January 19, 2011

To Russia with Love

Communism. Dark and cold. That is the impression most people have on Russia. Lil sis got scholarship offer to study medic in Russia years ago but she turned it down. The reason being, she was to be the pioneer batch and we didn’t know how Russian education system was. While for me, Russia was never on the list of countries that I wanna visit. There wasn’t so much tourism promotion on the country and I am more attracted to go to the other part of the world.

But both of us finally stepped foot on the Russian land, thanks to our eldest sister. She was posted in Moscow overseeing a project for almost half a year. Being good lil sisters that we are, we paid her a visit, and came back here with a different view on the country.

And as an added bonus, we can read Russian now! *proud face*  We were lost in translation during our 1st 2~3 days in Moscow. Everything there is in Russian; the signage at the train stations, the menu in the restaurants etc. There are people who can speak English, especially in the touristy area but their words are limited, so you have no choice but learn the basic conversation and the Cyrillic alphabet to survive the city.

But I guess it’s an easy language to learn as my sister can speak the language after a few months she was there. So, learning from her book, slowly we managed to understand and finally we can read everything Russian. Just read la but we didn’t understand the meaning. Hahahha… I remembered every time we went outside, we would try to spell and read out loud every words we saw, and felt so good when we succeeded! It’s like we managed to overcome one hurdle of the city. I even told lil sis, when we went back to Malaysia, we could use it as our code when we wanna communicate something secret.

Since not many people have explored Russia, I’ll be your angel in guiding you to go there.

I used the hard way, which means I did everything on my own (with the help of my sis of course). Firstly, you need a tourist voucher. This is compulsory. As my sister was in Moscow that time, she asked the local travel agency there to provide them for us. 

Price is 2700 ruble per person, but it might vary according to each travel agency. You can refer here for the online application. However, I don't guarantee that. Once you get the voucher, you can head to the embassy at Jalan Ampang for the visa application.

The steps are easy. Fill in a questionnaire form (you can get it from the embassy), attach 2 passport photos, pay either RM200 for 5 days processing or RM500 for same day processing. And wait for it.

Note: The visa fees and the application form on the website is not updated.

The easy way, of course, just ask someone to do it for you. I asked a local travel agency in KL and they charge RM500+ for 5 days processing and RM700+ for same day processing (forgot the exact amount already) which includes the travel voucher. You also have to take note that not all travel agencies handle this Russian visa. The travel agency I called was recommended by the embassy (again sorry I forgot to take the details). Just call the embassy for the info, they’ll be happy to help.

When everything's ready, pack your bag and say bye bye to KL...

and... hello Moscow!


Ernie Khairina said...

omg..i so wanna go. more pic please hehe

aziahmk said...

huwaaa.......nak pegi jugak moscow!!!

fatt said...

the thought about Russia came across my mind yesterday as i was thinking about the 2nd trip to China, and the visa is quite $$$$ hahaha...will wait for your next entry to find out what's interesting about the country :)

rara said...

ernie: ok ok.. wait for my entries :D

kak monik: insya allah one day sure sampai sana :)

fatt: pegi russia! dari repeat negara yang dah pergi, baik pergi tempat yang belum pergi. hehe..

dannie chOOng said...

how much did you budget yourself or used up on said trip ? number of days and lodging cost ? is it safe for backpacker traveller to go where you've been ?

rara said...

dannie: there's a lot of hostels around moscow. so it shouldn't be a problem for backpacker. and it's safe :)