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Russia

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELLING TO RUSSIA
 
SEASONAL HIGHLIGHTS
June to August – Summer 
September to October – Autumn 
November to March – Winter
April to May – Spring
 
The coldest month is January with average temperature at -6°C. The wettest months are October & November. The best time to visit St. Petersburg weather-wise is late spring - early June. This is the season when weather is the most convenient for long hours of sightseeing.
 
WHAT TO PACK
 As you plan what to wear, keep in mind the season you are travelling in and pack and wear layers. We suggest layering like this: tank top or t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, jersey and then jacket.  Always pack something to protect yourself against rain showers.  Over the very cold winter months you might consider Alpine Wear to protect yourself from the extreme cold.
 
RETAIL HOURS
Shopping hours in Moscow and St Petersburg are generally Monday to Saturday 09h00 to 18h00 with some larger stores open from 10h00 to 20h00.
 
MONEY MATTERS
The official currency of Russia is the Russian Ruble.
Credit Cards are widely accepted and ATM’s are available. 
 
DRINKING WATER
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Russia.
 
TIPPING / PORTERAGE  
Personnel receive living wages and tipping is not required for taxis, restaurants, hairdressers or bars, though it won't be refused and some locals round up a bill. If service was quite exceptional, you could show appreciation (up to 10%). 
 
TRAVEL RESPONSIBILITY 
Learn a few words of the local language so you know what’s considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and local values.
Appropriate behaviours by travellers helps ensure local communities continue to be hospital and friendly.
Respect other people’s cultures and avoid imposing your beliefs.
Adhere to the hotel’s water or energy conservation policies.
Buy locally made crafts and support local skills. 
 
GENERAL INFORMATION 
Russian is the official language but English is spoken and understood more and more, especially in the bigger cities and tourist areas. 
South African passport holders do not require a visa to visit Russia.
There are eleven time zones in Russia, which observe times ranging from GMT +02 to GMT +12.  Daylight saving is not used in Russia
For Russia there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. 
Russia operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
 
WHAT THINGS COST
Meal Inexpensive Restaurant : RUB 300 to RUB 700
Meal for 2 people, midrange Restaurant 3 Course: RUB 1 300 to RUB 3 000
McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent) : RUB 250 to RUB 400
Domestic Beer (0.5 Lt Draught) :  RUB 54 to RUB150
Imported Beer (0.33 Lt Bottle): RUB 100 to RUB 200
Cappuccino (Regular) : RUB 80 to RUB 200
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 Lt Bottle) : RUB 35 to RUB 80
Water (0.33 Lt Bottle) : RUB 20 to RUB 55
 
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS 
A lot of public restrooms will charge you a small fee to use them, so just keep some change on hand to pay the fee.
Lock valuables away while travelling and always be vigilant of your belongings. Never leave them unattended.
Always be aware of pick pockets irrespective of where you are in the world.


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