassy in your country for updated information.
HKSAR passport can visit Russia visa exempted for 14 days of visit.
Your passport or travel documents must be valid for at least 6 months.
Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50 Hz. The plug is the two-pin thin European standard.
Be sure to bring your own converter as most places in Russia do not carry them.
Russian currency is “Rubles”, basically all price are quoted in Rubles. Rubles can be freely converted at banks, hotels or kiosks within the country. Traveler's cheques are hard to cash. Credit cards are accepted in most places that work with foreign tourists. Some may turn down American Express. Visa and MasterCard are known, hence - more widely honored.
Euro or US dollar cash are the best currencies to bring, and in general should be in pristine condition – crumpled or old notes are often refused. ATM machines are widely available in major cities, but note: they do not have letters on the key pad, so if your PIN includes letters, do remember them as digits!
Never drink tap water in St Petersburg as it contains “Giardia lamblia”, a parasite that can cause horrific stomach cramps and nausea. Your best bet is to drink and brush your teeth only with bottled water which is widely available in supermarkets or stores. Be careful to avoid ice and raw foods and vegetables.
Time is GMT +3 for both Moscow & St. Petersburg.
It is the passengers responsibility to obtain all required travel documents, visas and permits, and for complying with the laws, regulations, orders, demands and other travel requirements of countries of origin, destination or transit.
We strongly recommend that you go to the IATA Travel Centre website http://www.iatatravelcentre.com for more information.
It's absolutely essential to have adequate travel insurance covered, especially for the purposes of flight cancellation, delay or any other incidental cases occurred during the trip and to enjoy the journey with a peaceful mind.
Take the travel insurance that meets your needs and understand its coverage.
TELEPHONE / INTERNET
Despite the recent rapid improvements in the telecommunications infrastructure, telephoning in Russia can be difficult and expensive. Best bet is to use the phone at your hotel or use AT&T, Sprint or MCI's USA direct services. Tokens or calling cards are required for street pay phones, which can be purchased at newsstands, in some stores, and many kiosks. For internet service, most of hotel provided the service with charge, please check with the hotel.
Crime situation has considerably improved in Russia over the past couple of years. Moscow and St. Petersburg are a lot safer than many American cities. Precautions include not flaunting valuables, or walking alone at night through city outskirts or parks.
SECURITY ON THE STREET
The best way to stay out of trouble is to be careful and alert. In public places (and especially on public transportation), your wallet or cell phone can easily be stolen if you carry them hanging out of your back pocket or in a backpack (on your back). So keep your documents, money and other important stuff up front and close to your heart. This means in a safe place! Also don't ever leave your bag or coat, or even a hat or scarf lying around without watching it. Pay attention when you are on the streets. Please be aware that Russian drivers may not be patient. They drive fast around on downtown streets and sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road. They might go through a red light, when people are crossing the street - they think that THEY have the right of way, not pedestrians. So, be alert, pay attention to the rules but know that the drivers may be breaking them.
Common sense suggests that it is a bad idea to walk alone late at night, especially in areas of the city outside of the center. If you demonstrate such braveness you are most likely going to have the opportunity to get into trouble just like every common citizen here.
Police Emergency Number: 02
DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT……
1. Getting a visa
2. Passport must have 6 months validity
3. Checking the security situation – travel to parts of the Caucasus is dangerous and not recommended
4. Learning Cyrillic and packing a phrasebook or mini-dictionary – having a handle on the Russian language will improve your visit immeasurably
5. Very warm clothes and a long, windproof coat for winter visits
6. Thick-soled, waterproof, comfortable walking shoes
7. Effective insect repellent for summer
8. A stash of painkillers or other decent hangover cure
If you take any prescription medication, be sure to bring enough of it for the entire duration of your trip, as some medications are unavailable in Russia. It is also advisable to bring some usual over-the-counter medications with you. These medicines are usually sold in pharmacies, however the labels are mainly in Russian and most do not speak English. . In general, calling a state-run ambulance is still free of charge.
GRATUITY & TIPPING
Please note that prices in hotels and restaurants usually applied 18% for VAT and 10% for service charges.
Tipping will be around 5 to 10% of the amount on the bill if there is no service fee included.
If you are taking a package tour, suggested US$5 per person per day traveling with a group and US$15.00
per person per day tipping for driver and the local guide(s) in private tour basis.
YOUR TOUR ARRANGEMENTS
All land arrangements within Russia are solely at the discretion of our land operators who control the final scheduling of sightseeing programs based on current situation of the day or period like weather, flights schedule change, traffic condition etc…….
Those situations are not under our control and cannot be held responsible for sudden changes.
Terms & Conditions are based on our website : www.f56.com/Terms&Conditions.pdf
HEALTH INFORMATION FOR TRAVELING ( FOR TRAVELLERS FROM HONGKONG )
Hong Kong Government raises the Travel Alert for Russia to “Amber” since 25 Jan 2011, please check and make sure you have travel insurance covered to travel to this country.
If you would like to know more about the outbound Travel alert please explore the website: http://www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/note-Pakistan.htm
If you are a Hongkong Resident holding a valid HKID card and have register a MyGovHK account, you can use the ROTI which is free of charge. Or explore the website to register. http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/outsidehk/roti.htm