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Vladivostok

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Travel Guide Europe Russia Far Eastern Russia Vladivostok

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Introduction

Vladivostok is a Russian port city on the Pacific Ocean, and is Russia's largest port. It is the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and with 600,000 inhabitants, it is the second largest city in the Russian Far East, after Khabarovsk.

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, Russkiy Island, by Eastern Bosphorous strait; there are 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.

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Sights and Activities

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.

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.

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Weather

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.

January is cold at -14 °C, and August is fairly warm at 24 °C, 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 °C, 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.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-8.8 °C-5.9 °C1.7 °C9.1 °C14.7 °C17 °C21 °C23 °C19.1 °C12.4 °C2.8 °C-5.5 °C
Avg Min-16.3 °C-13.7 °C-5.6 °C1.3 °C6.4 °C10.6 °C15.4 °C17.4 °C12.5 °C5.2 °C-4.2 °C-12.5 °C
Rainfall15 mm19 mm25 mm54 mm61 mm100 mm124 mm153 mm126 mm66 mm38 mm18 mm
Rain Days334781111107643

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Getting There

By Plane

Vladivostok International Airport (VVO) offers a number of flights, including to/from Moscow, Beijing, Harbin, Pyongyang, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, St Petersburg, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Kamchatka, Sakhalinsk, Jekaterinenburg, Yakutsk, Busan, Hanoi, Anchorage and Krasnoyarsk.

By Train

Vladivostok is the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Tickets for the Trans-Siberian Railway sell out and it is best to buy tickets well in advance. Tickets are sold by the operator as well as via agencies and resellers.

The main line of the Trans-Siberian Railway runs between Moscow and Vladivostok. The Rossiya train leaves every other day from Moscow at 13:20 and from Vladivostok at 4:25, while the slower but cheaper trains #43 or #99 leave Vladivostok every day around 18:56. Major stops from Vladivostok include Ulan Ude (62-67 hours), Irkutsk (81 hours), Krasnoyarsk (99 hours), Novosibirsk (113 hours), Omsk (121 hours), Yekaterinburg (134 hours), Nizhni Novgorod (5 days), and Moscow (6 days).

By Car

Vladivostok is not only the eastern end of the Trans-Siberian railway, but of the Trans-Siberian Highway as well. The ferry from the South Korea and Japan seem to carry cars and motorcycles, although they are not roll on-roll off ships like e.g. ferries in Europe and there is some bureaucracy involved transporting cars from one country to another. You can get in from China by road as well, for example via the Suifenhe border crossing.

By Bus

Bus tickets can be bought at the bus station in Vladivostok or from ticket agencies. Buses operate to/from most suburban locations and nearby towns. International routes link Vladivostok to cities in Northeastern China such as Harbin (RUB2,400, 12+ hours; daily at 6:20AM), Mudanjiang, and Suifenhe (RUB1,900).

It takes about 5 hours to get to Vladivostok from the Chinese border, and the road goes through one of the most picturesque areas of the Russian Far East.

By Boat

Ferries run to both Japan and South Korea.

From July to October a ferry* runs twice a week to Fushiki, near Toyama. Prices go from $230 US (including meals) and higher for the forty-plus hour trip outside the cabin on the deck ($330 US return). Cabins start at $530 US one way and $804 US return. For tickets, go to the ferry terminal, third floor.

  • This service is currently suspended as of 2018.

Cruise ferry operated by DBS (Korean operator) runs from Sakai-Minato in Japan to Vladivostok via Donghae in Korea once in a week as of 2018.

Ferries run to Sokcho, South Korea and Dong Chun Ferry (Korean only) is the operator.

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Getting Around

By Car

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, largely because the undue leaning on the horn is an actual traffic offence in Russia, and can lead to the pretty hefty fines.

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 Public Transport

Vladivostok has a wide range of transportation, from streetcars to a funicular railway. The trams and trolleybuses, unfortunately, are 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 is talk of reinstating at least some trolleybus routes, and lengthening the network to include some suburban destinations. While the mayor pays some lip service to reinstating trams, too, 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 20 r. ($0.3) for the downtown routes, but go up to 120 r. ($2.0) 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 or the city's train station. Another major bus hubs are the Lugovaya square at the mouth of the Golden Horn bay and the intercity bus station ("Автовокзал") in the Vtoraya Rechka neighborhood.

Most 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.

By Foot

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.

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Eat

  • Fudo (Фудо), 5 Mordovtseva St (City center), ☎ +7 423 254-54-50. Su-Th 23:00-24:00, Fr-Sa 23:00-02:00. Sushi-bar. Free wi-fi 500-700RUB.
  • Osama Sushi (Осама-суши), 13 Praporschika Komarova St (City centre, Praporschika Komarova/Krayevaya Bolnitsa bus stops, on the hill slope between them), ☎ +7 423 230-20-22, e-mail: info@osama-sushi.ru. Mo-Su 12:00-24:00, Fr-Sa 12:00-02:00. Pan-Asian restaurant, Japanese and Korean cuisine. Nice sushi and fantastic bibimbap, sake and soju. 1000-1500RUB.
  • Saigon (Кафе Сайгон), 23 Posyetskaya St (City center, one block up from the Vladivostok Station), ☎ +7 423 200-52-80. Mo-Th 11:00-23:00 Fr-Su 11:00-01:00. Vietnamese cafe, on the cheaper side, but nice cuisine, large portions, genuine Vietnamese chef 500-600RUB.
  • Green cafe, 56 Svetlanskaya St, ☎ +7 4232 70-17-53, e-mail: lazo@green-cafe.ru. Mo-Fr 09:00-21:00; Sa, Su 10:00-21:00. Silent lounge music, soft sofas. 1000RUB.
  • Class, Mordovtseva St (City centre 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 Cuckoo, 1A Okeanskiy Prospect (city centre, near the overseas passenger terminal and main city square), ☎ +7 4232 995858. 10:00-02:00 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. 24:00-03:00 daily. European cuisine in a very nice and stylish atmosphere very popular with foreigners and expats. The staff speak 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.
  • Hans, 25a, Fokina st (city centre), ☎ +7 423 240-68-75. German food and house-brewed beer of three colours: 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.
  • München, 3, Svetlanskaya st (city centre, from the central square to Naberezhnaya, down in the basement), ☎ +7 423 241-34-54, e-mail: 413454@mail.ru. German food and house-brewed wheat beer of three colours: red, light and dark served in a quasi-medieval setting like in Hans. RUB1,000-1,500.
  • Le Rouge, 23, Svetlanskaya St (city centre), ☎ +7 4232 733-737. Tu-Th 12:00-02:00, 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. 12:00-02:00. 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. The staff speak English. RUB500-1000.

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Drink

  • club Cuckoo, 1A Okeanskiy Prospect (Centre, near the overseas passenger terminal and main square), ☎ +7 423 299-58-58. F Sa 11:00pm-6:00am. 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 Presto, 15 Svetlanskaya St (city centre, opposite the Central Sq). A self-service café with European prices.
  • Chaplin (Чаплин), 56 Svetlanskaya St, ☎ +7 4232 26-46-86. Disco music, a bar and a dance-floor

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Sleep

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.

The hotels in the city centre are targets for huge tour groups, who block out availability for weeks on end, so reserve in advance if possible.

  • Neptunea Hostel Vladivostok, 20A/6, Uborevicha St (150 meters left and up from TV center), ☎ +7 (950) 291-47-72, e-mail: neptunea.hostel@gmail.com. 24/7. Hotel located in the city center. Very cheap, newest in the city. Price starts from 500₽.
  • See You Hostel, 42a, Krygina St, ☎ +7 423 242-77-79, e-mail: booking@seeyouhostel.org. It is located in the south of the city. Very cheap but excellent accommodations. Friendly and helpful staff who can arrange tours upon request. Online booking is available.
  • Hostel Optimum, Aleutskaya 17, ☎ +7 423 272 9111, e-mail: 729111@mail.ru.
  • Yakor, 77 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 Hyundai, 29 Semenovskaya St, ☎ +7 4232 40-22-33, fax: +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 Vladivostok, 10 Naberezhnaya St, ☎ +7 4232 41-28-08, fax: +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 Azimut, 9 and 10, Naberezhnaya St, ☎ +7 4232 46 20 90, fax: +7 4232 41 20 21, e-mail: vladivostok@azimuthotels.ru. 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 38-88-88, fax: +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.
  • Meridian, 5 Ochakovskaya St, ☎ +7 4232 650-444, e-mail: info@meridian-vl.ru. 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 accommodations. From $50 for a standard room up to $400 for a VIP room.
  • Equator, 20 Naberezhnaya St (close to Sportivnaya Harbor), ☎ +7 4232 41-12-54, fax: +7 4232 41-13-84, e-mail: office@hotelequator.ru. Located in proximity to the city center. Free wi-fi. RUB2,100 for a single economy room.
  • Versailles (Версаль), 10, Svetlanskaya St (City's center), ☎ +7 4232 26-42-01, fax: +7 4232 26-51-24, e-mail: reservation@versailles.vl.ru. Business-class hotel with single, double, twin, deluxe rooms.

View our map of accommodation in Vladivostok or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Russia is a huge country, and excess to the internet varies a lot. The main cities and tourist places have (free) wifi excess at lots of places, like restaurants and cafes (McDonald's is always a safe bet). Internet cafes are present in larger places as well. Rural areas and especially if you venture into remote and/or mountainous areas have little excess at all. Most travellers will find connections though when using their phone or tablet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The emergency number is 112. The country code for Russia is 7. Russian phone numbers have an area code with three, four or five digits (according to their province), followed by an individual number with, respectively, 7, 6 or 5 digits, always yielding 10 digits in total. The three digit code 800 is used for toll-free calls. Mobile phones always have three-digit "area" codes and seven-digit numbers. Calls within any one area code may omit the area code (except in Moscow). Inter-area code calls within Russia: 8 (wait for tone) full Russian number including area code. The international access code for dialling outwith Russia is the sequence of 8 (wait for secondary tone and then) 10. International calls to Russia, as always, replace the plus sign (+) in the international phone format with the local international access code for the country you're calling from, followed by Russia's country code of 7 followed by the individual Russian phone number including area code.

You will require a SIM-unlocked GSM 900 / 1800 compatible international cell phone when buying a Russian SIM card. If you do not have your own international cell phone, it's best to buy a cheap cell phone with some value on the card. Foreigners can purchase a local SIM card by showing your passport. BeeLine is considered to be the best in terms of reliability and connections quality. However Megafon's services can be a bit cheaper.

Post

Russian Post is the national postal service of Russia. It's English version is currently under construction, but mainly involves the track&trace system. The domestic post is reasonably reliable, and sending international mail is fairly reliable but slow, taking at least a few weeks to European countries, longer to the USA or Australia for example. The delivery of mail sent from abroad to Russia is highly unreliable, and people or companies tend to use foreign adresses, from where a private carrier sends it to Russia. Alternatives like poste restante are non-existent with Russian Post. Most cities and large towns in Russia have a Central Post Office (Glavpochtamt), which also sells stamps and envelopes, and usually has fax services and Internet availability, though the latter mostly not in smaller places. Also, many hotels have postal services, including mail boxes. Post offices tend to keep long hours, usually from 8:00am or 9:00am until 8:00pm or 9:00pm Monday to Friday, and closing earlier during weekends. The main central post offices in the biggest cities keep even longer hours. For sending parcels, you can also try services by DHL Russia and FedEx Russia. For all mail you can use the regular alphabet, though maybe include the country's name in Cyrillic. For sending post to Russia (or trying to receive it) note that addresses should be in reverse order: Russia, postal code, city, street address, name.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 43.1306915
  • Longitude: 131.923828

Accommodation in Vladivostok

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This is version 21. Last edited at 12:11 on Jun 25, 18 by Utrecht. 36 articles link to this page.

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