Group Tour Essentials
Most nationals will require a visa to visit Russia. To obtain a visa you will need a visa authorisation letter and service voucher – we will provide these for you. In order to do this we will require your full passport information and details of arrival and exit into and from Russia as well as details of the city in which you intend to lodge your Russian visa application, no later than 30 days before departure.
From the 10th of December 2014 everyone in the UK applying for a Russian visa will have to do so in person in order to submit their finger prints. This does not apply to Diplomats, Officials and children under the age of twelve.
Currently there are 2 processing centres in the UK.
London: 15 - 27 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RD
Edinburgh: 16 Forth Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3LH
Anyone residing in Scotland must apply via the processing centre in Edinburgh. These centres will be open for submissions from 8:30am to 3:00pm and from 3:00pm to 5:00pm for collections.
You will not need to book an appointment to attend, when you arrive you will need to take a ticket and wait to be called.
Regulations do frequently change though, so we advise that you check the current requirements with your nearest embassy.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after the date of return to the UK.
We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.
For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
There are currently no taxes payable when leaving Russia by air.
Health and Immunisations
As with travel to most parts of Asia, we strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information, advice and the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Polio and Typhoid.
• What should my travel insurance policy cover?
• medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
• 24 hour emergency service and assistance
• personal liability cover in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property
• lost and stolen possessions cover
• cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover
• Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as certain sports
The policy should cover the whole time that you are away.
Your policy may also have:
• personal accident cover
• legal expenses cover
Common travel insurance policy exclusions - Always check the conditions and exclusions of your policy:
• most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents
You must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you.
The local currency is the ruble. For current exchange rates visit www.xe.com. Our advice is to travel with US dollars cash. Notes should be new or in a good condition.
Where currency can be exchanged
Exchange facilities are available in Anadyr and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Outside of these cities you will not be able to change money.
Credit cards and travellers cheques
As a general rule we advise against taking travellers’ cheques as these will be difficult, if not impossible to change. The use of credit cards is limited to the top hotels and restaurants in major towns and cities.
Best time to go
Our tours in Kamchatka only operate in the high summer months of June to August – outside of these times it is simply too cold to operate our trips. Even in summer the temperature can be cold.
The official language is Russian. However many ethnic groups have languages of their own. Few people are likely to speak English, with the exception of your guide and others involved in the tourist industry.
The areas ethnic populations traditionally held complex beliefs based around shamanism and the power of nature. During Soviet times efforts were made to eradicate such beliefs, but this was never entirely successful and following the break-up of the Soviet Union traditional culture is making a cautious resurgence.
Food and drink
On our tours you will be accompanied by a cook. Lunch would usually be some sort of picnic, while dinners will be of a normal Russian / European style. You can expect to taste some local delicacies.
If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
Our tours use a variety of modes of transport. Small motorboats are used for marine excursions, while land transport is made in specially designed 6 wheel trucks or caterpillar type vehicles. Flights in Kamchatka usually use Russian made propeller aircraft carrying around 56 passengers.
Travelling in the destinations that we visit requires a good deal of understanding that often standards simply won’t be as they are at home. While we aim to make your trip as comfortable as possible, please be aware that we are often visiting remote or less developed regions that may have little infrastructure. This is particularly true in Kamchatka – outside of the towns, and even in some of them, there is very little provision for tourism. While we aim to make your trip run as smoothly as possible there may be times when we need to ask for your patience while we rectify any problems.
Please note that although an English speaking guide accompanies you on this tour, they act more as an interpreter and fixer than an information provider. The standard of information provided would not be what you would expect from a European guide and we advise you to bring your own wildlife, bird and guide books if this is of particular interest.
What to take with you
First Aid Kit
The first thing on your list should be a first aid kit. Whilst there is no undue cause for alarm, travellers are best advised to travel well-prepared: adequately immunized, with sufficient supplies of prescription drugs, along with a medical kit.
It can be quite cold in even in the summer. You will need to bring at least one fleece or jumper, along with a waterproof/ windproof jacket. A warm hat and gloves are also recommended.
You will need to bring a 3 season sleeping bag on our trips, as well as a sleeping mat for our Kamchatka tour. These can be hired locally if required.
Footwear is a main priority on this tour. Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes/boots are recommended, as well as an additional pair of shoes to change into should your boots get wet.
Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. We advise you to travel with a rucksack or soft bag rather than a suitcase.
Suncream / sunblock are a must. When out on tour, it is important to have suncream with you, as there will not be anywhere nearby to buy it. Sunglasses will also be invaluable.
A strong insect repellent, including a bite spray.
You should also bring a headlamp / flashlight.
If you will be using a camera which needs film, it is recommended that a supply is taken with you, as it is unlikely to be available locally. For those with digital cameras, we would advise you to take a spare battery.
For our trip to Kamchatka you should ensure that you are reasonably fit as this is quite an active tour including some trekking on volcanoes. You may wish to bring a walking pole or telescopic stick to assist you.
Cultural and environmental guidelines
You may come across beggars while on tour. Every traveller has different perspectives on this and ultimately the choice is up to you. Many sources recommend that you watch to see if local people give, and then follow their lead with genuine beggars. We do not recommend giving money, sweets, pens etc to children as this can encourage a begging mentality and can lead to children choosing to beg rather than go to school.
You will be spending time in some of the most pristine environments on earth on our tours. It is important to ensure that they stay this way. Please make sure that you take any rubbish back to the lodges and camps with you where they can be properly disposed of – this includes cigarette butts as well.
Please do not buy any products made from endangered species – this is not sustainable and hastens the species’ decline.
You should always ask permission before taking anyone's photograph and respect their decision if they say no. In more remote areas women and older people often do not want to be photographed. Some people may also ask for some money – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot - in return for a photo. Taking photos of military installations, state buildings, and airports can lead to problems with local authorities. If you are unsure about whether it is acceptable to take a photo, please ask your tour leader or guide.
If your local guide has been helpful then you could think about tipping. This amount can obviously be left to you. When tipping a driver, a guide or hotel staff a few dollars will always be gratefully received.
Foreign Office Advice
We constantly monitor the advice posted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At present there are no warnings against travel to the regions of Russia that we visit. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns or would like to know in detail what measures are being taken to ensure visits remain trouble free and without incident.
It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.
Public Holidays in Russia:
7 Jan New Year's Day
23 Feb Defender of the Fatherland Day
8 Mar Women’s Day
1 May International Worker’s Day
9 May Victory Day
12 Jun Russia Day
4 Nov Unity Day
Dates are for guidance only and may vary year to year
Generally electrical supply is 220-240V AC (50 Hz) and uses European two circular pin style plugs.
IMPORTANT NOTES – PLEASE READ
Please note that the information provided is correct at the time of writing but may change. It is intended as a guide only. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health visit www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk or contact your local healthcare provider.
In addition we strongly advise you to check the information and any travel advice provided by your government. For British citizens you should visit the Foreign Office website www.fco.gov.uk.
Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.
Issue Date – 5/12/14 AE
For possible changes to this dossier please call +44 (0)191 296 2674