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  #1  
Old 15 Aug 2003
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Ukraine, Moldova, Romania

Just returned from a trip to above countries. Heard horror stories about crime mostly from people never been there. We had some hassle with the police in Ukraine, but we never got stopped for no reason;speeding, bypassing slow traffic where not supposed to etc.
Believe me; the police will be there! Fines are low and goes directly into their pockets. Advice is to drive by the rules and the police will leave you alone. All policemen we met were very polite and courios about the bikes and us so we didn`t consider this a problem. No problems with theft and crime, most hotels have a 24 hr. guarded parking, even cheap ones. Moldova is a bit dodgy, got through without visa by paying customs officer 20 USD, but got stopped often by military check points due to internal conflict. Advice is to carry small bill dollar notes and obtain visa in advance. U can get a visa when going into Moldova from Romania, but not from Ukraine.
Lviv, Kiev & Odessa are certainly worth a visit. Very few bikes so a lot of attention from people is guaranteed. Romania was nice, no trouble with the police.
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  #2  
Old 5 May 2006
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I agree with Motordude's views here. I had an excellent time touring around Romania and Western Ukraine in August 2005. What made it easier was that since summer 2005, EU citizens no longer need visas for Ukraine - just make sure you take your original bike registration documents (ie, not like Ewan and Charlie...)

I had minor hassles with the Ukrainian traffic cops near Lviv: they stopped me for "speeding" but oddly enough could not show me any speed trap or camera when I asked to see it. They told me I would have to go all the way back to Chernovsty to pay the "fine" - this was a ruse to get me to cough up cash on the spot, which I eventually did after a bit of stone-walling. Amusingly, I gave them 300 Hrivna (about $50?) then they gave me 100 back, and sent me on my way with a handshake and a slap on the back!

I thought Transylvania (especially Sighisoara and Brasov) was beautiful, as were the Ukrainian cities of Chernivsty and Lviv. I must say however that of all the countries in Europe (and I have biked my way around nearly all of them), Romania has got to have the worst drivers. I was nearly wiped out minutes after crossing the border from Hungary, near Arad. It soon became normal to see cars start overtaking while coming towards me, totally ignoring my flashing headlight; I got used to riding down the gutter in order to avoid head-ons with these guys. What makes it all the more crazy is that these boy-racers are mixing it on Romanian roads with horses and carts!

I never had any security problems during the trip. I tipped a hotel security guard to watch the bike on the street in Brasov, and parked the bike in the hotel lobby in Chernovsty.

My next tour will probably be to Ukraine again, this time I will try to get to Kiev and Odessa, and also do Moldova (I ran out of time last year).

Sredan put!
Nigel
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  #3  
Old 5 May 2006
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Really nice to hear that chaps

Thanks a lot for the Feedback!

Fernando
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  #4  
Old 8 May 2006
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What about Transdniestria?
Have any of you ever been there?
That should be an interesting place...
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  #5  
Old 8 Jun 2006
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Cool Fuel

Hi your trip seems to have been a success. I am travelling on an R1100 RT and wonerd how easy fuel was to get hold of? I am going through Romania Bulgaria Ukraine and many more on route from UK. Any tips welcom.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motordude
Just returned from a trip to above countries. Heard horror stories about crime mostly from people never been there. We had some hassle with the police in Ukraine, but we never got stopped for no reason;speeding, bypassing slow traffic where not supposed to etc.
Believe me; the police will be there! Fines are low and goes directly into their pockets. Advice is to drive by the rules and the police will leave you alone. All policemen we met were very polite and courios about the bikes and us so we didn`t consider this a problem. No problems with theft and crime, most hotels have a 24 hr. guarded parking, even cheap ones. Moldova is a bit dodgy, got through without visa by paying customs officer 20 USD, but got stopped often by military check points due to internal conflict. Advice is to carry small bill dollar notes and obtain visa in advance. U can get a visa when going into Moldova from Romania, but not from Ukraine.
Lviv, Kiev & Odessa are certainly worth a visit. Very few bikes so a lot of attention from people is guaranteed. Romania was nice, no trouble with the police.
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  #6  
Old 10 Jun 2006
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Fuel was never a problem in Romania or Ukraine, modern petrol stations everywhere. It was also a fair bit cheaper than in Western Europe.
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  #7  
Old 14 Jun 2006
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Motordude, Nigelrojo:

Thanks a million for posting your experiences. I'm going to Western Ukraine later this summer (Lviv area) and really appreciate your advice and comments.

Michael
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  #8  
Old 29 Jun 2006
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Transdniestria

I went from Odessa to Rumania and thru PDR (Transdniestria). According to locals in southern Ukraine and the Pridniestrian border guard I could get an entry visa at the Pridniestrian border and then a Moldavian exit visa at the Moldovan-Rumanian border. That was not true. After some frustrating negotiations it the Moldavian-Rumanian border I ended up going back to Chisinau and get an exit visa. Unfortunally the Moldavian borderguards are less corrupt then the better paid officials in Chisinau.

The Moldava-Transdniester is not complete relaxed. And at the moment there are a lot of anti-Russian feelings in Moldova. Check the situation before crossing Transdniestra (Pridnisestra in Pridniestrian). Hide anything like cameras, videocamera and binoculars in Tiraspol, they might been confiscated at the PDR-Moldavian border. Reciently Moldavian policemen where arristed and imprisoned in Transdniester for videofilming.

A part from that, the transdniestriend are friendly and you can get nice "kartoshka fry". Stamps and, probably illegal, Pridniestrian Rubles might be your best souvernir.

Worth checking:
http://www.azi.md/en.html
http://www.masspsykos.net/rikard/moldtrans_visa.html
http://www.transdniestria.com/
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  #9  
Old 15 Jul 2006
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I'm leaving Switzerland tomorrow (July 16) headed towards Western Ukraine and Romania - will probably arrive around the 19 July, and be in those two countries for about a week.

Anyone from the HU forum there already, or planning to be there at the same time? Maybe we could meet for a coffee.

Michael
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  #10  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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west Ukraine

Hi Michael

Probably 20 July will arrive to western Ukraine. I planing aprox. 80% offroad riding in mountain. Return max. 27 July.
I will acrosing polisch-ukrainian border in Kroscienko (south Polanad)

Cheers
rr
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  #11  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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Smile Hi Pan

Nice trip! Any problems with the Ukraine visa? Cost? Hassles?

Ta!
denis
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  #12  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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Hi

Polisch citizens don't needs visa for max. 30 day trip
Costs.. last year c.a. 200 E (total 7 days 1000/700 km on/offroad, sleeping in motels/BB/forest). If you dont drink much, can reduce to 150 ;-)
Hassles? Was raining everyday ;-)))

Привиет (Salut)
rr
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  #13  
Old 24 Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denis brown
...Any problems with the Ukraine visa? Cost? Hassles?
Hi Denis:

I didn't need a visa (Canadians no longer need one), and I didn't encounter any problems entering Ukraine from Slovakia (other than that the whole process took about 4 hours), but that's about all the good news I can give you.

I honestly don't think Ukraine is worth the headaches, problems, and risks that it poses. Period.

I hate to say bad things about a country, however, in the case of Ukraine, there's really nothing good I can say about my visit there. I entered Ukraine from Slovakia, at Uzhgorod. There was a 2 hour lineup to get through Slovakian exit formalities, and another 2 hour lineup to get through Ukrainian entry formalities. In each case, I had to present all the papers for the motorcycle (ownership, insurance, driver licence, etc.), and all the documents were checked with a microscope, and verified against the VIN on the moto. The Slovakians did this to control export of stolen vehicles out of the EC, and the Ukrainians did it to control 'black market' importation of vehicles without proper import taxes being paid. The customs officers on both sides of the border were professional and courteous in every respect, although they were as slow as molasses in January. Both sides processed one vehicle at a time - there were no 'multiple lanes', as you would expect to see elsewhere.

Within 10 miles of entering Ukraine, I was shook down for a 100 Hryvnia bribe by traffic cops who were operating a 'Stop - Control' scheme at the side of the road. I drove by three policeman who were standing still, watching me ride my moto by at 50 km/h. 150 meters further on, two policeman stopped me for not coming to a full stop when I passed the first three (who gave me no indication to stop of any kind). They pointed out a well thumbed page in the traffic code that indicated I should have read the sign (in Ukrainian) that said 'Stop - Control', even though it did not conform to the norms of a stop sigh.

I was shaken down for bribes another 3 times the same day. By the end of the day, I had had enough - I just wanted to get out of that country. Heck, I'm no novice to travel in corrupt countries - I work in Africa, for Pete's sake - but Ukraine makes Nigeria look like Switzerland by comparison. Everyone in Ukraine appears to be either a two-bit crook, or appears to aspire to become a two-bit crook. I know that's a pretty strong comment, and your mileage may vary, but it's a pretty accurate statement about my experience in Ukraine.

The roads are, by and large, in terrible condition, downright dangerous in many places. I ride a ST 1100, and there were a few times that I almost lost control on city streets because of huge ripples or soft spots in the street. I've never before had a 'tankslapper' on my ST, but I had two of them in Ukraine, both from deep, repetitive ruts caused by heavy trucks braking on steep downhill surfaces. City streets tend to be in much worse condition than the highways, although the highways themselves can be very, very bad. Generally speaking, Kenya or Uganda has better highways - in fact, I would put Ukrainian highways and city streets on a par with streets and highways in Angola or Sierra Leone. If you really want to go to Ukraine, it's best to have a dual-sport moto, not a street bike.

The first words I learned in Ukrainian were "how much?" This is the traditional greeting that is given by any Ukrainian to a foreigner who has what looks to be an expensive possession - in my case, a large motorcycle. Honest to goodness, that's all people seemed to care about - how much? No-one really gave a shit where I came from or where I was going, they just wanted to know how much the moto cost. Eventually, I kind of felt like that mouse character in the Disney movie 'The Lion King' when he walked into the room full of hyenas.

Ukrainians seemed to me to be very insecure, and fascinated with Western brands that implied status. Ukrainian cars on the road fell into one of two categories - either Ladas or other unidentifiable shitboxes of indeterminate age, or, a large Mercedes or BMW that was two model generations old, being driven by someone wearing gold chains, a fake Rolex, and a Prada t-shirt.

Along the route I took - from the entry point, through Ivano Frankovisk, and then south to Romania - I didn't see anything of great cultural interest. Perhaps this is because most of the people in that region were resettled to what is now Southern Poland at the end of WW II, and the current residents are all people from elsewhere in Ukraine who have only been there for 60 years or so.

I might visit Ukraine again, but it won't be on a moto. My recommendation to anyone who wants to see the country is to fly into Kiev, stay at a good hotel, and take an organized tour. The cost will probably be the same as what a moto trip would be, but you would encounter far fewer hassles. As for moto riding, there are many other countries in the area, such as Poland, Slovakia, and Romania, that offer better roads, more honest cops, and more interesting sights to see. Spend your time and money in those countries, and set Ukraine aside for possible consideration again in maybe 10 years or so.

Michael

Last edited by PanEuropean; 24 Jul 2006 at 00:56.
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  #14  
Old 27 Jul 2006
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Just typed the worlds longest email about Ukraine but lost it!

So this one will be in summary format I'm afraid.

The post is not a dig at Pan but just a different opnion etc.

1. Found the roads to be better than Russia/Poland and not too bad. No real bad pot holes on the main highways. Road to Lviv to Uzgorod was very scenic and very smooth.

2. Thought the scenery closer to the Romanian border was quite nice although it rained alot when we were there. Ducks, cattle, horse and carts on the road made it seem very different from Western Europe. Not much in the way of scenery the further east we were.

3. People were pretty friendly although I agree they all ask how much etc but didnt seem as "threatning" as Russians etc.

4. Border was a bit of a hoo haa but better than the Russian/Ukraine one! A few annoying kids asking for money but nothing too bad. Just earning a living I guess.

Think its worth a visit if you are near Ukraine anyway and was a good chance to see what life was like 50 years ago!

Regards
Gazzr
theworld-ismyoyster.com
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  #15  
Old 27 Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gazzr
...a good chance to see what life was like 50 years ago!
I sure agree with that. I was absolutely amazed to see farmers harvesting grain by cutting it with scythes, piling it into stooks by hand, and then carting the dried grain by horse and wagon to the town square, where they threshed it by hand.

My wife's grandmother left Ukraine for Canada in 1925. Were she to go back to her old village (which I visited), I doubt if she would find anything had changed at all.

Michael
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