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» ExaLine

ExsaLine Travel Company LTD was founded in 2009. From the very beginning our main goal was to be the best. We never tried to have more clients than other companies, but always tried to provide the best service for each client. Each client is unique for us, and the most important thing is to make him satisfied with his trip.

ExsaLine Travel Company Ltd.
Rostov-on-Don 344064, st. Vavilova 49, of. 214
Tel. / Fax: +7 (863) 295-85-39, +7 (958) 544-54-10
on various issues - info@exaline.ru;
for booking and reservation - bron@exaline.ru
Website: www.ExaLine.ru

Welcome to Russia!

Russia is a land of snow and harsh winters, blooming meadows and mighty rivers, midsummer sun that never sets, a hospitable country with a big heart, talented businesses and amazingly artistic people. There are countless natural, historical and cultural attractions in Russia. It really is a ‘must see’ destination!

Russia covers more than 17 million square kilometres. It takes about a week to cross the country's ten time zones by train, and ten hours by air. Russia's population is about 150 million. The national language is Russian. Sixty percent of Russians are atheist, while the majority of believers are Orthodox.

Russia has the largest river in Europe, the Volga; the world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea; the world's deepest freshwater lake, the Baikal; and Europe's highest peak, Elbrus.

FACTS FOR TRAVELLERS (TRAVEL TIPS)

Visas: Travelling in Russia is easier than ever. However, all visitors require visas. Please contact us for more information and help. Visas must be obtained in advance – they are not sold at the airport upon your arrival.

Climate: One of the best times to travel to Russia is summer, which is also the rainy season. July and August are the warmest months. The coldest time is winter when you can warm yourself up visiting theatres and other places of interest. You’ll be pleased to know that everywhere in Russia has central heating.

Time: GMT + 3 for both Moscow and St Petersburg (GMT +4 in Winter time)

Telephones: The dialling code for Russia is +7. Moscow Area Code : 095, 495. St Petersburg Area Code : 812. Public telephones accept tokens and calling cards, which can be purchased at news-stands, in some stores and many kiosks.

Electricity: Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50hz. The plug is two-pin thin European standard. Make sure you bring your own converter as most places in Russia do not provide them.

Weights and measures: Metric.

Currency: The official monetary unit in Russia is the rouble. You are recommended to take US Dollars or Euros; they can be exchanged at banks, hotels and kiosks. Major Russian cities have ATM machines to withdraw cash, and almost all restaurants/shops accept credit cards. It is not recommended to take traveller's cheques with you to Russia.

Taxis: There are a number of taxi companies in Russia’s major cities. You should avoid ‘gypsy cabs’ by phoning ahead for a taxi or asking your hotel to arrange one for you. If you arrive at Moscow airport, you will see a number of drivers clamouring for your business. It's better to go outside and line up in the taxi queue, where regulated taxis can be found.

Tips: Tips are not necessary but highly expected and appreciated. Usually they should cover 5-10% of the bill, depending on the level of service.

Crime and security: The only concern for the tourist is petty crime.

Water: Water quality varies in Russia. Buy drinking water in bottles, and do not drink tap water.

Medical care: An agreement between Russia and Britain allows British citizens to obtain fast and cost-free medical service in case of emergency. In general, calling a state-run ambulance is still free of charge. If you are at a hotel, call the front desk, which in turn will call the necessary ambulance service. Russian speakers can call an ambulance from a private phone or payphone by dialling 03. Saying it's for a foreigner might help to get faster and better service.

National holidays: New Year's Day (1 Jan), Russian Orthodox Christmas (7 Jan), Easter Sunday (Mar/Apr/May), International Women's Day (8 Mar), Labour Day (1 May), Victory Day (9 May), Independence Day (12 Jun), Day of Reconciliation (7 Nov), Constitution Day (12 Dec).

About Russian Visas

All foreigners (except citizens of some former Soviet republics) visiting Russia need a visa. In order to get one, travelers need an invitation from a Russian citizen or a company, which is then taken to a Russian embassy or consulate, where the actual visa is issued. Within three working days of arrival in Russia, the visa needs to be registered by the person/organization that issued the invitation. If you don't make it through this bureaucratic loop, you may have problems leaving the country.

Prices for processing Russian visas vary according to the applicant's citizenship and the embassy/consulate applied to. Perhaps in response to the trials the U.S. Embassy in Moscow puts Russian visa applicants through (see articles), U.S. citizens routinely pay more for Russian visas.

There are six types of Russian visas, but most travelers get one of three kinds:

Russian Tourist Visa

Tourist visas are best for short visits. According to Russian law it is illegal for a hotel to provide you with an invitation if you are not going to stay there but this law is broken more often than it is followed. Many agencies can get you a visa and have it registered without a night booked in a hotel, and many hotels will give you give you an invitation and register it even if you're only staying with them for part of your trip.

Russian Business Visa

Business visas aren't just for foreigners working in Russia. Far more flexible than tourist visas, they are often the best choice for tourists who are visiting friends and don't need a hotel, or who are looking to spend an extended period of time in Russia, especially those who want to travel independently or extensively. In order to get a business visa you need an invitation from a Russian firm, which can usually be arranged through a visa agency. You do not need to plan hotel reservations or an itinerary to get a business visa.

Student Visa

Student visas are a great deal; they're flexible, lengthy, and entitle you to Russian prices for trains, planes, the theater, and a host of other goodies. The only catch is that you have to prove enrollment at a Russian institution. If you are planning to enroll in a Russian university, the school authorities can probably help you arrange the visa.

Other Visa

Other types of visas include Transit Visas, On-the-Spot Visas, and Diplomatic Visas. Transit visas can be a cheap option for travelers headed for China or Central Asia, but it's often hard to make it in and out of the country in your allotted window of time. On-the-Spot Visas are dubious, not universally available, and very expensive. Diplomatic visas have a narrow range of applicability.

How to Get a Russian Visa

Although it is possible to arrange your own Russian visa, most travelers choose to hire a visa service to do the work. Invitations cost anything up to and beyond -0, depending on the type of visa and the speed of service. For an extra -, agencies take your invitation to an embassy or consulate and send you the visa. Some services will even take care of registering the visa when you arrive in Russia. Given that each Russian consulate and embassy has different tastes and temperaments, it's usually best to have somebody who knows the ropes do the dirty work.

RUSSIAN VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGN CITIZENS TO ENTER THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Money and Costs

Currency: Rouble (Rub) = 100 kopeks. Notes are in denominations of Rub 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50 10 and 5.

Currency exchange: Foreign currency should only be exchanged at official bureaux and all transactions must be recorded on the currency declaration form which is issued on arrival. It is wise to retain all exchange receipts. Bureaux de change are numerous and easy to locate. Large shops offer their own exchange facilities.

Credit cards: Major European and international credit cards, including American Express, Visa and Diners Club, are accepted in the larger hotels and at foreign currency shops and restaurants.

Eurocheques up to Rub300 can be cashed in banks.

Travellers cheques are preferable to cash, but visitors to Moscow would be wise to take some hard currency for purchases.

Currency restrictions: The import and export of local currency is prohibited. All remaining local currency must be reconverted at the point of departure. The import of foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.

Meals

  • Budget: US-15
  • Mid-range: US-30
  • Top-end: US and upwards

Lodging

  • Budget: US-80
  • Mid-range: US-180
  • Top-end: US0 and upwards

If you're really frugal, avoiding plane trips, taxis, overseas phone calls and decent restaurants, as well as always looking for the very cheapest place to stay, you should be able to get by on US a day. If you always stay in comfortable hotels and eat in restaurants two or three times a day, you're looking at more like US5 a day. If you prefer to spend your day eating in Moscow's finest restaurants and sleeping between their crispest sheets, plan on around US0 and more a day.

Useful tips

Land area 17,075,400 sq. km. (6,593,000-sq. mi.)
Population 148,909,089 (July 1995 est.)
Capital Moscow
Language Russian. Local languages and dialects
Religion Russian Orthodox, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, other
Monetary unit Rouble. There are notes in denominations of rbl 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, 2, 1, 50 kopeeks, 10 kopeeks, etc.
Public holidays Jan 1 New Year`s Day Jan 7 Russian Orthodox Christmas Mar 8 Women`s Day May 1,2 Labour Day May 9 Victory Day Jun 12 Independence Day Nov 7 Reconciliation Day Dec 12 Constitution Day Feb-Apr Russian Orthodox Easter Day is subject to change year by year according to the lunar calendar
Electric current 220 volt, 50 Hz. European 2-pin plugs are in use
Time From the last Sunday of March until the last Sunday of September, clocks are put back one hour according to Daylight Savings Time
President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

When to Go

July and August are the warmest months and the main holiday season. They're also the dampest - it might rain one day in three. So if you want to avoid the crowds and the rain, try May-June or September-October. In early autumn the leaves are turning . Although winter is bitter,  theatres open.

Events

Easter and Christmas are celebrated with midnight services, candlelight processions and flourishings of folk art. In April St Petersburg celebrates Music Spring, an international classical music festival, and the last 10 days of June feature the White Nights, a time for general merrymaking and staying up late. A film festival is held in Moscow in autumn in odd-numbered years. The Russian Winter Festival is celebrated in St Petersburg, Moscow and Novgorod from late December to early January, and includes folklore shows and vodka. The other main winter celebration is New Year, celebrated with presents, champagne and yet more vodka. 

Activities

Adventure travel in Russia could be the next big thing. You can hook up with adventure travel groups based in many Russian cities and towns. Possibilities include trekking or mountaineering in the Caucasus or the Kola Peninsula; hiking or kayaking in the forests, rivers and lakes of Karelia; cross-country and downhill skiing on Europe's highest peak, Mt Elbrus, in the Caucasus; or even a leisurely expedition to the North Pole. We can be your best bartner in organisation of this kind of trips. Contact us at bron@exaline.ru and we'll exceed all your expectations.

Duty Free
Duty-free regulations within the CIS are liable to change at short notice. The following should be used as a guide only, and travellers are advised to contact the Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information. Goods that may be imported into the Russian Federation by persons over 16 years of age without incurring customs duty:

200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 1 litre of spirits; 2 litres of still wine and 2 litres of sparkling wine; a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use; gifts up to a value of Rub1000.

Note: On entering the country, tourists must complete a customs declaration form which must be retained until departure. This allows the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables which must be registered on the declaration form. Cameras, jewellery, computers and musical instruments should all be declared. Customs inspection can be long and detailed. It is advisable when shopping to ask for a certificate from the shop which states that goods have been paid for in hard currency. Presentation of such certificates should speed up customs formalities.

Prohibited imports: Military weapons and ammunition, narcotics and drug paraphernalia, pornography, loose pearls, fruit and vegetables and live animals. If you have any query regarding items that may be imported, an information sheet is available on request from Intourist.

Prohibited exports: As prohibited imports, as well as annulled securities, state loan certificates, lottery tickets, works of art and antiques (unless permission has been granted by the Ministry of Culture), saiga horns, Siberian stag, punctuate and red deer antlers (unless on organised hunting trip), and punctuate deer skins.

Public Holidays
Jan 1 New Year. Jan 7 Russian Christmas. Mar 8 International Women's Day. Apr 15 Russian Orthodox Easter. May 1-2 Spring and Labour Day. May 9 Victory in Europe Day. Jun 12 Russian Independence Day. Aug 22 National Flag Day. Nov 7 Constitution Day.

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