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  • 1 Post By moggy 1968

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  #1  
Old 19 Feb 2013
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Belarus

Hi,

Have anyone been to Belarus lately (I've seen the thread from the Swedish guys),

I'm more thinking about where to get a visa (the invitation is a bit of an issue), and information about camping (restrictions) ?


Thanks,

Casper
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Old 20 Feb 2013
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Hi Casper,

we have been to Belarus in 2011. It was a 100% positive experience! You could ask Ekatherina Strizhakova of BelarusTourService (service@welcome.by, BelarusTourService - best hotels in Byelorussia booking, Byelorussian tourist visa support.) for help with visas, if you don't have the chance to get private invitations. We had contact to Ekatherina, but then found a way to get private visas.

Kind regards,
Marc
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Old 20 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derMarc View Post
Hi Casper,

we have been to Belarus in 2011. It was a 100% positive experience! You could ask Ekatherina Strizhakova of BelarusTourService (service@welcome.by, BelarusTourService - best hotels in Byelorussia booking, Byelorussian tourist visa support.) for help with visas, if you don't have the chance to get private invitations. We had contact to Ekatherina, but then found a way to get private visas.

Kind regards,
Marc
Thanks,
Casper
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Old 7 Mar 2013
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Any Visa agent can provide a letter of invitation. There are some official campsites just for tents, but with pretty basic facilities!

there are no restrictions on camping except in the national forest where you can rent a chalet or park a camper in the car park. Bear in mind personal safety though as it may not be as safe as you are used to! An alternative when out in the countryside would be to ask to stay in someones field (smallholding)

my wife is from belarus and I have been there 7 or 8 times. I usually cross at Teresspol but have also crossed at Makrany (drive past all the lorries waiting at the border)and also from the Ukraine. The border crossing takes about 2 hours from the time you get into the actual compound, but you can be in the queue a long time. It pays to get out and have a chat to people in the queue as often you can bypass them. People may be waiting til after midnight to cross for example because of restrictions on the number of times they can cross the border.

The political situation is very sensitive so be careful what you say, especially about the Government. The police and customs are not nice people to do business with, usually.

I get green card insurance with my UK insurer but if you don't have this you can buy insurance from a booth at the border. Don't think about not being insured. It's cheap, but when you get stopped if you don't have it it will be expensive. They may also check you have it when you leave the country. Talking of which, take a dictionary or phrase book. Although the border people have access to English translations of documents they won't play ball if the mood takes them! Last time I crossed on my own I had to ring my wife to speak to a major in the KGB she knows to bash some heads together. I'd got to the final checkpoint to enter the country but was a stamp short on my paperwork and got sent back, but I didn't know what for and the customs guy really didn't want to help by just printing off the form I was missing in English from his computer. Instead he just left me standing around and refused to help me.

You will need to change some rubles at the border to pay for some of your documentation and possibly translation (if your lucky!) and photocopying. Your vehicle will be logged in and out of the country but the IT isn't integrated so you have to leave by the same border crossing. It is possible to leave by a different one but you will need to explain that at the border to get additional paperwork.

Average wage is $160 a month so bear this in mind when having to pay 'fines' for road infractions or other charges. Police typically start off at 50e but you should rarely need to pay more than 10 and definately no more than 20. Keep a small amount of money in a seperate pocket for this and keep your main stash hidden. quite often though, by playing the stupid tourist I have managed to get off completely.

The situation for buying fuel varies, sometimes you can use cards, sometimes cash, sometimes it has to be euros, sometimes rubbles (last time I was there foreign cars had to pay for fuel in euros. The rate will be rubbish, but the fuel is cheap!). It's difficult to change rubbles back again if you have too many so try not too hold too much. There is a shortage of foreign currency in the country.


If you are staying more than 3 days you must register with the police within that time.

Id must be carried at all times (and of course original vehicle documents when driving including V5)

If you need any further info PM me. If necessary we can contact relatives in Belarus to get any up to date specific info you need

It's a fascinating country and one of the last of the communist style, enjoy!

Last edited by moggy 1968; 8 Mar 2013 at 00:23.
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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Just wanted to add that I loved Belarus - spent three weeks driving around the country and cannot fault it. In those three weeks I was stopped once by police for a routine check, and after a couple of questions they let me pass. They seemed fine to me, but I entered and left via Russia, so I never dealt with customs.

I would recommend the national park in the SW of the country between Hrodna and Brest, there were dozens of wild Bison there. The southern road from Pinsk to Mazyr is also gorgeous.

Enjoy!
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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glad you had a good experience!

The forest reserve has a new visitor centre and is well worth a look.

As with all things there are good and bad police. I have had ones trying to extort money and others being very friendly. Certainly I have been to worse places (Ukraine being one!)

Bear in mind though, this is a country where people are imprisioned without trial, tortured(alledgedly) and 'dissapear'

These delights are generally reserved for the locals, as a tourist you should be fine, but someone of that mentality doesn't stop being like that just because he is talking to a tourist.

My advice would be don't allow yourself to be intimidated. Be assertive but polite. Make sure you have everything in order, and smile a lot! I've never had a problem beyond being nicked for speeding. I was very laid back about it having been pinged in various countries by the rozzers, but my wife was genuinely very frightened and intimidated. You'll find many of the locals are wary of the police. When I first started going there she would tell me to be quiet if we were approaching a police officer when out walking because she was frightened of drawing attention to herself by being with a foreigner.

Brest fortress is well worth a visit as well. here the Belorusans, hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, held the might of the German army at bay. NOw it is a beautifully maintained monument and mueseum. Seeing it will take a day. Belarus lost a third of it's population in the war and it's memory is burned into the pyschie of the nation.
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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Thanks,

Looks like I need to change my route a bit, as I was planning to enter at Brest, and exit in the east into Ukraine, but I'll just go back to Poland and then to Ukraine.

The only thing I'm trying to figure out; how is it with camping / wild camping, is it allowed/accepted ?

Thanks,

Casper
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Old 8 Mar 2013
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yes you can do wild camping. Just be discrete.

You can enter through at terrespol (brest) and exit into Ukraine, it's just a little more complex on the paperwork when you enter, but I have done that twice now.
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Old 9 Mar 2013
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I entered from Lithuania in 2011 travelled thru the country for 5 days and left from Brest into Poland with no problems.
The paperwork at the border for a first timer was bewildering and involved getting 6 different colured and shaped stamps and insurace before they stamped your passportr and let you in
I ysed a visa agency in Lithuania which was very easy but expensive.
Its a fascinating insight into old style communist era life now gone nearly everywhere else
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Old 11 Mar 2013
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Perfect, thank you.

Casper
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  #11  
Old 27 Mar 2013
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Would mid to late september be a good or bad time to go to Belarus? We haven't decided where to go this year, the only thing we know is that we won't make it earlier than mid september. We've been planning to visit Belarus for almost two years now but haven't gotten around to it yet.

So - late september, good or bad idea?
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Old 27 Mar 2013
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yes, it's fine, weather a bit more variable, can be 10C or 30!
mushrooms and fishing good this time of year!
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Old 2 Apr 2013
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30 sounds good... 10 not so good
Thanks for the info, we'll take that into consideration.
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