European countries of Switzerland and Italy have always been on the bucket list of Indian tourists. But in the last decade, we have been warming up to the idea of a Russian sojourn. A considerably cheaper option, Russia is as alluringly beautiful as its European counterparts.
Wondering where to start? Worry not!
Here’s a brief guide to things you must know before you actually set foot in Russia.
Article Credit: Alefiya Rashiq
Must Dos Before You Enter Russia – The Visa
All tourists must have a valid visa to travel to Russia. But before you apply for one, you need to possess an invitation (or a visa support letter) from a Russian tourist agency/hotel. This can be obtained online at a minimal fee. On procuring it, you must apply to the nearest Russian consulate for a visa, which generally takes between 14-20 days. Once you arrive in Russia, your visa has to be registered, which is generally managed by the hotel you are staying at.
Planning Your Stay – Hotel Accommodation
Flanked by historical architecture, creative brilliance and an old world charm, Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s two prominent cities that you simply must visit. It is advisable to book your hotel well in advance (at least a month before), as you may not find availability once you reach there. Choosing a hotel that is centrally located is preferable over one which will require a lot of travelling to reach major attractions. For Indian tourists, food choice may be a possible concern. However, many hotels in Russia offer Indian cuisine, including vegetarian fare, so selecting your hotel wisely is the key to a smooth holiday.
What To Pack – Wardrobe
If you are travelling during winter, then woolens, mufflers and boots are mandatory requirements to help cope with the arctic chills. Summers, however, are quite warm. So along with your regular wear, throw in a light jacket to stay cosy.
PS: Don’t forget to pack a pair or two of your most comfortable footwear. There’s a lot of walking to be done is Russia, especially when you’re on a tour of the Kremlin, and other magnanimous museums and churches.
Other Things To Remember
- Ensure you do your homework, and have an itinerary laid out to avoid unnecessary wastage of time and energy.
- Russia is very safe, but it is advisable to be alert at all times.
- Language may be a problem, as Russian is widely spoken amongst the natives. Therefore, a Russian-English dictionary should be of good help.
- In case you want to travel on the Trans-Siberian railway, book your ticket in advance.
- While moving around Russia, carry your passport or at least a copy of it with you at all times.
- In Moscow, especially around the Red Square, tourist traps are common. So it is preferable to hire a guide.
- Transportation is easily available in the form of metro and taxis. However, the farther you step out of the city and move towards the countryside, the scarcer your travel options will become.
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