Date of Visit: July, 2018 (World Cup Games!)
Visa to enter Russia: Yes, needed!
For the time of the world cup, there was the option to apply for a FAN ID if you are going to attend any of the worldcup games. To my luck, I applied for a FAN ID which waived the need for getting a visa for the time of the trip.
For anytime other than the world cup, for Kuwaiti Passport Holder, there is a Russian Embassy in Kuwait in which you could directly apply through. I heard, they need an invitation to Russia; contact your hotel and have them send you an invitation letter so you could apply in the embassy for the visa.
International Flights to Russia
I’m sure there are many options so I would advise you to look online for the best option for you suitable with your budget. Myself, I went on Qatar Airways to Moscow, and back from St Petersburg to Kuwait. Personally, I try to find flights on QA for miles purposes and service.
Flight status: I hated the flights/plane models I was on for either going to Moscow or coming back from St Petersburg. One of them -cant remember which- was really old, small, and uncomfortable. So if you care about this, check the plane model before booking the trip.
Domestic Flights in Russia
- S7 Airlines
Russia, the world’s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans.
Russia’s capital, Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod.
Moscow has three International airports and you get from/to each of them by taxi, fast train or public transport.
Hotel recommendations in Moscow:
- Four Seasons Moscow
- Ritz Carlton Moscow
- Hotel Metropol
- Hotel de Paris
- Kitay Gorod Hotel
- Blues Hotel
Things to do/see in Moscow:
- The Kremlin & St Basil’s church (Red Square Area)
- GUM SHOPPING MALL (Very impressive!)
- TSUM SHOPPING
- Arbat Street (I wasn’t very impressed by it)
- GORKY PARK
- Bolshoi theatre
- River Cruise Radisson Blu
- Moscow Metro and Underground Tour
- Ostankinskaya TV tower
- Cathedral Square
- VDNKH (open air free museum)
- Moscow International Business Center (also knowns as Moskva city)
- BUNKER 42 (COLD WAR MUSEUM)
- Moscow Rooftop Tour: https://www.sputnik8.com/en/moscow/activities/811-moscow-roof-top-tour-access-to-the-roof
- Twin Gardens (Russian Cuisine)
- Cafe Pushkin (Russian Cuisine, Excellent! I tried it for lunch)
- Dr zhrivago (Breakfast)
- Uilliams (Breakfast)
- Ritz Carlton o2 rooftop
- Four seasons 48 italian restaurant (pizza & burrata)
- Market place bar (breakfast – lunch)
- WHITE RABBIT (recommended but I heard its overrated – I have not tried it)
- VOUGE CAFE
- CHICHA BAR MOSCOW (PERUVIAN RESTAURANT)
- IL PIZZAIOLO
- MARI VANNA
- RUSKI RESTAURANT
- BOLSHOI THEATRE
- Beluga bar (caviar)
- Severyane for breakfast
PS. I tried and not recommend Lavka Lavka, the food was below average.
Loved so much and appreciated the weather during the time of the river cruise.. It was nice seeing the sights from the cruise, and booked it in a cabin where food was served as well so I had the chance to have a good lunch with a great view! highly recommended! .. Weather situation at that point was sunny 22 degrees! Perfection.
2. St Petersburg
St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea. It was the imperial capital for 2 centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great
Hotel Recommendations in St Petersburg:
- Four Seasons St Petersburg
- Azimut Hotel
- Akyan Hotel (good rooms, average service)
Things to do/see in St Petersburg:
- The Hermitage (SUPER LONG LINES! BOOK AHEAD)
- St Isaac’s Cathedral
- Canal cruise
- Kazan Cathedral
- Checkout town of Pushkin
- Peterhof Fountain Park
- Imperial Palace
- Attend a Ballet show (book ahead)
- Duo asia
- Duo (only)
- Sin toho (Asian, Excellent! At the Four Seasons)
- BGL Bagels (breakfast)
- Doris Day Coffee
I left Sochi till the end in this review, but in order it was the second we visited due to the game we’ve attended. If it wasn’t for the game, knowing what I know today, I would not have wasted any time in Sochi (unless you’re really curious about it..)
I did not like Sochi much (clearly). If you have no special occasion to be there, It wouldn’t be my first choice. That said, it is a cute city, where from you could go to the beach or even the mountain (one hour away). Had I tried the mountains and other sights, I might’ve changed my mind.. but only from what I saw, not so much there.
- No one speaks English. No, no one speaks English. Menus are not in English (very very very few if any). Uber drivers don’t speak English. Taxis don’t speak English. SO: you might want to invest in buying an internet/sim card the minute you arrive to sort out the translate app you’ll be using along the trip. This was the most surprising thing for me given it was the world cup, so it is expected to have international visitor from around the world. With that in mind, no one spoke english.
I’ve used Google Translate App through out the whole trip; to translate menus, to speak with people, to check-in into hotels, to order food…. everything. (no joke!)
- There is a currency exchange at the airport. Get with you Euros, and exchange upon arrival. (Both USDs and Euros are accepted I heard, but I used Euros and converted them into RUBs).