In Ukraine, around half population of the country mainly speak in Ukrainian (the western part of the country, in Kiev, 50 to 50), south and east parts of Ukraine speak Russian, in some places speak mixed language.
Never felt the problems with the language, despite the widespread belief that the people from Western Ukraine can dramatically treated badly when you speak Russian. There are a few points due to which some people are convinced that they will be hated in Lviv, if they say in Russian:
- There are some bad jokes and not so much bad about what would happen if to speak Russian in western Ukraine, because Ukraine has always fought for independence, and the last century was mainly under the power of Russia.
- Ukrainians understand Russian and Ukrainian equally well, but the Russians do not understand Ukrainian. When two Ukrainians speak, they can speak different languages to each other at the moment, and it's a common thing. And if Russian person speak to Ukrainian person in Russian, and he responds in Ukrainian, the Russian person may usually feel it as hatred, but Ukrainian person as usual speaks one language but understand both languages well.
- As in all over the world here the same: politics make bad relationship for the neighbor nations because it more useful for politics. In this case, they have successfully created an imaginary feud between the Russians and Ukrainians, while many people do not divide themselves by nationality.
There are Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) in Ukraine.
To exchange money officially require a passport, but sometimes some places exchange without a passport.
After exchanging money or getting cash from the ATM save the receipt till the leaving Ukraine, because at official places of exchange it require to show the paper where you got a money.
Not clean or destroyed cash paper you can exchange in very few banks, the commission for the exchange of at least 10%.
In Ukraine there are "marshrutka" (mini bus), buses, trams, trolley buses, subways, trains.
There are good connections with buses and minibuses between most cities. Bus tickets in Ukraine.
Trains go between big cities mainly at night, or rather it was like that, until the new government has decided to change everything .... everything changed, perhaps for the better, but not for people. The railroad is still kind of belongs to the state, so it is still the cheapest transport.
Train tickets can be ordered online at the Ukrainian railways website. After reservation you get the code and then you can exchange it to the ticket at anytime in the checkout line railway station without waiting. Now train tickets sell on the passport.
Tickets for the train are divided into communicate wagon, second-class (reserved seat), sleeping and luxury. Price between communicate wagon and second-class (reserved seat) are different in two times, and between the reserved seat and sleeping wagon too. There are not every train have communicate wagon (cheapest one). For example, second-class wagon for a distance of 500 km, is now worth about 150 UAH. Price for bedsheet are included into the ticket price by default, somewhere 12-20 UAH. You do not have to pay for it if you do not need. Buy a ticket in Ukraine is cheaper than the same in Russia. Ticket Prices may vary depending on the day of the week.
Almost all taxis are working without a meter. Those who are standing free takes few prices more than usual. It is better to order by phone.
From the airport, there is always a bus to the city center, which is cheapest transport, but it does not go often, just 10-30 minutes. Maybe do not work at the night.
Of water transport almost nothing. Only heard about cruises on the Dnieper River from Kiev to the Black Sea, and cargo ferries with passenger seats from under Odessa (Illichevsk) to Georgia. If anyone knows more please correct me.
City bus and taxi in different cities working on different principles:
Sometimes you have to pay for bus when leaving, sometimes at the entrance. Sometimes you have to tell to the driver the stop of your leaving, sometimes even stop of entrance.
In some cities, it can work at night on the double tariff, but at most cities do not work at the night time.
The average fare is 5 UAH now. There no a lot of different prices and tariffs for the same buses. If this bus cost 2.5 it is mean that there are no other price for this bus. It more easy and cheap than in europe as for me, but you have to communicate with driver and/or passengers, because buses do not stop at every stop if nobody need it.
Electric transport fare is about 2 UAH, it is sometimes necessary to punch tickets, and in some cities nobody care about it, and sometimes they do not give ticket, but in this case the conductor remembers all those who have already paid. In the Crimean cities, for example, you just need to punch ticket.
The hostels from 90 UAH. In Lviv the cheapest, in Kiev middle prices, and the most expensive in Odessa: the center from UAH 100. The apartments in season from 250 UAH per night, and for a long period from 4000 UAH.
Never search accommodation at the railway station, especially in big cities.
Also, do not forget, if you are renting for a long time, you always make one payment to consultant for about 50% of the monthly cost. In this case, airbnb looks much more favorable.
Hostels better to book through the website hostelworld, there are present most of the hostels. It is better to book through this site because hostels are fighting hard for the good reviews, rating shown on the basis of reviews for the last 6 months, and in this way they can not relax.
Reservation other hostels do not guarantee quality.
If you would like hotels it will be better to use booking.com.
In Ukraine there are three GSM mobile provider (MTS, Kyivstar, Life) of the most common standard in the world. There are four CDMA provider: Intertelecom, PeopleNet, CDMA Ukraine, Utel. SIM cards are sold wherever possible. 10-30 UAH will be enough to connect to any GSM operator. Passport and other documents for this are not needed. To call abroad by normal prices you have to activate extra option.
CDMA providers are mainly for fast Internet 13 megabits per second.
If traveling by car you will find attention of the traffic police. Never pay them. If you are fined, then you do not even need to pay for it, because nobody control it, it is not controlled for aliens, even in Europe, so we do not come soon to that. In the extreme pay the fine,because it is possible that a bribe for the tourists will be more than the official fine, so please do not feed them.
In any case, to meet with the police is not recommended, especially at the train station or in areas with large concentrations of people - they are too bad there. Speaking of railway stations: smoking on some train stations only near sign which allow it. At some stations, these places can be only outside of the station.
Make a photocopy of the passport and go anywhere with a photocopy of the passport, if you do not like to carrying your passport with you.
In general, train stations and markets is not the most safest place. But sometimes in that kind of places you can buy what you can not buy anywhere else.
Drink alcohol only in cafes, bars and homes. In other places it is allowed until police say that it time to pay.
Do not pick up wallets in public places, and quickly move away from gipsy, never give them anything.
The cheapest places to stay in the Carpathians and the Crimea, Odessa little bit more expensive. The bigger the city and closer to the center of the more expensive housing, food and everything else. The nature are the cheapest, take care of nature - clean up after yourself as a minimum.