Search Weight Loss Topics:




Apr 28

Vladivostok – Wikitravel

Vladivostok

Vladivostok (Russian: , vlah-dee-vah-STOHK) [30] is a city in Primorsky_Krai, Russia. It serves as the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway and a major Pacific port. Some travellers arrive here at the end or the beginning of a trip on the Trans-Siberian. But it has enough attractions and atmosphere to support a couple of days. The city held the APEC summit in September, 2012 and is under huge renovations and construction now.

San-Francisco and NaplesFritiof Nansen, the Arctic explorer described the city: "It reminds me of Naples by its location on terraces. Although there is no Vesuvius the city has a beautiful harbor and islands". Later on these hills enticed Soviet leader Nikita Khrustchov to call for making Vladivostok San-Francisco. The words were catchy but not historically new since they had already been said in the 1930s. Still the shadow of San Francisco is hovering over the city's hilly streets.

Surrounded by Amursky Gulf from the west, Ussuriysky Gulf from the east and Golden Horn Bay along the south Vladivostok is the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet. The city is separated from its souternmost part, the Russkiy island by Eastern Bosphorous strait and comprises a couple of smaller sparsely populated islands - Reineke and Popov. From its foundation in 1860 as a military post the city recieved the status of porto-franco that boosted international commerce and development. The October revolution brought Japanese, American, French and Czechoslovak armies sided with the Whites. During 35 years of the Soviet era (from 1958 to 1992) Vladivostok was off-limits to foreigners and finally was re-opened for tourism. The city centre, at the edge of the water, has sweeping boulevards of ornate, century-old buildings; magnificent, decaying, and in dire need of a scrub. Further out, on the steep hills overlooking the bay, similarly decaying Soviet blocks dotted with new high-rise buildings provide accommodations for most of the city's residents.

The beautiful oak woods are surrounding the city which along with Nakhodka could be a starting point for weekend bus-tours to the winter ski-slopes or water-falls in summer. A few lotus lakes are attraction for campers and forest lodgers when the flowers are blossoming in August.

Vladivostok is located at the same latitude with Russian subtropical sea resort of Sochi, but its average annual temperature is nearly 10 degrees lower due to the Siberian High that brings cold winds from Yakutia for much of the winter. Thus the winter is typical for Manchuria: cold, clear and very windy. The snow is scarce and in some years may not fall at all. The weather usually stays the same, cold and clear.

January is cold at -14C (7F), and August is fairly warm at 24C (75F), though these are average temperatures, and hot/cold spells can bring much more extreme conditions. It is not unheard of of the below -30C frosts in February, and similarly August can be >30, but in general August and September bring the most sunny and pleasant temperatures. The end of summer, however, could bring Pacific monsoons that last for a few days in a row.

Citizens of certain counties can obtain an e-visa for visits up to 8 days, (citizens of the US, Canada and EU countries must obtain a visa in advance, an e-visa is unavailable). For additional information, see Russia#Get in for visa requirements to Russia.

See also: Trans-Siberian Railway

Tickets for the Trans-Siberian Railway sell out and it is best to buy tickets well in advance. Tickets are sold by the operator as well as via agencies and resellers.

The main line of the Trans-Siberian Railway runs between Moscow and Vladivostok. The Rossiya train leaves every other day from Moscow at 13:20 and from Vladivostok at 4:25, while the slower but cheaper train #99 leave Vladivostok every day around 18:56. Major stops from Vladivostok include Ulan Ude (62-67 hours), Irkutsk (81 hours), Krasnoyarsk (99 hours), Novosibirsk (113 hours), Omsk (121 hours), Yekaterinburg (134 hours), Nizhni Novgorod (5 days), and Moscow (6 days).

Note that if entering Russia by boat, you can stay for 72 hours without a Russian visa. For more information, see Russia#Get_in.

The ferry port in Vladivostok is right next to the train station.

Business Intour Service is the official booking agent for ferries operated by The Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) between Vladivostok and the Fushiki port in Takaoka, Japan. The trip costs 48,400 including meals (alcohol costs are additional). The ships do not have many working amenities. Ferries both ways leave on Friday evening and arrive two days later on Sunday morning. You'll need to arrive at the port a few hours early for immigration procedures.

The Eastern Dream boat of the DBS Ferry Company operates service to/from Donghae, South Korea (US$180+) and Sakai Minato, Japan (US$220+). From March to November the ferry leaves Sakai Minato on Saturdays, briefly stops in Donghae on Sundays and arrives in Vladivostok on Mondays. In the winter, the ferry lays over in Donghae until Monday and arrives in Vladivostok on Tuesday. The nearest major city to Sakai Minato is Kyoto, 3 hours by train.

There is also a ferry service connecting Vladivostok and Sokcho, South Korea. It costs about US$200 and takes two days. One ship leaves Sokcho each week, on Thursday, although they become more frequent in the summer months (June-August).

It is also possible to travel to/from anywhere in the world by booking a berth on a merchant ship. Usual caveats of freighter travel apply, though (it's definitely NOT for a casual tourist), and one need to keep in mind that Russian border and customs officials aren't used to people traveling this way.

Vladivostok International Airport (IATA: VVO, ICAO: UHWW) is 40km northeast of Vladivostok, near Artyom. It is the largest airport in the Russian Far East and serves over 1.5 million passengers per year. Flights to/from Vladivostok are to other Russian cities or cities in Korea, China, or Japan. Flights to other Russian cities are relatively cheap and flights to Korea/Japan can be cheap if booked in advance through low-cost carriers.

To travel between the airport and the city:

departures at airport: 08:10,08:30-every 30min-17:30,18:00,19:00,20:00,22:00

departures at station: 05:40,06:40,07:00,07:20-every 30min-13:50,14:30,14:50,15:30,15:50,16:20,16,50,17:20.

Bus tickets can be bought at the bus station in Vladivostok or from ticket agencies. Buses operate to/from most suburban locations and nearby towns. International routes link Vladivostok to cities in Northeastern China such as Harbin (RUB2,400, 12+ hours; daily at 6:20AM), Mudanjiang, and Suifenhe (RUB1,900).

It takes about 5 hours to get to Vladivostok from the Chinese border, and the road goes through one of the most picturesque areas of the Russian Far East.

Vladivostok has a wide range of transportation, from streetcars to funicular railway. The trams and trolleybuses have, unfortunately, mostly disappeared in an effort to improve traffic it hasn't worked though, mainly because at least two lanes on most downtown streets are still used for unregulated parking. However, there are talks of reinstating at least some trolleybus routes, and lengthening the network to include some suburban destinations. For tram, on the other hand, while the mayor pays some lip service to it, his actions prove otherwise.

While planing your trip, take into account traffic jams. From morning to evening central, streets are filled with slow moving cars. The situation is worst during rush hour: it takes at least 1 hour by bus to get from the railway station downtown to the main bus station in Vtoraya Riechka.

By far the most common is the bus, both large route buses (mainly used Korean ones, some could be seen still carrying Seoul or Busan route plaques) and marshrutka--shared-taxis (which generally follow the bus routes). Buses are extremely crowded but frequent; the fares are a flat 21 r. ($0.30) on 2017-10-13 for the downtown routes, but go up to 120 r. ($4.00) for suburban ones. Hop on the bus in the rear and then pay the driver as you exit at the front. Many buses depart from outside the "Clever House" (Clver House) Department store.

About half of the buses are equipped to receive payments by a refillable Dolphin smart card that can be bought and refilled at the automated kiosks at most major stops. Push the card to the terminal near the driver for a couple of seconds until it beeps twice, and then you are set. Because the cards and kiosks are issued by a major local bank, the card also can be used as a normal debit card in some select shops; and in the kiosks, you can pay with your mobile phone, etc.

On the downside, the bus companies are constantly criticized for neglecting the state of their fleet: running the buses well past their service lives, unduly economizing on cleaning and personnel (they tend to hire recent immigrants, who can be paid as little as possible), and creating competition for the passengers' fare among the drivers, which leads to long delays on stops and reckless driving.

The city has recently stepped in by reinstating the municipal bus company with newer buses and better controlled drivers. All municipal buses are equipped with electronic payment system and trackers, as the city also pushes to equip all the buses with the tracking hardware. The positions and waiting time for the equipped buses can be seen at the Bus 125 website, and major stops are gradually being equipped with electronic timetables.

Access to the outlying areas is generally best done by bus or suburban commuter train called "elektrichka". The train station is accessible and provides a great way to see neighboring cities like Khabarovsk.

There are a number of taxi companies, and hailing one is easy. There is no meter because most companies and freelance drivers charge a flat rate of RUB300 for one hour. The rate is usually negotiable but not below RUB150 per hour. Expect to pay at least this much for a single journey over a short distance.

Although it is the main port of used Japanese car imports in Russia, the century-old streets of Vladivostok are ill suited to heavy traffic. They are usually filled to capacity and traffic jams are common, especially in rush hours. The local driving style is also rather aggressive; and speeding, cutting off, tailgating and ignoring recently-changed traffic lights are widespread. Despite this, car horns are rarely heard.

The city centre is only a short walk from the train station, and most of the sights can be reached easily on foot. Aleutskaya St runs north/south, passing the train station; head north to Svetlanskaya St, which is the main east/west road for the city.

As much of Vladivostok is situated on steep hills, walking can be physically demanding. The ice and wind in winter and the conditions of the pavements mostly preclude bicycle use.

However, MTB and weekend bike tours are very popular among the people for there is quite a lot of scenic places hard-to-reach by vehicles but still worth the effort. The most attractive destinations range the closest islands and the coastline even when the ice covers the bays.

Ferries run between Vladivostok Sea Passenger Terminal (located some 300 meters from Railway Station) and nearby islands. There are regular ferries to Popov, Reineke islands and Peschany. Fare price is only 54 rub. to each destination. Ferries go one-two times per day and schedule changes frequently. Be sure to check the departure time a day before. Visiting Popov and Reineke islands is an excelent opportunity to escape the city and see Eugnie de Montijo archipelago. On summer months these routes are very popular with locals. Camping and swiming opportunities are abundant, though you will not be alone. Be aware that during storm boat runs will be canceled and you might get stuck on an island until boats are resumed!

If you've arrived in Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian, at the end of a trip that began in Moscow, head straight for Sportivnaya Harbor. The still waters of the sea will likely provide sweet relief after several days on the train. However, if you're fresh off a ferry from Japan or Korea, head up to Svetlanskaya and Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsy for a stroll to get your land legs back. (Both destinations usually have food and drink vendors.)

Civil engineering buffs can gawk at the numerous construction projects peppering the city streets in preparation to 2012 APEC Summit, including the two enormous bridges across the Golden Horn Bay and Eastern Bosporus strait (the Russian Navy officers first exploring the area were big fans of Istanbul harbour), the latter of which would be a largest cable-stayed bridge upon its completion. Locals are more ambivalent about all that construction, but the bridges and hotels nevertheless already have become a frequent visitor attractions.

Russia's Pacific Fleet (not all of it, mind you, just its destroyer squadron) is parked right in the downtown, in Golden Horn Bay. A walk along the waterfront on Korabelnaya Embankment offers the closest views; to get any closer, you will have to enlist. Photographs with an average-sized camera shouldn't attract any problems, but be mindful of your surroundings or an enterprising police officer might invent a fine for you to pay.

If you're a connoisseur of Lenin statues, don't miss the one overlooking the train station from the west, next to the post office (the popular joke goes that the World Proletariat Leader says "You're going the right way, comrades", while pointing at Japan). There are also some interesting statues heading east on Svetlanskaya, both Soviet-era and abstract.

If you'd like to swim, the beach at Sportivnaya Harbor is the place to do it (not Golden Horn Bay, where the Pacific Fleet is parked). Be sure to salute the half-submerged mermaid statue out in the water. Alternately, in the winter, locals aren't shy about strolling out on ice.

Both abovementioned universities can set you up in their dorms as well as do the necessary paperwork for you to study in Russia. Some more information on Russian language course at the International relations department: [38].

There's a GUM (literally means Great Universal Market; former Kunst&Albers) department store on Svetlanskaya, across from Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsii, and electronic stores further east that can help with power converters and the like.

Local markets are spread throughout Vladivostok and provide the basic groceries for a neighborhood. Some even have a butcher but most all provide sausages and frozen meat. Larger markets sell clothing, shoes, and everything else imaginable in addition to food.

Sportivnaya Market is the largest market in Vladivostok. Its maze-like warrens are full of people selling most everything. There is a large Chinese presence here, and knockoffs and Chinese imports abound. The range of food sold at this market is fabulous but is probably a bit unusual for everyday fare.

Sunday morning brunch at the Vlad Inn (below) is a tradition for the handful of ex-pats living in the city.

Magic Burger, Subway, Cinnabon, Royal Burger, RestoGrad (), Baskin Robbins, Country Fried Chicken, Magic Bell, beer restaurant network Republic () could be easily hit in the center.

Russian dorm rooms in Vladivostok range from awful to OK. Generally, foreigners are dormed in reasonable accommodations, but you should know exactly what you are getting into before arriving. Important things you might take for granted include: private or communal kitchen and bathrooms, number of roommates, number of clothing washers and dryers.

The Far Eastern National University (above) offers reasonable dorm rooms but foreigners are separated from Russian students, so if you are looking for more Russian immersion, ask them about arranging a home stay.

The hotels in the city center are targets for huge tour groups, who block out availability for weeks on end, so reserve in advance if possible.

A few roads can only be crossed by poorly-lit underground passageways, which can be a bit nerve-racking at night. Beggars tend to congregate near the doors, including children with very quick hands, so cover your pockets as you pass.

Although you'll see plenty of locals stripping down for a swim on the boardwalks off Naberezhnaya, take care; there is plenty of rusted metal about. Stick to the beach unless you're very confident in your tetanus shots.

The main post office is on the other side of Aleutskaya from the train station. Internet access is available on the first floor of the post office. There are a few Internet cafes in the town center.

ATMs are easy to find, and most are connected to international bank networks. Otherwise, many hotels have exchange desks, although some have exchange rates decidedly skewed in their favor. Banks are the most obvious choice for currency exchange. There will also be dodgy money-changers near Sportivnyaya Harbor.

Mobile operators are the same as anywhere in Russia: MTS () and Megaphon (). Local NTK () will automatically switch your Beeline () phone to roaming service. Buying a SIM card needs a passport in Russia. Refilling locations are QIWI terminals or salons of mobiles: Evroset (), Svyaznoy () and Sotoviy mir ( ).

The number of wi-fi spots is over 130 which are availiable in most of cafes in the downtown.

Read the rest here:
Vladivostok - Wikitravel

Your Full Name
Your Email
Your Phone Number
Select your age (30+ only)
Select Your US State
Program Choice
Confirm over 30 years old Yes
Confirm that you resident in USA Yes
This is a Serious Inquiry Yes
Message:
captcha


Related Post