I’ve had a couple of people ask me for advice about Moscow recently. Here are some travel tips…
Pack: There are lots of great packing lists out there. Here are a few of my musts:
- Cold Medicine & Pain Relievers: I NEVER take these at home… I am not sure I took either one once in the US over the last year, but I desperately wanted cold medicine(specifically Nyquil) in Ukraine and I have taken pain relievers almost every day here.
- Water: Pack a few bottles for here or U. The water is not safe to drink without boiling first. You might be too tired to go out and get it your first night and you will need it!
- Snacks: Eating out twice a day here is expensive and we do not have any way to cook in our hotel room. In U, there were times when we were just too tired or wanted something from home. Here, it has saved us a lot of money. We have a large breakfast, which is included in our accommodations, go out for one meal and then snack for the other meal. Not really the healthiest, but it is the cheapest way we have found.
- Tape Measurer: To see the size of your kid. We didn’t need it this time, but that is an exception. It is nice to see how tall your kid is and know what size you will need for clothes.
- Two pairs of shoes: I thought I was being a smart packer when I only brought one pair of shoes to U. I got blisters the second day and was miserable for awhile. This time I brought a pair of snow-appropriate winter boots and a pair of slip-on shoes, great for the airport, hospital and a short walk. All is well.
Moscow/Peking Hotel specific:
Eating- The hotel restaurant is really expensive. Go for a walk and food is much cheaper. Within a few blocks there is Il Patio, Pizza Express, and KFC. There are also a ton of coffee shops and restaurants which are all in Russian. Our favorite is Pizza Express. It is on the cheaper side, but has lots of options. If you walk out of the Peking Hotel, go to the right, then turn right on the main street. Walk for a few blocks until you see one of the tunnels which goes under the streets. Go through that, go out to the left, and it will be about a block up. Just ask “English” when you walk in and they will give you a menu completely in English. Il Patio is okay, but more expensive. KFC has all kinds of chicken and fries– comparable or maybe a bit more than it is in the US. There are also a lot more restaurants if you walk down towards Red Square. On the way there are a lot of American chains– Starbucks, Cinnabon, McDonalds, TGIFridays. Down by the Kremlin, there is McDonalds, Sbarro and others. I am certain that there are tons of great Moscow-owned restaurants with English menus, but we did not have much time, money and energy to explore. There is also a grocery store that you can walk to. Turn left as you walk out of the Peking Hotel, walk 3 blocks up. The Slovek House will be on your left (it says Slovensky Dom in Roman letters). Walk down to where that street ends (2 or 3 blocks) and the grocery store is down inside that mall. That is a good place to buy snacks. You probably won’t want to lug water all the way back to the hotel, so buy it at one of the little stands right outside the hotel. You can bring your own grocery bag(reusable or plastic) or pay a few cents for one there.
Internet- You can pay for wireless in your room, but it is expensive. It is free in the lobby of the hotel, the hotel restaurants and most restaurants you will eat at. I spent time trying to figure out if we could get the wireless card to use in the hotel room cheaper elsewhere and that was fruitless.
Safety- There is a lockbox in your room. We put our money in it. The cabinets also lock, so we put larger things, like our laptops in those.
Tourism- Of course, it is worth it to walk down to Red Square, Kremlin and St. Basil’s. I am not sure I would pay to tour St. Basil’s and the Kremlin Cathedrals. I think I’d just do the Kremlin Cathedrals, if we were to do it again. There are lots of places to eat there, so you can easily spend the day there. There is a food court by the Kremlin, on the Alexander Garden side.
What did I forget? What do you want to know?