Saturday, November 07, 2020

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine

The last phase of my almost a month 2nd Wave of Pandemic Adventure
October 16 to October 24, 2020

My 113th country visited on my journey beyond #lakbay100, 92nd solo backpacking trip36th country in Europe and of course and usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure. I did not research that much for this country due also on limited time and laziness.

Ukraine takes its roots from the establishment of the East Slavic state Kyivan Rus (IX-XIII centuries). Since then, Ukraine preserved its geographical location, capital and national customs (including Kyivan Rus state emblem). Ukraine first declared its sovereignty from the Soviet Union in July 1990 (And also in 1918). Following the results of a referendum in 1991 which indicated overwhelming popular support, the Ukraine's Parliament declared its Independence Day 24 August 1991.

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine

timezone - UTC +0300H    capital - Kiev    language - Ukrainian    currency - Hryvnia (UAH)
visa - need to apply first before travel

1. Ukraine is the largest state in Europe 
2. Unlike many cultures around the world, Ukrainians wear wedding rings on the right hand not the left.
3. The popular Easter egg tradition originated in Ukraine.
4. McDonald’s in Kiev is reportedly one of the busiest in the world.

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine


Flight New York to Kiev via AMS 498 AED
Flight Kiev to Abu Dhabi via FRA 832 AED
Train Bookings (Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, Poltava) via Proizd mobile app 272 AED
TOTAL: 2,125 AED

Day 0: October 15, 2020 Thursday / Ukraine flight
1409H ETA New York UTC -0400H; 4hr transit $10
1845H ETD New York; flight KL642
TOTAL: $10

Day 1: October 16, 2020 Friday / Ukraine arrival
0800H ETA Amsterdam UTC +0200H; 1 hr transit
0930H ETD Amsterdam; flight KL1385
1315H ETA Kiev KBP UTC +0300H
Money Exchanger ($1=24 UAH) $100 = 2,400 AUH
Buy Sim Card 12 GB (1 mo) 325
Airport Bus 322 to Train Station (last stop) 10
Short walk tour; KFC dinner 128; Refreshments 70
1830H ETD Kyiv Pasazhyrsky; 9.5 hr travel

0342H ETA Lviv; look for locker 35
Lviv day tour (17 hours) 
McDonald's breakfast 92; KFC lunch 82; Refreshments 40
2115H ETA Lviv train station
2141H ETD Lviv; 12.5 hr travel

1004H ETA Odesa Holovna; look for locker 35
Odesa day tour (12 hours) $100 = 2,830 UAH
McDonald's breakfast 93; snacks / dinner 386
2223H ETD Odesa Holovna; 9 hr travel

0710H ETA Kyiv Pasazhyrsky; KFC 79
0800H ETD Kiev; Chernobyl day tour 2,500; With lunch and Geiger counter
2000H ETA Kiev; metro to Teatralna 20
Enjoy Hostel 5N 575 UAH
TOTAL: 3,174 UAH

0530H ETD Hostel; McDonald's breakfast 110
0645H ETD Kyiv Pasazhyrsky
0952H ETA Poltava Kyivska
Poltava day tour (9 hours); snacks 174
1943H ETD Poltava Kyivska
2300H ETA Kyiv Pasazhyrsky; metro to Teatralna

7th nasal/oral swab in 11 weeks PCR Test (96 hr)
ESCULAB (7am-6pm) 1,350
Kiev city tour ($60 = 1,698 UAH); KFC breakfast 103; beer nights 68
TOTAL: 1,521 UAH

0700H ETD Hostel; metro to Lisova Station 10
0730H ETD Kiev; van to Chernihiv 100
Chernihiv day tour ($20 = 560 UAH)
McDonald's breakfast 93; lunch 92
1430H ETD Chernihiv; van to Kiev 100
1630H ETA Kiev; Afternoon tour; dinner 68
Metro to Teatralna; Enjoy Hostel; Beer nights 80

0730H ETD Hostel; walk to Eskulab for PCR cert
McDonald's breakfast 65; lunch 93; dinner 175
2200H ETD Enjoy Hostel; walk to Kiev Train Station
2300H ETA Kiev Train Station; Airport Express 80

Day 9: October 24, 2020 Saturday / Departure flight
0004H ETD Kiev Train Station
0100H ETA Kiev Airport KBP
0655H ETD Kiev UTC +0300H; flight LH1493
0840H ETA Frankfurt UTC +0200H; 5 hr transit
1450H ETD Frankfurt; flight EY008
2305H ETA Abu Dhabi +0400H

GRAND TOTAL: 7,401 UAH ($280) + $10 + 2,125 AED ($579) = $869

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine

9 Days Solo Backpacking Trip in Autumn Ukraine


1. Before travel, ensure that your country of departure (not your nationality) is allowed to enter all the airports and countries you intend to visit. I cross-validate this information through the following websites: the airline website, travelbans.orgIATA, and covidcontrols

2. Cross-check also that your country of destination is in the Green Zone or manageable Red Zone through the following websites: and Ukraine has their own classification and fortunately, Philippines is in the Green Zone.

3. The major shield I have to protect myself against the virus is that I was one of more than 15,000 volunteers of UAEs Covid-19 Phase III Inactivated Trial Vaccine. I completed the Seven Weeks Program. Of course, this is a gamble, the possibility is still in my mind. As usual, I did not avail any travel insurance unless the country of destination is requiring me to have it.

4. One of the surprising spontaneous trip I had, I just decided only to push this adventure when I was in the Abu Dhabi Airport boarding gate going to Philippines. The Airline Check-in staff gave me the idea to go to US since she told me that only those who enter the US are required to undergo 14-days quarantine. Furthermore, I did not bring my real backpacking stuff which is an added challenge. My Ukraine trip was forced to include after my Caribbean as this was my only window of opportunity.

5. is the main website for all Ukraine tourism facts during this pandemic period. Before travel, ensure the updated rules for county of departure on Red and Green Zone. If coming from Green Zone country of origin, Ukraine-accredited travel insurance is required which can be found on this link also (negative PCR test result is not). If coming from Red Zone as transit, negative PCR test result is still not required. If coming from Red Zone, then PRINTED  negative PCR test result is required.

6. Ukraine's mandatory protocol is wearing mask in airport, supermarkets and public transportation with body temperature check. In public, almost no one wears mask. They have growing Covid-19 cases so ensure to observe social distancing and sanitizing. Negative PCR test result is required only depending on the airline and country of destination.

7. Ukraine cost of tourist living is cheaper compared to mainland Europe.

8. Since it is very hard to find English-speaking Ukrainian, I bought simcard (Kyivstar) in Kiev Airport 350 UAH ($12) with one-month validity load of 12 GB data and 60 min local calls. This is very handy when on a night train, self-guided walks, map navigation and social media interaction.

9. Chernobyl daily tours on this website should be booked minimum of 2 days prior the intended date.

10. I booked all my train tickets using the android mobile app Proizd, payment using credit card. Train conductors need the QR code during the ride. Body temp of less than 37'C and mask is required inside train.


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