Visit Russia – The DON’Ts of Visiting Russia

Hey there fellow travelers, Mark here with Wolters World and today we’re at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and today what we have for you are some of the “don’ts” about visiting Russia and before I get in my list of the “don’ts” one thing you really have to say is don’t prejudge Russia. Whatever you hear in the news, and all these kind of stuff. There’s so many things out there saying bad stuff about Russia and stuff like that. It is a wonderful place to visit so don’t be influenced by that stuff. Come explore for yourself. And I want to start off with that, okay. Now, my real “don’t” list gonna start with number one: don’t even think about trying to come to visit Russia without getting a visa. You’re going to need one, unless you’re one of the few countries that don’t have to have one, and as I look at the numbers of our views most you come from places that need a visa, and it does take a long time, okay. So make sure you’re planning beforehand. Yes, there is a “visa-free cruise” you can do to stop in Saint Petersburg for less than 72 hours, but you want to go and explore this beautiful country, whether it’s Moscow, or goin’ on our… the Volga River, and stuff like that, you do have to get a visa so don’t skip that; you gotta plan for it ahead of time. And with that: don’t forget to register your visa when you do get to Russia. If you’re staying at a hotel they’ll do it for you, but if you’re staying with friends and stuff like that you do have to register it, and don’t forget to make copies of all your important documents like: where you’re going to stay, your plane tickets, passport, visa, all that kind of stuff. You want to have that. The second “don’t” I have for you is: do not lose – don’t lose! – your registration card. When you come into Russia they’re going to give you like an immigration card they’ll fill out. You need that when you leave. If you don’t have that it can cause some trouble, so make sure you don’t forget it. Don’t think “Oh, it’s just a piece of paper, whatever!” Don’t forget it, okay! My next “don’t” for you is: don’t forget your rubles, okay. Ruble is the currency here in Russia and that’s what you’re going to pay with, but you can pay with card no problem in places like Saint Petersburg, in Moscow, but if you’re going to be traveling Russia, cash is more king here, and you’re going to need rubles to pay. Sometimes in Saint Petersburgs and stuff you can pay with euros or dollars here and there, but in general it’s rubles, and you need to have them to pay because not a lot of places will take credit card. so just a heads up for that one. And with that: don’t expect this to be a cheap trip Russia is expensive. Whether it’s the visas, the hotels, restaurants, stuff like that, you will spend a lot as a foreigner here. And kind-of going along with that is: don’t get upset if you see two different prices and you as the traveler have to pay a higher price, because some museums in places actually have two set prices: one for locals and one for foreigners. So don’t get upset by it, but just realize that sometimes you are going to pay more and don’t try to weasel your way out of it, coz they know if you’re a local or not. My sixth “don’t” for you is: don’t mess with the cops or any kind of the government officials when you are here. When you go through make sure you have your information: all your stuff for the border control, and don’t stare at the cops, don’t take pictures of the cops, don’t ask them things because they have to help you, and sometimes I’ve been shook down by cops [unclear] before, you don’t want to give them a reason to ask for your documents and stuff like that, okay, so just don’t mess with the police when you are here. Now my next “don’t” for you if you’re here in Russia: don’t let down your guard! Look, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, are probably the two places you’re really going to visit a lot, and there are pickpockets here there’s people trying to rip you off all kinds of stuff. You do want to pay attention, so don’t, like: don’t leave your stuff in the back of your seat if you’re in a cafe, you know, do put the stuff between your legs, always be paying attention because you don’t know, if you’re on the metro someone might be trying to pick your pocket and things like that. You do want to watch out for that. Now the next “don’t” I have for you has to deal with the churches here. The Russian Orthodox churches are gorgeous from the outside and amazing from the inside. And my “don’t” with that is: don’t skip the churches, okay. A lot of people think “Oh, I’ll just… its churches, whatever!” Man, come into the Russian Orthodox churches with the icons and the gold and the silver and everything, it just blows your mind, whether you’re going to Saint Basil’s or or the “spilled blood” church here, I mean, there’s so many amazing churches throughout the country. Don’t skip those, but also don’t wear a hat when you’re there. But if you are a woman: do cover your head, because, it’s an orthodox country, they’re conservative, so you want to show respect for that. Now my next “don’t” for you when you are here is: if you’re going to bring money – like I talked about, you need to get rubles – is: don’t bring banged up US dollars or euros. You need to have the crisp, clean kind, so you’ll exchange them. Otherwise they won’t accept them. My tenth thing for you is: don’t assume the Russians are cold-hearted kind of people. Yes, the service is kind of bad when you are here, but if you get to know Russians they really warm up to you. I mean,
I can’t tell you how many times “Babushkas” have taken me in and made me their cabbage rolls, and people have shown me around. Just by speaking a little bit of Russian can go a long way, okay. So, don’t be scared of that language as well. Learn a few words: it really opens up the people. And then I guess – something with the people – they have a lot of these little tiny things, like: don’t shake hands over the threshold, don’t give flowers in even numbers, just so, you know, it makes things a little bit better Another “don’t” I have for you is: don’t speak bad about Russia, the politicians, the country, the culture, the food, things like that. It will not go over well. And they’ll let you know that and they’ll tell you “look, you deal with your country, we’ll deal with ours,” so, just don’t get involved with those kind of things. And one of the things my Russian friends always made sure they do, and now I realize it, is: you don’t leave empty bottles on top of the table you’ve been drinking, you put it on the floor I never really realized it until I started noticing it again and read it a few places, but it is really true. Anyway, those are just 10 or 11 quick little “don’ts” of visiting Russia. If you want to learn more; ten things that’ll shock you about Russia, things you should know before you come here, check us on our website at We’re also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. And we really appreciate your “likes” and subscriptions, and bye from Russia.

100 thoughts on “Visit Russia – The DON’Ts of Visiting Russia

  1. Been living in Russia for 27 years, 2 of them in Saint-Petersburg, visit many places, never seen any special prices for foreigners, they ripped you off.
    Contact me, if you seek for friendly russian in saint-p

  2. Stick to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The rest of Russia is much more conservative, aggressive to west culture and people. And there is actually nothing to see, only depression. I can tell

  3. Don't go to Russia if you're gay. The human rights abuses the Russian government imposes on its own citizens is inhumane and disgusting.

  4. Do not EVER praise ANY Russian politician past and present, unless you want to have your face pulped up (or to end your friendship) – the Russian society is EXTREMELY divided and has diametrically opposed opinions on almost every political topic. Simply AVOID talking politics first and let the Russian people start denigrating their politicians first, and after that… just play it by ear.

  5. Such a lot of commentators visited Russia. and they know how bad it is, how people are humiliated here. Poor we…

  6. Well that's not clear about the last point. I would like discuss the politics, what is happening and what actually happened in the world

  7. Being a foreigner, not speaking Russian at all, makes you a great target for bad guys. Sometimes people may come up and ask about your shirt's text (for exampe!), and depending on how you answer everything will proceed.

    I were personally in Moscow with my family, and we spoke another language. Blah blah and such. And yes I had on my favourite SPN shirt, with Castiel's quote. Written in English. The seller of this small shop with prices barely visible, comes up to me and casually asks me about that text in Russia. I answer him with no accent, as I speak Russia as my native language. He loses his interest in me.

    In that moment you may know if you wanna stay and buy something. They won't want to scam you for sure sure, but, y'know. Not all people are bad, but also, trust your guts. Everywhere in world you can find bad human beings.

  8. Don't assume people don't speak English, so watch what you say. (Good advice for any country, really)
    Don't take touristy photos inside the subway.
    Don't rule out visiting Russia during winter, it was gorgeous and the lines at the Hermitage, the palaces and other locations were almost non-existent. It also made it easier to be able to actually talk to locals.
    Don't forget to bring items to barter with, one of my travel partners brought all sorts of interesting things with her (costume jewelry, scarves, etc) and was able to make some really incredible trades with locals.

  9. Good place for people who lost money in Russia Saint Petersburg – they help everyone for free!

  10. I have a Brazilian passport, as I’m a Brazilian American, so I can go to Russia visa free which is cool

  11. It would have been better to have a native russian presenting this topic instead of a western tourist.

  12. I wish people would visit more cities in Russia besides Moscow and St. Petersburg (the most expensive cities)!

  13. I think a lot of your information is primarily for Americans, as the Canadian I have travelled to Russia three times in my life, I’ve never had one single incident of anything bad, I’ve talked to several police there found them very courteous and polite but they do not take American bullshit there well at all. Be polite do not be rude, they are very nice people but know this just like most of Europe they have a very low tolerance for American ignorance.
    As far as cost goes, if you stay within the Moscow region but just outside of the city maybe two or three Metro stops it does drop dramatically in prices for both hotels and restaurants, you will be amazed how many people in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi can speak English.
    I have seen a couple Americans get beaten up very badly when they start to run their mouth and how much the Americans dominate this or that or threaten them with military action, probably the stupidest thing you can do to a country that has zero fear of the United States. As far as stealing and pickpockets goal, it’s just like anything else, I’ve travelled all throw United States, Canada, Europe if you look like a mark people out to rip you off it’s that easy, don’t make yourself a target, and don’t wear American flags for USA number #1 or any of that bullshit like that it does not go over well, I remember a lot of the stuff you hear about Russia is purely American propaganda it has absolutely nothing to do with the country they love to portray Russia as the bad guy but let’s face facts United States is the one that destabilise the Middle East, It is the United States of slaughtered countless men women and children with drone strikes aerial bombardment and so on, so American bullies don’t do well pretty much anywhere outside of the United States even in Canada, it doesn’t go over well here either.
    Last point is about credit cards, there are tons of places that accept Visa, MasterCard and debit cards, so I don’t know what this commentator is on about, it’s pretty much like anywhere else.
    It is an absolutely beautiful country to visit, with amazing history, heritage and absolutely amazing beautiful culture and art, enjoy it for what it is Russian people can be a little stand offish but once you get to know them they’re actually very genuine and quite nice and generous.
    As a Canadian I will and was saying leave your American propaganda bullshit at home and don’t start anything in Russia it won’t go well with you just like those guys that ended up in the hospital for running their mouth

  14. I'm fucking Russian but was born in the US so I have never been there ( Also my parents are from Krasnodar if anyone wants to know )

  15. if you mess with the police there you could end up in a very bad situation they really dont take any crap at all

  16. Accurate. I don't know about the "Immigration Card" I never had to deal with that. I was last over in 2008.

  17. I almost learned the hard way on the registering visa thing. The friend I was visiting told me not to worry about it, but then got accosted by the police and was being taken to police station. The cop let me go after realizing I had no money to take. Better believe I beelined to get my visa registered!!

  18. Best way to describe Russians and Americans is coconut vs peaches. The Russians are very hard on the inside but soft and sweet on the inside once you are pass that initial barrier

  19. Hello, I will arrive to Russia June 8 and leave June 15.I read that I dont need to do it since it is under 7 days but also read elsewhere that it is 3 days. Do I need to register? I will be staying in a AirBnB. Also where do I go to register? Also can I bring my DJI MAVOC drone through customs? I do not plan to fly in Russia.

  20. Yes! Russians are very old school superstitious. Even number flower bouquets are for cemeteries only! Also never EVER whistle inside of a Russian house! You can “whistle money away” or worse! “Whistle away health”.

  21. The local/foreigner price difference is also found in other big cities like NYC – it's pretty common for places that get a lot of tourists.

  22. Those “don’ts” suit for every country you go as a tourist.
    I visited Russia twice and i speak Russian cause i was born in Moldova.
    Visited Europe before as well and i can tell you that russians are similar to europeans in some way.You can’t be familiar with stranger.What i did find weird it was a guard at the clothing store inside a shopping centre.He had kinda suspicious look 😆😆

  23. I have been allot in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and i would higly recommend you to visit Saint Petersburg. There is allot of beautiful stuff there and food places and shopping malls that Can make you bussy for hours and hours. I have lived in Saint Petersburg partly beceuse My dad have lived there before for 5 years and i just love being at New Holland Island and My favourite place on earth Peterhof Palace, I FREAKING LOVE THAT PLACE WHEN IT'S SUMMER. Watching a football watch at Gazprom Arena also aint a bad idea. And i am born in Sweden and have learned russian from some friends and Duolingo. Yeah i know DUOLINGO!😂

    But russians is actually really warm hearted people and most are Friendly and Will love to show you their culture and make you Feel home

  24. It is disappointing that people spew their hate here, this is a tourism channel, not a political discussion group

  25. Don't go past the town centre. It's just blocks and blocks of concrete apartment buildings after that

  26. All you mentined you can do with no trouble at all. So, don't show the russians 'don'ts' are so terrible

  27. I am Russian and was curious to see what this vid is about. Huge thanks for the don't #0. Also, it's not that expensive if you do know where to go. There's a ton of cheap yet great places to eat or stay, just they are more dedicated towards the citizens. They are really great to get a hang of the day-to-day cuisine and stuff though. When we came to visit Saints Petersburg we were lucky one of us actually had a clue where to go, otherwise we would've been stuck with some tourist-aimed stuff like all the others. Also, for God's sake, never go in February or March. The weather is most likely terrible.
    OH, and the pickpockets. My friend was robbed while we were there and, once again, we were completely blending in, no sings of being tourists or whatever. So, no one is safe

  28. When you go to Russia, the first thing you do is to publicly call Putin an A-hole and then slap the first cop you meet. You will be guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience in Russia that you will remember forever.

  29. do not smile to Russians, they do not answer with a smile: to look sad for them is cool! (it's not a joke; i work with tourists from all the world, including those from Russia).

  30. 3:48 "Women have to cover theit head its an orthodox country"
    Sees some women not having covered their head in the background

  31. 1. Don't discuss politics, sports or religion and you'll be fine.
    2. Be careful in parks at night, too many drinking people looking for a fight, even if they seem friendly and wanna have drink with you, it might end badly.
    3. Police officers are a friendly towards tourists even if they don't seem that way, so don't hesitate to ask help or directions.
    4. If people don't smile it doesn't mean they don't like you.

    Other than that, don't limit yourself to just St.Petersburg/Moscow downtown areas cause rural Russia is even more interesting and unique.

  32. I have been to Moscow about 20 times now. 1 don’t which is important is don’t just rely on a debit and credit card, have cash too. Do download an app on your phone called Yandex Taxi. Fuel is cheap in Russia so taxis are extremely cheap and can travel vast distances for very little money. Yandex Taxi is like Uber, But very very cheap and perfect for people who can’t walk long distances and whom are tired.

  33. Thank you so much for videos! It is a great pleasure to watch them. You are always right . You mention so many important details what can really help tourists ! Great job!

  34. Of course be careful with your valuables where ever you go but my impression was that Moscow is far safer for tourists than most western big cities, European or American. Public transports are often patrolled by police, no one tries to scam you of anything, the locals are mostly pleased to help if you ask them. Before I went to Russia I was warned that some officials will spot check your passport in the metro and you won't get it back without paying a ransom. I don't know if this is a myth, certainly saw no sign of that.

  35. Being a Russian myself and having travelled and lived in Western states before, I've always found it outrageous that there are local and 'foreigner' ticket prices for museums and the like. How unfair and greedy is that? And yes, I also subvert all those stupid prejudices about the threshold, odd number of flowers, and no empty bottles on the table. It's all in the head.

  36. I come from a country with a lot of Russians, and one thing I've noticed is that they hate it when you're too polite to them (like you're kissing up to them).

  37. I was there last year in Russia, during the World Cup. It was beautiful, nice hotels, food, and lots of places visit. The country was totally different though when they lost against Croatia, guess that just shows you how proud they are of being Russian.

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