4 years ago I went to the open market in Kyiv to buy spray to kill cockroaches. While I was choosing the most effective one, somebody sneaked in my pocket and stole my phone. It was my first stolen phone (and hopefully the last one). The end was really disappointing: I did not find something to get rid of those bastards (neither cockroaches nor thieves).
So is it safe to travel to Kyiv?
“Is it safe to travel to Ukraine?” and “Is it safe to travel to Kyiv?” can be nominated as the most asked questions by travelers who want to come here. I see it everywhere around Quora and TripAdvisor.
There are 2 reasons why people ask these questions:
- News showing war happening in Ukraine.
- Travelers not really doing a research on WHERE the war in Ukraine is going on.
So is it safe to visit Ukraine? Depends on where you go. Look carefully what are the areas of conflict (occupied Crimea and eastern regions of Ukraine), and you will know the places where it is better not to travel at the moment.
Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe, and it really depends where you travel to. So be more specific in your questions. If you are coming to Ukraine, you probably will not cover every single city or town, right? So let’s go to safety in Kyiv.
Is Kyiv safe?
I usually tend to answer “No”. But since people don’t always get my sarcasm, I provoke even more questions.
Before my wallet was stolen, and I was cursing the person who let cockroaches come on this planet Earth, I had the other accident.
It was end of February, big celebration of upcoming Easter feast, and we went to the big market (yes, again, market). It’s a time when people start making pancakes, so of course I was ready to stand forever in a line, just to get my pancakes and satisfy the eat-lover inside of me. Me and my friend ordered and waited to get food. When it was time to pay I realized that my wallet disappeared. With money, cards, student card and two student ID of my roommates (you can guess that they were really happy about it). It was my first ever stolen thing, it was in Kyiv and I was gonna celebrate…in police department (who neither find the wallet nor the thieves).
Then this thing happened again to me in some cities around Europe, and I calmed down: it’s not about Kyiv, it’s about me.
Pickpocketing and gipsy
Pickpotening here is quite same as in many other cities all around the world, however not so huge. The only way out is to be really careful, watch your stuff, especially in crowded places, not to keep your stuff at one place, or just to have good karma.
Sometimes you might see people like gipsies: they are walking together in groups, and it makes easier for them to operate.
There are quite many beggers underground and on the street. They might ask money under different reasons, so not always easy to guess where your donation goes (unless you feel some really strong alcohol scent from the person and then clearly see that money you wanted to give will not really go to buy him food or ticket home).
So, really, is Kyiv safe?
I will asnwer, both yes and no. Kyiv is safe because there is no war here, there is no shooting, Revolution ended and Kyiv is now like dozens other European cities in terms of safety.
Yes, sometimes (or quite often) we have some protests: you might see people in front of local government. president administration, parliament, cabinet of ministry or other governmental institutions. You can see people with flags and posters (Ukrainians liek the protests since we made our previous president run, and the government is not really active in reformations). These are as peaceful citizens as you, who just defend their rights. You are not afraid of such people, are you? If yes, maybe you should really not visit Kyiv.
Is Kyiv safe at night?
Kyiv is safe to walk, even at night, when it gets especially peaceful. And I bet, you, as a traveler, will be living in central areas where there is nothing to worry about.
In the districts that are far from metro, and where the infrastructure is not so good, the crime rate might be higher. But it’s everywhere around the globe like this: there are safe and less safe districts, right?
In my district sometimes I go for running at 3 a.m. and feel absolutely okay. We went to Botanical Garden at midnight, and felst safe as well. Maybe because we, Ukrainians are brave. But I bet you are too!
Scam in Kyiv
One of my friends told me: you have to learn how to do business from Ukrainians. They can find out how to make business out of everything.
Sometimes Ukrainians make business on foreigners. And sometimes this business turns into scam. Don’t be surprised if the prices go up, once the sellers or taxi drivers here you speak foreign language. Or you find out the bill that says to pay for something you did not order (and you start to doubt, maybe you really drank so much because of Ukrainian cheap prices?)
In the city centre there are many animal lovers (especially bird lovers), who will eagerly put monkey or pigeon on your shoulder, take a photo and then demand money for it (after eveluating your financial status). So you’d better spend this money on some dinner or good local guide.
Scam happens first of all to unprepared tourists. Then, when you come, everything people tell you can sound as true. If you want to avoid these, surf the Internet before you visit Kyiv, read TripAdvisor, Reddit, Quora and other blogs, watch videos or search for local advice.
Kyiv feels much safer than many other European capitals. Unless the balcony fall down on your head. But I want to assure you, even the ceiling can fall down on your head, and it does not matter where you are: in Kyiv or anywhere else in the world.
Read Awesome Kyiv – as Awesome as you are!