Things to know when visiting Minsk
Visa and Passport
For citizens from most countries a visa is always necessary to enter Belarus. Read more under visas. You should always bring the passport with you during your stay in Belarus.
Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR), 1000 BYR = 0.10 USD or 0.077 Euro. 1 USD = 9643 BYR. 1 Euro = 13066 BYR (2014-01-30).
Dollar, Euro and Russian rubles are the most suitable currencies to change in Minsk. Change your Belarusian roubles before leaving Belarus as it may be hard to change them in some places outside Belarus.
There are lots of cash machines in Minsk so withdrawing money from Mastercard/Maestro, Visa and some other major cards is not a problem in Minsk.
If studying in Belarus and having a Belarusian student card you are entitled to discounts on public transport in Minsk.
Under ages are not allowed to be alone in the streets of Minsk after 23.00.
One most be 18 years to buy alcohol in Belarus or to visit night clubs. Alcohol is now allowed to be consumed in the streets. Spirits and beer is sold until 23.00 in the shops, after 23.00 shops are only entitled to sell wine and champagne.
Minsk time is GMT +2. Plus one hour from CET and plus 2 hours from London time. Eg when time is 12.00 in London, Minsk is 14.00.
Avoid drinking tap water in Minsk.
European standard, 230 volt.
Using GSM phones in Belarus
GSM 900/1800 is used in Minsk, the same as in the rest of Europe. It may be quite expensive both to call and to pick up calls if not using a Belarusian subscription. So if staying for a longer time in Minsk it may be better to sign up for a prepaid phone-card from a Belarusian operator. That the card is pre-paid doesn't mean it's not possible to overdraw the account as there may take up to a few hours for the calls to be registered.
Mobile Internet through 3G and EDGE is possible from providers like Velcom among others Speeds are up to 21,6 Mbit/sec.
Pre-paid card for a fixed amount of hours may be both from several kiosks, CD shops, Photos stores. Some of the Internet cafes in Minsk are M@xi (Ulitsa Gaja 4, tel: 268-69-65), Ploshadka HP
(Ulitsa Nemiga 8, Metro: Nemiga) and Ploshadka Samsung
(Prospekt Nesavismosti 58/4, Metro: Ploshad Yakuba Kolasa). There is also possible to use Internet at the train station.
Letters from Minsk to Europe is usually delivered within a weeks, letters for U.S. and other destinations more far away may take more time.
In hotels and better restaurants it is quite often possible to use English. Also the most restaurants have menus in English, even if the employees not always speaks it. Russian is the language everybody is speaking but traffic signs as well as signs in the subway are in Belarusian. It is a god idea to learn the cyrrilic alphabet, which is quite easy to learn.
What is going on in Minsk?:
There are some good sources worth to know about to get information about what is going on in Minsk. Daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda
has information about what appears on cinema, theater and more. Especially the saturday edition is interestting as one may find the whole weeks cinema program. Where Minsk is a Russian and English language information magazine giving information on night clubs, restaurants and more in Minsk. Get it for free from hotels or some restaurants. TV channel Pervy Muzikalny is one of the most important media for announcing night clubs, events, concerts and restaurants. Cell phone operator Velcom has a SMS service through which one it's possible to get information about what is showing in theateres, cinema, adresses to night clubs and much more.
Films and development is possible but not as easy as before to find in Belarus both for standard 135-film, 120-film, and digital. APS films and development will not be possible to find in Belarus.
Fire-brigade 101, Police 102, Ambulance 103, Gas-alarm 104.
Big Mac menu, 3 USD, main course with beverage from 4,5 USD, Coca-Cola 0,5l 5 USD, Bela-Cola (Belarusian Cola) 0,5l 3 USD, chocolate 100g 0,5 USD, cinema-ticket 1-5 USD, beer in pubs and night clubs 1-6 USD, vodka in shops 1 litre from 5 USD, box of Marlboro 1 USD, journey by metro, tram or buss 0,3 USD.
MINSK TRAVEL GUIDE - BELARUS
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