Moscow Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Moscow, Central Federal District, Russia)
When visiting Moscow you will soon notice that life here can be a little unfair for tourists, since so many of the attractions and some travel options are considerably cheaper for local Moscovites. In a large number of cases, this dual-pricing system is simply the way that things are and locals feel that they have the right to visit their own sights for less money than tourists.
However, in many cases, if you speak a little Russian in Moscow and are prepared to challenge the price, you may be able to pay the local Russian rate instead and enjoy considerable savings, or alternatively, befriend a Russian. Also be on the look out for tourist traps in Moscow, such as well-dressed men dropping a large wad of cash and when they see that you have picked it up, claim that some of the money is now missing and that you are to blame. However, that said, if you exercise a little common sense, you will be unlikely to encounter any trouble during your visit to Russia
Useful Contact Details
There is no tourist information centre within Moscow as such, although a number of travel agencies are dotted around the city. Many hostels and well-equipped hotels tend to provide a range of leaflets, basic maps and simple travel guides.
G&R International (Travel Agency)
Address: Zelenodolskaya Ulitsa 3/2, 5th Floor, Moscow, Russia, RU
Tel: +7 0495 378 0001
Infinity Travel (Travel Agency)
Address: Komsomolsky Prospekt, Moscow, Russia, RU
Tel: +7 0495 234 6555
Main Post Office
Address: Myasnitskaya Ulitsa 26, Moscow, Russia, RU
Located on the corner of the Christoprudny Boulevard.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 20:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 19:00
Language and Dialect
The official language of Moscow is of course Russian, a Slavic language, and many locals do tend to find written Russian rather hard to understand and pronounce, since is contains many unusual characters and accents. Since the majority of locals in Moscow don't even know one single word of English, and all signs are always in Russian, make sure that you bring a Russian phrase book with you and try to learn a few phrases before you arrive. Here are a few simple Russian phrases:
- Yes / No - Tak / Nye
- I do not speak Russian - Ya nye ga-va-ryu pa rus-ki
- Can you show me on the map? - Pa-ka-zhi-te mnye pa-zhal-sta na kar-te?
- Do you accept credit cards? - Vi pri-ni-ma-e-te a-pla-tu kre-dit-nay kar-tach-kay?
- How much is it? - Skol'-ka sto-it?
- That is too expensive - E-ta o-chen' do-ra-ga
- Where is a petrol station? - Gdye za-praf-ka?
Dos and Don'ts / Tourist Traps
- Going to the Theatre - as tourists, you can expect to pay more for your theatre seats. Alternatively if you are spending an evening out with Russian friends, they will be able to purchase the tickets for you more cheaply
- Pickpockets - the Novy Arbat (Arbut Street) may be a good place to shop, but the crowds mean that pickpocketing can be rife here and in similar areas, such as at Kursk Station and Partizanskaya, so discreetly guard your valuables and try to look like a local Russian, rather than an 'easy target' tourist
- Shopping for Souvenirs - Moscow shop keepers can be extremely pushy and persuasive when it comes to trying to sell you gifts, and whilst many clearly display signs saying that they will happily accept credit cards, many almost insist on cash instead, even accepting US dollars in preference at times. Also, don't be afraid to try your hand at haggling
- Sightseeing - the queues for many of the main sights in Moscow, such as Lenin's Tomb, can quickly start to build up. Therefore, if possible do try to arrive as early as you can and be prepared to pay if you intend to take photographs
- Taxis - most taxi drivers in Moscow see tourists as an easy way to make some extra money and will charge you more. Feel free to firmly negotiate a price first if you can, or ask a local to do so before you step onboard
- Using the Metro - whilst the subway trains of the metro are cheap and fast, they are also extremely confusing and signs offer no translations in English. Plan your journey in advance, carefully follow the colour-coded lines and count the stations you pass