Vladivostok

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Center of Vladivostok and Golden Horn Bay

Vladivostok (Russian: Владивосто́к, vlah-dee-vah-STOHK) [1] is a city in Russia. It serves as the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway. 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.

Understand[edit]

San-Francisco and Naples

Fritiof 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 Frisco 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 received 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.

Climate[edit]

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.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) -8.3 -4.9 2.0 9.4 14.7 17.0 21.3 23.0 19.3 12.5 3.0 -5.1
Nightly lows (°C) -15.8 -12.4 -5.1 1.6 6.5 10.7 15.7 17.5 12.8 5.5 -4 -12.1
Precipitation (mm) 9 13 23 49 74 116 139 159 139 65 26 14

Average of Vladivostok

January is cold at -14°C (7°F), and August is fairly warm at 24°C (75°F), though these are average temperatures, and hot/cold spells can bring much more extreme conditions. It is not unheard of for temperatures to drop below -30°C 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.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Vladivostok railway station. Rebuilt in 1912 in the same style as Yaroslavsky railway station in Moscow 9288km away

Vladivostok is the eastern terminus for the worlds longest passenger route, the Trans-Siberian Railway. An epic train journey from Moscow takes six nights and there are departures every two days. Several major Russian cities like Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Ekaterinburg are along the route and all trains make stops there. A single journey costs from RUB22,000 in second class.

There are also trains from Harbin, China, taking 20 hours and costing from RUB1,400.

By boat[edit]

Mixed-use ferries run the route between Japan and Vladivostok, carrying passengers and major commercial goods. The Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) ferries connect with the Fushiki port in Takaoka. Fares are from ¥48,400 one-way and the trip takes two nights, meals included and alcohol on sale to pass the time. Don't count on many amenities, though; a ship might show a swimming pool on the deck plan, for example, but you'll find it drained to store motorcycles once you're aboard. 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, as these are done en masse with loads of Russian tourists. Schedules, prices, and tickets are available from FESCO's official agent in Japan, Business Intour Service, who have offices in Tokyo and Vladivostok.

The newly launched ferry Stena Daea Line connects Vladivostok and Zarubino (nearby Russian town) with Sokcho, South Korea. Detailed information and schedules can be found at the official website [2].

Another line connects Vladivostok with the South Korean city of Donghae and Japanese fishing port of Sakaiminato, with the cheapest one way fare of US$205 from Donghae and US$265 from Sakaiminato. From March to November the ferry Eastern Dream leave Sakaiminato 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 doesn't arrive in Vladivostok till Tuesday. Please note that Sakaiminato is a small and remote town, and access to major Japanese cities is limited (closest one is Kyoto, which is about three hours by local train, there are also planes to Tokyo and Nagoya, but they are rather expensive). More information on the website www.dbsferry.com.

Due to the recent new law, anyone entering Russia on cruise ferries can do it without visa if the stay is no longer than 72 hours, and there are discussion to extend this practice to Russian nationals visiting Korea and Japan.

It is also possible to go anywhere in the world (and come from anywhere as well) by booking a berth on a cargo boat. 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. The ferry port is right next to the train station, so the two are interchangeable for purposes of orientation.

By plane[edit]

Vladivostok International Airport (IATA: VVO) is located near Artyom, some 50 km (31 mi) off the city center, has two airfields with four paved runways, and is able to receive most major types of aircraft, except the very large ones such as Airbus A380. The main terminal (domestic) recently underwent a major renovation, making it the most modern airport building in the Russian Far East. The international terminal, which is located just next door to the domestic one (in fact, they share the same parking), is very small and usually crowded, but as Vladivostok is slated to receive the APEC summit in 2012, the new terminal is beginning to get flights.

Currently, the main connection from the airport to the city is via local and shuttle buses (running to the Vladivostok bus station) but don't count on them if your flight arrives late in the day. If your flight arrives late, you could take your chance with a metered taxi, or negotiate with an informal "taxi" - starting price is a ridiculous 2500 Rubles - pay no more than 1000. The train station, finally connecting the airport to the rail network, is finally completed in the new terminal, and the link is operated under the Aeroexpress brand. One-way ticket to-and-from the airport costs 200 Rubles, and those wanting to splurge may dish out 700 R for a "business class" ride. Note that this train also doubles as a limited local train and thus includes several commuter cars (with a typical commuter amenities and sharply reduced fare around 70 R), and makes a couple of additional stops along the way.

The airport's anchor airline is Vladivostok Air, recently merged into Aeroflot, that serves a majority of its available domestic and international routes. It's the largest airline in the Russian Far East; it operates relatively modern fleet which primarily includes Airbus A320 and Tupolev Tu 204-300 types of aircraft and offers something like European short-haul type of service on all flights.

In late 2013 Vladivostok Air ceased to be an Aeroflot's independent subsidiary and was merged with another Far Eastern company, Sakhalin Air Routes (SAT), into the new airline named Aurora. A lot of the two parent airlines destinations were closed, yet for reopen just for now, and some critics say that it was the move by the Aeroflot proper to "steal" the more lucrative destinations, such as those in Korea and Japan, from its subsidiaries. On the other hand, assuming that the crotics are right the aerial juggernaut seems to be slow in exploiting this trick, with the niche covered only by flights codeshared with S7 and other airlines.

The busiest destination is Moscow. On average, there are 3-5 flights per day. Flights are much more frequent in summertime (June - September) due to heavy passenger traffic. It is recommended to book an itinerary at least one month in advance during that season in order to get a reasonable fare. Principal carriers to operate this route are Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Transaero, and S7 Airlines.

Other destinations are mostly served daily, and often the service is even less frequent. Besides Moscow, domestic destinations include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk and many others. International flights connect Vladivostok with Beijing and Harbin in China; Tokyo and Osaka in Japan (previously popular Niigata and Toyama destinations are canceled until further notice); Busan and Incheon in South Korea; Bangkok in Thailand; Hanoi in Vietnam; and Air Koryo also offers a weekly flight to Pyongyang. Korean Air operates Incheon route 5 times a week (in 2009) and offers flights from the continental U.S. via a connection in Seoul-Incheon. Completion of the new international terminal in Haneda airport and subsequent increase in its capacity may lead to the opening of a direct scheduled flight by ANA to Tokyo (previously only served by Vladivostok Air charters and then scheduled flights to Narita). From 2 Nov, 2012, S7 Airlines opened direct flights to Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Unfortunately, due to scarcity of the airlines operating from the airport a lot of destinations are monopolized and tickets are offered at exorbitant fares. For example, realizing its almost monopolistic position to offer connections, Korean Air bargains a fare starting from US$800 for 1.5 hours plane ride to Seoul. Vladivostok Air asked similarly extortionate prices for tickets to its Japanese destinations for the same 1.5 hours ride. The only real competitive destination is Moscow where a lot of airlines compete with each other, and sometimes really hot deals can be found. There are some hopes that aforementioned openings of a ferry line and additional flights may lead to increased competition and falling prices, and indeed there is some progress, but it is rather slow and leaves much to see in the future.

As of July 2011, most of the 50+ kilometre road to the city is disrupted by roadworks - rather than repairing in sections, they have chosen to dig it all up at once. Expect delays - buses take 90-120 minutes, taxis at least 1 hour. By the August 2012, though, all major roadworks are finished, and the new, additional road with the scenic bridge over the Amur bay is finally completed, so the problem has largely disappeared.

By bus[edit]

There are a number of local bus routes from most suburban locations and nearby towns as well. Most places around the region are linked to Vladivostok by bus. There are also several international routes, linking Vladivostok to cities in northeastern China such as Harbin, Mudanjiang and Suifenhe. The easiest way from north eastern China is to take the direct bus from Harbin, to where there are good train connections to/from Beijing.

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

Get around[edit]

Memorial to the Fighters for the Soviet Power in the Far East, in Vladivostok

By public transport[edit]

Vladivostok has a wide range of transportation, from streetcars to funicular railway. The trams and trolleybuses have, unfortunately, mostly gone in an effort to improve traffic — it hasn't worked, though, mainly because at least two lanes on most downtown streets are still taken 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.

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 bus routes). Buses are extremely crowded but frequent; the fares are flat 17 r. ($0.50) for the downtown routes, but go up to 120 r. ($4.0) for suburban ones. Hop on bus in the back and then pay the driver as you exit from the front. Many buses leave from outside the "Clever House" (Cløver 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 in the automated kiosks at most major stops. Push the card to the terminal near the driver for a couple of seconds, until it gives two beeps, and you are set. Because the cards and kiosks are issued by a major local bank, the card also could be used as a normal debit card in some selected shops, and in the kiosks you could pay your mobile phone, etc.

On the down note, the bus companies are constantly criticized for neglecting the state of their fleets, 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 the 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 could 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 elektrichka. The train station is accessible and a great way to see neighboring cities like Khabarovsk.

By taxi[edit]

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.

By car[edit]

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.

By foot[edit]

Funicular in Vladivostok leading to the Eagle's Nest hill

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.

See[edit]

Arsenev Regional History Museum

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 sea 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.

Public spaces[edit]

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.

  • Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsy (Central Square), Svetlanskaya, between Aleutskaya and Uborevicha. This is a good place to relax and watch the locals at leisure. A pair of massive statues serve as the Memorial to the Fighters for the Soviet Power in the Far East, in honor of those who brought this remote corner of Russia under Bolshevik control. Today, they're more a memorial to the power of local skateboarders. You might also have the chance to take in a protest march. The giant, strikingly ugly regional administration building looms over the square.
  • Sportivnaya Harbor. A popular summertime promenade and beach just the short walk away from the square. The official swimming ban is cheerfully ignored by the locals, who frolic in the water between the yachts of the main city marina, which mostly shares the location with the beach. A small amusement park with various kiddy rides and 80 m Ferris wheel lines the other side of the promenade, and the stalls around will sell you drinks, snacks and souvenir knick-knacks for outrageous prices.
  • The square of the sister-cities (Площадь побратимов) (Crossroads of Semenovskaya and Pogranichnaya streets). Eleven arcs with cities' names engraved on them. Benches to relax. Free wi-fi zone.
  • Dynamo stadium, the home arena of the city's eternally struggling Luch-Energia football outfit, as well as Olympiets sports center, a base of Spartak-Primorye basketball team and a popular venue for martial arts tournaments, are also situated there, as is the old city aquarium. The new, much larger and fancier one, is currently under construction on Russkiy island. In the winter the frozen waters of the bay become a home for hundreds, if not thousands ice fishers.

Museums and memorials[edit]

Artillery of Vladivostok Fortress
Naval memorial, Vladivostok
Marine Museum TINRO

For connoisseurs 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.

  •    Arsenyev Regional History Museum20 Svetlanskaya St (At the intersection of Aleutskaya and Svetlanskaya),  +7 4232 41-40-82. Mostly a natural history museum, save for a few pieces of Stalinist kitsch and a tribute to Hollywood star and hometown hero Yul Brynner. There are some interesting displays on pre-Russian settlers and their techniques for hunting and survival, but the death-dance between the tiger and the bear has to be seen to be believed.
  •    Museum Vladivostok Fortress4-a Batareynaya St +7 4232 40-08-96. 10AM-6PM daily. Overlooking the sea, these fortifications were built more than a century ago to guard against invasion from Japan. Today, the grounds are cluttered with defused bombs, chain guns, and small military vehicles. Those can be visited for free; there's a small fee to go inside the several rooms of the fort, which feature displays on the history of Russia's presence in the region and some intricate dioramas.
  • Naval MemorialKorabelnaya Embankment.
  •    Primorsky State Art Gallery12 Aleutskaya St +7 4232 41-11-95. Traveling art exhibitions and a well-regarded collection of classic European masters.
  •    C-56 SubmarineKorabelnaya nab. You can't board the Pacific Fleet, but this WWII submarine is parked on land, by the Naval Memorial, and welcomes visitors; the interior is pretty well-preserved, and you can monkey around more or less unattended while you're inside. There's usually someone selling Soviet pins and military gear outside.
  •    Triumphal Arc (Nikolai gate) (Deep into the eastern side of Korabelnaya nab). Chapel-like arc constructed in honour of the visiting tsar Nikolai II, destroyed after the revolution and restored in 2003.
  • Vladivostok StationAleutskaya St. Even if your journey doesn't involve trains, the beautiful old Vladivostok Station is worth a look. The last among the steam-engines stands at the platform. Don't miss the 9288km sign post nearby
  •    Lighthouse at Egersheld cape (Маяк на Эгершельде). This white lighthouse on the edge of a spit was built in 1910 and could be seen to every one who gets back from sea travels.

Other attractions[edit]

  • Golden Horn bridge. Cable-stayed 2.1km (1.30 mi) long bridge across the Golden horn bay.
  • The bridge to the Russkiy island across Eastern Bosphorus strait. The world’s largest cable-stayed bridge, 3.1km (1.93 mi)long.
  • Marine cemetery (Морское кладбище) (at the city south near Patrokl bay). The memorials and tombs of Czechoslovak legion, British and Japanese military men, Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev and seafarer Fridolf Gek.
  • Marine Museum TINRO (Владивостокский океанариум «Аквамир»), 4, Batareinaya St (Go to Sportivnaya Harbor). M 11AM-6PM, Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. RUB200.

Do[edit]

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.

  • Dinamo Stadiumul Batareynaya, just off Sportivnaya Harbor. Home of FC Luch-Energia Vladivostok, who play in the Russian Premier League of professional soccer (or down in the First Division, as their fortunes go).
  • SK Olimpiets. Home of Spartak Primorje, who play in the Russian Super League of professional basketball.

Events[edit]

  • Every September, golden season by balneological standards, the city holds the Pacific Meridian International Film Festival and welcomes Russian cinematographic beaumond and often first stars from the West like Gérard Depardieu.
  • International Jazz Festival — Vladivostok, organized by Vladivostok Philarmony.
  • Every last Sunday of September - Tiger's day

Learn[edit]

  • The Far Eastern National University is one of the top five Russian universities and has over 35,000 students. It offers Russian courses online [4] for foreigners at US$200 a credit or on campus.

There are also Japanese, Korean, German, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian centers in the university.

  • Japanese center in Vladivostok offers Japanese language course and business seminars.

Buy[edit]

There's a GUM (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.

  •    Mir Pryazhi (World of Yarn), 10 Semyonovskaya St (off Aleutskaya St),  +7 4232 220640. 11AM-6PM daily. A nice place to buy local crafts (handmade jewellery, knitwear, porcelain beads). The shop also sells yarn and handcraft items.

Eat[edit]

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

  • Fudo (Фудо), 5 Mordovtseva St (City center),  254-54-50. Su-Th 11PM-00AM, Fr-Sa 11PM-2AM. Sushi-bar. Free wi-fi 500-700RUB.
  • Osama Sushi (Осама-суши), 13 Praporschika Komarova St (City center, Praporschika Komarova/Krayevaya Bolnitsa bus stops, on the hill slope between them),  +7 423 230-20-22, e-mail: . Mo-Su 12AM-00AM, Fr-Sa 12AM-02AM. Pan-Asian restaurant, Japanese and Korean cuisine. Nice sushi and fantastic bibimbap, sake and soju available. 1000-1500RUB.
  • Saigon (Кафе Сайгон), 23 Posyetskaya St (City center, one block up from the Vladivostok Station),  +7 423 200-52-80. Mo-Th 11AM-11PM Fr-Su 11AM-01AM. Vietnamese cafe, on the cheaper side, but nice cuisine, large portions, genuine Vietnamese chef 500-600RUB.
  • Green cafe56 Svetlanskaya St 70-17-53, e-mail: . Mo-Fr 09AM-09PM; Sa, Su 10AM-21AM. Silent lounge music, soft sofas. 1000RUB.
  • Belle Bazar6/25, 1st Morskaya St (A quarter away from the railway station). 10AM-08AM. Home-style atmosphere. European dishes. 400-1000RUB.
  • ClassMordovtseva St (City center a few steps from Semyonovskaya). School class styled cafe with a blackboard on the wall and desks for tables. European food, pizza, a lot of sweets.
  • cafe Cuckoo1A Okeanskiy Prospect (city centre, near the overseas passenger terminal and main city square),  +7 4232 995858. 10AM-2AM daily. This restaurant offers contemporary European cuisine. The head chef, Adriano Cavalieri, came from Melbourne, Australia. There is outdoor and indoor seating for approximately 100 people.
  • cafe Moloko & Med (Milk & Honey)6A Suhanova St (city centre, opposite Suhanova square),  +7 4232 589090. midnight-3AM daily. European cuisine in a very nice and stylish atmosphere very popular with foreigners and expats. Staff speaks English and an English-language menu is available. There is also a selection of Russian dishes on the menu. There are outdoor and indoor seating areas.
  • Hans25a, Fokina st (city centre),  +7 423 240-68-75. German food and house-brewed beer of three colors: red, light and dark served in medieval setting. The first floor is a fireplace hall, the second floor is made for dance and filled with live music. Comprises 60 and 100 visitors respectively. RUB1,000-1,500.
  • München3, Svetlanskaya st (city centre, from the central square to Naberezhnaya, down in the basement),  +7 423 241-34-54, e-mail: . German food and house-brewed wheat beer of three colors: red, light and dark served in a quasi-medieval setting just like in Hans. RUB1,000-1,500.
  • Le Rouge23, Svetlanskaya St (city centre),  +7 4232 733-737. Tu-Th noon-2AM, F-Su daily. Red colonial French style, low tables and sofas, hooka-bar and chill-out music. On weekends open dance-floor. RUB500-1,000.
  • bar «Drugoe mesto» (Bar «PlaceDifferent»), Fokina st., 16a (City centre, just steps away from main city square),  +74232408143. noon-02AM. Nice little bar filled with strange & interesting artefacts from all over the world. Good cuisine - mostly european. Perfect coffee. Desserts & ice-cream. Wide variety of drinks & cocktails. Staff speaks english. RUB500-1000.

Fast food[edit]

Magic Burger, Cinnabon, Royal Burger, Bubo, Bite Burger, RestoGrad (РестоГрад), Country Fried Chicken, restaurant network Republic (Республика) could be easily hit in the center.

Drink[edit]

  •    club Cuckoo1A Okeanskiy Prospect (Centre, near the overseas passenger terminal and main square),  +7 423 299-58-58. F Sa 11PM-6AM. The most glamorous night club in the city. There can be very strict rules of who's let in but foreigners usually pass, just speak English. Hosts the best parties in town, including DJs from Moscow and London. ticket RUB500 at door; drinks RUB150-350.
  • Cafe Presto15 Svetlanskaya St (city centre, opposite the Central Sq). A self-service café with European prices.
  • Chaplin (Чаплин), 56 Svetlanskaya St Call 26-46-86 for a table. Disco music, a bar and a dance-floor.

Sleep[edit]

Dorms[edit]

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.

Hostels[edit]

Hotels[edit]

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.

  • Yakor77 Kirova St +7 4232 31-28-56. Cheap, new rooms with ocean view and free parking. English isn't spoken, but the staff are accustomed to foreign visitors. Located in Vtoraya Rechka region of Vladivostok, which is about 10-15 minutes away from the centre. Close to the shopping center and public transportation.
  • Hotel Hyundai29 Semenovskaya St +7 4232 40-22-33fax: +7 4232 40-70-08. The height of luxury in Vladivostok, with full business facilities, swimming pool and fitness center, bar, casino, and restaurant on-site. Rooms have satellite TV and air conditioning. Online booking is available. From RUB6000.
  • Hotel Vladivostok10 Naberezhnaya St +7 4232 41-28-08fax: +7 4232 41-20-21. Budget and somewhat more upscale rooms, with Wi-Fi and a buffet breakfast; there's a restaurant on-site. Online booking available (with limited Russian). About a ten minute walk from the train station. It's quite an ugly building from the outside, but one side faces a nice view to the sea. Rooms are being progressively renovated, so standards vary. The hotel is now jointly managed under the Azimut brand along with the former Hotel Amursky Zaliv nearby - see the entry for "Hotel Azimut". From RUB2,200.
  • Hotel Azimut9 and 10, Naberezhnaya St +7 4232 46 20 90fax: +7 4232 41 20 21, e-mail: . This is the new name for Hotel Vladivostok. If you are going for a cheaper room, definitely opt for the Amur Bay building, the rooms are much better. Note that the Amur Bay building has an unusual rooftop entrance, quite difficult to (find or) access with the construction turmoil as at July 2011. RUB2,500-8,300.
  • Vlad Inn#35, 8-th St Sanatornaya +7 4232 38-88-88fax: +1 508 590-2432. Reservations can be made online. They offer a free pickup service from the airport. It's a Western-managed hotel with English-speaking staff. Also has a very well-reviewed restaurant on premises. To reach the Vlad Inn, take an elektrichka (commuter train) out to Sanaturnaya (approximately six stops outbound from the Vladivostok train station). From there, it is a short walk.
  • Meridian5 Ochakovskaya St +7 4232 650-444, e-mail: . An experienced tourist can take a taxi and get to the opposite shore of Golden Horn bay according to the hotel site's map. Sauna and restaurant are nice additions to accomodation. From $50 for a standard room up to $400 for a VIP room.
  • Equator20 Naberezhnaya St (close to Sportivnaya Harbor),  +7 4232 41-12-54fax: +7 4232 41-13-84, e-mail: . Located in proximity to the city center. Free wi-fi. RUB2,100 for a single economy room.

Stay safe[edit]

A few roads can only be crossed by poorly-lit underground passageways, which can be a bit nerve-wracking 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.

Connect[edit]

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.

The Vladivostok News and Vladivostok Times provide online English-language news.

Phones[edit]

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

Internet[edit]

Internet-cafes[edit]

  • Interface (Интерфейс), 8, Semyonovskaya St (close to the Dynamo stadium). day and night.
  • Monte-Carlo5a and 18, Fokina St (city center). day and night. Internet-salon

Free wi-fi locations in the city center[edit]

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

  • Cafe "Fint ushami" (Финт ушами), 9 Svetlanskaya St
  • Cafe "Cafetoria", 61 Svetlanskaya St
  • Cafe "Anticafe", 5 Svetlanskaya St
  • Cafe "Montmartre" (Монмартр), 9/6 Svetlanskaya St
  • Cafe "Rock's Coctail Bar", 7 Svetlanskaya St
  • Eatery №1, KofeYka (Столовая №1, КофеЙка), 1 Svetlanskaya St
  • Cafe "Pustota (Пустота)", 3 Fokina St
  • Cafe "Paparazzi", 3 Fokina St
  • Cafe-club "Infinity", 12 Fokina St
  • Semyonovskaya bus-stop (Семёновская)
  • Coffee-house "Oahaka" (Оахака),21 Semyonovskaya St
  • Cafe "3T", 32 Semyonovskaya St
  • Cafe "Wasabi", 30 Semyonovskaya St
  • Cafe "Myatniy Truffel" (Мятный Трюфель),11 Aleutskaya St
  • Hotel "Moryak", 38 Pos'yetskaya St
  • Cafe "Pizza M", 20 Pos'yetskaya St
  • Beer restaurant "Gutov", 23 Pos'yetskaya St
  • Cafe "Belle Bazar", 6/25, 1st Morskaya St
  • Cafe "Moloko&Med (Молоко и Мёд)", 6a Suhanova St

Cope[edit]

Consulates[edit]

Tour Agencies[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • The Trans-Siberian Railway will be the means of exit by most, either heading west towards Moscow or into China. The next major stop is the Russian city of Khabarovsk, some 700 km (435 mi) off. Smaller Ussuriysk may be an interesting city for eager traveller as well as a connection point to China. As a side trip visit Nakhodka.
  • Russkiy Island (Остров 'Русский'), the closest and the largest island connected by ferry, is a nice place for both swimming and sun-bathing or biking on the gravel roads as an alternative to the city's beach. Discover the disfunctionning artillery, 'Voroshilovskaya Battery' (Ворошиловская батарея), the former Soviet defensive complex, now a museum in the center of the island. Listed in Guiness Book.
Routes through Vladivostok
KhabarovskUssuriysk  W Trans-Siberian Railway icon.png E  END


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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