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Old 05-12-2007, 02:11 AM   #1
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Well, Im in eastern europe and havent spent as much as I thought I would and jsut found out that eu citizens can now visit Ukraine visa free which is the most exciting news ever. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to visit a chornobyl ghost town... kinds of horrible I know, but also potentially amazing and very moving.
So, what's the Ukraine like to travel through? Is it dangerous or even quite intimidating for a young single female? Is this a semi feasible plan? Anyone done or know about a ghost town tour? Is Ukraine a 'nice' place to visit, i.e. interesting and worthwhile or should I just continue scooting up to Poland? I am in Romania now but I have a return ticket to Budapest and no firm plans beyond that.
I don't know... at the moment the logistics just kind of overwhelm me but at the same time, I would LOVE to do this!
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Old 05-12-2007, 02:33 PM   #2
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YES GO TO UKRAINE! I am a solo female traveling alone for the first time (everyone is amazed I'm here alone). Keep your senses with you and its fine. I'm leaving tomorrow or the day after and I'm so sad. I can't wait to come back.

I wanted to go to Chernobyl, I hear its about 200 USD, but I got to Kiev and was so overwhelmed I just figured I'd save it until next time. Supposedly according to Western science its safe.

The most dangerous thing about Ukraine is the marshrutkas. :D Me the dumb tourist fell backwards out of one and landed on my ass hard on the pavement. lol

Ukraine is definately a worthwhile destination, see it before it becomes too touristed. Lviv is supposed to be the new Krakow in a few years. If you go to Lviv stay in Lviv Backpackers (see my review in the recommended hostels section).

PM me if you have anymore questions. So in conclusion GO TO UKRAINE!
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Old 05-14-2007, 08:37 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for the reply... hmm... Im so undecided. I wish I had someone to go with me. I'm kind of sick of travelling alone and always having to be the one to figure everything out.
So whats public transport like there? relatively simple to get around? i dont think i'll be doing a night trains there, romania was scary enough!
It would be awesome. Yeah... I should do it. Okay, time to figure out logistics. Oh, if you can recommend what I should see that would be awesome. I don't really KNOW anything about Ukraine....Just that Odessa has some big stairs
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:22 AM   #4
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ok so I only went to three cities in Ukraine...lviv, kiev, and odessa

if you come to lviv, like within the next 2-3 days, we can have a meetup and I'll show you around town...lviv is a great city to get used to ukraine, alot better than kiev, kiev is rough at first

night trains are fine, I've taken two so far, from lviv to kiev I rode in 3rd class, and from odessa back to lviv i rode in 2nd or 1st class by accident (i told the receptionist to write 3rd class but i guess there was a mixup), i actually prefer 3rd class, it seemed alot cooler i guess because people's body heat wasnt trapped inside the compartment doors, and i just slept with my important bag thru my arms

in lviv, from where I'm staying, its a 10 minute walk to the city center, but if I'm lazy I catch the tram

kiev - i mainly used the metro to get around, but if i saw a marshrutka or bus that looked like it was going my way, i would get on it

odessa - hostel i stayed at was in the city center so I walked everywhere or when i went outside of town to the 7 km market I took a marshrutka

another popular way people get around is with the previously mentioned marshrutkas, i usually hop on them if it looks like its going in the direction i want to go, taxis can be a good deal, especially if you are travelling with another person or a group, as long as you dont let them rip you off

the thing about ukraine is (with the exception of kiev's metro) there are no routes or schedules posted, there are not obvious signs at metro and tram stops, so you either just guess or you know, you might have to hunt for a street sign as well to find out where you are

so, lviv...definately come visit! its my favorite and I'm trying to find a way to live here, kiev...go but don't stay at hostel olympic...it was no fun and I have now been told that anything on the right bank of the Dnipro river, where its located, is no good after dark, odessa...if you have your heart set on visiting go ahead, but if not, I would not suggest you go there...after dark its a little iffy, and the hostel I stayed at, Black Sea Backpackers, sucked (rude staff, power outages just to name a few things), if you want to get to the sea, maybe check out Crimea, but I can't say for sure as I didn't go to Crimea

its country that requires some thought, but i came to europe for some adventure...if i wanted it easy i could have stayed in the USA lol

so let me know ASAP if you're coming so I know whether or not to stay, or move onto Hungary
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Old 05-14-2007, 11:19 AM   #5
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Black Sea Backpackers sucked?? When I went there last summer it was absolutely awesome, probably the second best hostel I've ever stayed at, although it had only been open 3 weeks when I arrived. The two australian guys who own it would come out clubbing with us every night and the girls who worked there went out of their way to help, one came to the train station with me to help me buy a ticket to Kiev and I spent a day at the beach with another.

I really wanted to visit Chernobyl while I was in Kiev but firstly it's very expensive unless you manage to get a group of people or somehow join a group, and secondly it has to be arranged at least a few days (possibly more) in advance as they need to obtain special permission from the government.

One other quick tidbit (although I wouldn't recommend it as a solo female) is that you can flag down any vehicle that's heading in your general direction and they will drive you there for a small fee (much less than a normal taxi would cost). This was invaluable for getting to the nightclubs and back in Odessa.
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:29 PM   #6
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Glad to read you made up your mind to get there ! The main point is always to be at peace and have no regret back home afterwards. I remember how terrible trains and buses rides can be, but it's just a small pain for a great benefits!

Right there, a bit south, Moldova is also now visa free... :-) Is it in your plans?

And Lizz : привет !
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:05 PM   #7
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One quick thing to add, what passport are you travelling on? If it's Australian then you will still need to get a visa for Ukraine and same goes for Moldova if you're considering it. They only removed the requirement for EU (and possibly US but I'm not sure) passports.
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:25 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. I am travelling on my british passport, or as I like to call it, the key to europe.
So the new plan is to go to poland and get to ukraine from there. I'd prefer to plan a bit more beforehand, especially considering my shitty lonely planet only has a couple of pages on the country and one covers 2 cities (pretty dumd considering it is the largest country wholly in europe!!!)
But thanks Lizz so much for you generous offer, it would really have been awesome to meet up with you.. but yeah... hopefully this plan is also ok.

Oh I am so excited!!! I think Ukraine is going to be such a different sort of place to see. Awesome!
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:28 PM   #9
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OK well I am returning to Ukraine around the 26th, so if you think you will be there at that time, just let me know.
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Old 05-16-2007, 04:56 AM   #10
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Im such a spastic!!!! All those dodgy romanian anti-spastic pills havent been working apparently....
But anyway... I am going to Lviv tonight. I realised that it would be a bit silly to go to poland then ukraine and then back again. So I am catching a night train to Lviv from Budapest. And I will go to poland afterwards.
I am heading to Lviv backpackers like you suggested, sounds great.
Wow, I cant believe it.
haha I have not planned this trip at all. Oh well, it is exciting that way.......
Ok I better get off the internet, I only have about 450 florints. I had to change 100 czech crown so I could afford to even stow my luggage! I should feel very poor but its hard when I have so many hundreds in this currency!!!!
It is so exciting that this is actually happening!!!!!!!!! Thanks to all off you!!! Seriously!!!!!
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Old 05-16-2007, 07:15 AM   #11
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Why not ask around your hostel for anyone traveling in your direction - and if your at a hotel currently just go to the local hostel and ask around. Chances are high that at least one person is planning on going your way and wants some company!
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:59 PM   #12
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Have fun Louse...Can't wait to hear what you think of Lviv!
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