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Thread: Travel experience - Kiev to Moscow

  1. #1
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    Travel experience - Kiev to Moscow

    Collective brain help if you’d be so kind - have booked flights - LHR to Kiev and Moscow to LHR for August .
    Planning a couple of days Kiev then the overnight train to Moscow for a couple of days . Option to take a flight is there though - the train isn’t cheap !
    I know visa isn’t cheap for Russia , any tips and must sees ?
    I’m booking a Chernobyl day and possibly some Kalashnikov shooting if I can get the dates right .

  2. #2
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    Not been on that sleeper train, but used one last year to travel from Budapest to Zurich.
    We compared flight and hotel Vs the overnight train which made it more attractive.
    Is doing the trip during the day an option? I would expect the journey to be scenic in places.

    I never sleep as well on a train, so if you need your sleep like my good lady it might not be the best option.

    Either way sounds like a great trip.

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  3. #3
    I went on the train from St Petersburg to Kiev and also St Petersburg to Moscow and I don't remember the scenery being very scenic. I may not have been looking though.

    There was a museum of tiny tiny stuff in Kiev when we went last, it looks like it's still there.

    https://discover-ukraine.info/places/kyiv/kyiv/962

    Edited to add that the tiny museum probably isn't worth traipsing across town to visit, unless that is what floats your boat, but if you are visiting the church complex, it's worth finding.
    Last edited by MurrayMint; 12th June 2019 at 09:23.

  4. #4
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Man in Seat61 for international rail advice.

    www.seat61.com
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  5. #5
    I wouldn't go from Kiev to Moscow by sleeper train. it's a 13-15 hour trip, you will be exhausted because of trains are loud, no entertainment, not so attractive scenery.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Normunds View Post
    I wouldn't go from Kiev to Moscow by sleeper train. it's a 13-15 hour trip, you will be exhausted because of trains are loud, no entertainment, not so attractive scenery.
    Wouldn't one just stock up at a kiosk with some sausages, pickles and a couple of bottles of vodka (and a padlock for the sleeper compartment) and let nature take its course?
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  7. #7
    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    Here is your first mistake, it's now Kyiv, not Kiev. That aside, after years of sanctions, rife corruption and KGB repressions Russia is in a terrible state at the moment, so before setting my foot there I'd stock as much tinned food, bottled water, soap and toilet paper in Kyiv as I could. Definitely would not wear an expensive watch there.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton-Browne View Post
    Wouldn't one just stock up at a kiosk with some sausages, pickles and a couple of bottles of vodka (and a padlock for the sleeper compartment) and let nature take its course?
    I believe there should be restaurant car, but that's minor issue. For me main would be noise. ex-soviet trains are bloody loud because of bad suspension and lack of noise isolation.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the info gents - the most important part - it’ll be my trust gwm5610 coming with me :)
    We’re planning 2 nights Moscow and fully expect the train to be a bit rustic :)
    Both of us can nap like kings do I think we’ll be good :)
    Basic supplies really an issue in Moscow !?

  10. #10
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    Overnight train is by far the best as there is pretty much nothing to see if you do it during the day. It will be an experience if nothing else. Take some card/board games and some beer/vodka and time goes by :)
    Border crossing could be painfully slow though.
    Both cities have more luxury (watches, cars, restaurants) going on than you will see in the rest of your lifetime. Some really good places but not cheap.
    In Kiev there is not that much to see outside the central churches/square etc. Chernobyl is an interesting visit and I suppose very ‘in’ these days.

  11. #11
    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    We made a mistake and booked budget hotel in Moscow suburbs, apparently for extra 100 roubles we could’ve had glass windows.



    Breakfast was simply atrocious, that was the worst chicken Kiev I ever had. Glad we brought some crisps with us from Heathrow.

    ICYMI: Millions of women all over the world dressed in PussyHats and oversized Vagina costumes took to the streets today to protest against war with Iran.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP28 View Post
    Overnight train is by far the best as there is pretty much nothing to see if you do it during the day. It will be an experience if nothing else. Take some card/board games and some beer/vodka and time goes by :)
    Border crossing could be painfully slow though.
    Both cities have more luxury (watches, cars, restaurants) going on than you will see in the rest of your lifetime. Some really good places but not cheap.
    In Kiev there is not that much to see outside the central churches/square etc. Chernobyl is an interesting visit and I suppose very ‘in’ these days.
    I’d guessed Ukraine would be cheapish and Moscow expensive . I’ve been to Iceland and that was a shock - on that level ?
    I understand we need to go to London for visas - any tips there ?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by VDG View Post
    We made a mistake and booked budget hotel in Moscow suburbs, apparently for extra 100 roubles we could’ve had glass windows.



    Breakfast was simply atrocious, that was the worst chicken Kiev I ever had. Glad we brought some crisps with us from Heathrow.

    Pahaha - looks rustic

  13. #13
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    Kiev can be cheap, but you start going to in/upmarket places then prices start climbing. Same as everywhere in the world :)
    Better value than Moscow for sure though. Moscow goes from cheap (beer in the park!) to stupid expensive ie Iceland + levels.
    Big issue in Moscow for visiting as a tourist is decent prices hotel in a decent location. Can be tricky. In Kiev there is relatively a better choice.
    For visas not sure how it works in London. I was based in Kiev for a few years and was travelling to Moscow a fair bit from there. Also had a few years in Caucasus as well where I did lots of soviet style overnight trains.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP28 View Post
    Kiev can be cheap, but you start going to in/upmarket places then prices start climbing. Same as everywhere in the world :)
    Better value than Moscow for sure though. Moscow goes from cheap (beer in the park!) to stupid expensive ie Iceland + levels.
    Big issue in Moscow for visiting as a tourist is decent prices hotel in a decent location. Can be tricky. In Kiev there is relatively a better choice.
    For visas not sure how it works in London. I was based in Kiev for a few years and was travelling to Moscow a fair bit from there. Also had a few years in Caucasus as well where I did lots of soviet style overnight trains.
    Super - thanks - we’re pretty careful with money and will use tripadvisor to squeeze the most value we can :)

  15. #15
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Visas are a racket and you just have to pay up; if I had 10 visas they were on the back of invitations from 10 completely different agencies. I think my first one came courtesy of the Moscow Petroleum Club.
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  16. #16
    Can’t help with Kiev, but went to Moscow two months back. Stayed in the Marriott near the centre, could walk to Red Square in 15 mins. Was nice but nothing memorable or special. Moscow was clean and we felt safe walking round.

    We used a company called CIBT for the Visas were not that difficult to sort. Yes we had to go to London for finger prints. If you need more info let me know

  17. #17
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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    The train will be, well, an experience!

    Never been to Moscow but Kiev I know well, fab place.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyMilts View Post
    Can’t help with Kiev, but went to Moscow two months back. Stayed in the Marriott near the centre, could walk to Red Square in 15 mins. Was nice but nothing memorable or special. Moscow was clean and we felt safe walking round.

    We used a company called CIBT for the Visas were not that difficult to sort. Yes we had to go to London for finger prints. If you need more info let me know
    Cheers - think I’ll have a crack at the admin :)

  20. #20
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    These were the two Moscow museums I enjoyed the most.

    http://www.1812panorama.ru/ (unfortunately it looks like the panorama is shut for refurbishment at the moment)

    http://www.shalyapin-museum.org/ You probably need to be into opera and have grown up listening to Fyodor Chaliapin for this one to be of interest.
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  21. #21

    Travel experience - Kiev to Moscow

    Quote Originally Posted by back to the top View Post
    Cheers - think I’ll have a crack at the admin :)
    I believe you have to go through VFS Global for all Russian visas these days - gone are the times spent outside the Russian consulate! In London this means going to their offices near Barbican tube. To be fair, the customer service there is immeasurably better than in the old days, but just be aware a fast track, single visit, visa now takes 48 hours to process rather than the old overnight. Getting the invitation is itself is extra.

    The Marriott is, If it’s the same one I’m thinking of, the Royal Aurora. I’ve stayed there a few times and the proximity to Red Square is indeed handy. You will walk past several official watch dealers (Panerai, Rolex, etc) between the hotel and Red Square.

    The view from the train between Moscow and St Pete is not very inspiring, but worth it once you get to St Pete.
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 13th June 2019 at 09:31.

  22. #22
    Master raringtogo's Avatar
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    I am currently sitting on the Sapsan High speed train from St Petersburg to Moscow and the scenery is pants. Forest and abandoned industrial units. Business Class on the train is very good though, including the food which is included.

    I personally found St Petersburg to be a bit of a hole. Some find buildings but a real Great Yarmouth atmosphere (we went there to see the Faberge Museum).

    We are staying at the Hotel Savoy which is just off Red Square and is quite nice. I much prefer Moscow to St Petersburg, it has an almost parisien feel to it in some places.

    Regards,

    Si

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  23. #23
    Master Wolfie's Avatar
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    In 1990 I flew between Kiev and Moscow on an Aerophlot flight…. It was terrifying

    My mates seat was permanently reclined, dogs were barking at the back, there were ripped up pieces of Izvestia in place of bog roll and the in flight treat was a plant pot with salty water served by a rather large lady with copious amounts of blue eye liner

    Stick with the land route!

    Ps…. Red square and St Basils is simply amazing…. Enjoy 😉

  24. #24
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    In 1990 I flew between Kiev and Moscow on an Aerophlot flight…. It was terrifying

    My mates seat was permanently reclined, dogs were barking at the back, there were ripped up pieces of Izvestia in place of bog roll and the in flight treat was a plant pot with salty water served by a rather large lady with copious amounts of blue eye liner
    You should see what it's like in Economy.

  25. #25
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    In 1990 I flew between Kiev and Moscow on an Aerophlot flight…. It was terrifying

    My mates seat was permanently reclined, dogs were barking at the back, there were ripped up pieces of Izvestia in place of bog roll and the in flight treat was a plant pot with salty water served by a rather large lady with copious amounts of blue eye liner

    Stick with the land route!

    Ps…. Red square and St Basils is simply amazing…. Enjoy 
    We had to stop people doing internal flights in Ukraine in the late nineties because some of the services used transport aircraft kitted out with folding deck chairs (interestingly the most vivid part of the report was about the net curtains on the windows rather than the seating). So they had to go by train instead...
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  26. #26
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    In the early 80s I had a girlfriend who lived in Berlin, and I was a student in Paris. The cheapest way to get there was to fly Aeroflot to Schönefeld airport and to take the train to Friedrichstraße station to get to W Berlin.
    The first time, the flight may have been scary, but nowhere near as scary as the controls. Those became more routine after a few times, but I still had to fly Aeroflot

    It is one of my great regrets that I didn’t accept her invitation because ‘something was happening’ in early November 1989. I would have been there on the 9th...
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    In 1990 I flew between Kiev and Moscow on an Aerophlot flight…. It was terrifying

    My mates seat was permanently reclined, dogs were barking at the back, there were ripped up pieces of Izvestia in place of bog roll and the in flight treat was a plant pot with salty water served by a rather large lady with copious amounts of blue eye liner

    Stick with the land route!

    Ps…. Red square and St Basils is simply amazing…. Enjoy 
    I think I may have been on the same flight.
    I remember the whole cabin was thick with cigarette smoke and a stench of raw alcohol coming from behind the curtain separating the flight crew from the passengers.

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