Both, taxi payment by the hour and by the kilometer, are widespread in Vladivostok. An average tariff for taxi services within the city is 5 - 7,5 € per hour, and then - 2,5 € per every 20 minutes. The average cost of taxi ride outside the city (in Primorsky Krai) is 25 € per hour. In case of payment by the kilometer, taxi services cost 0,5 € per kilometer; at that, the minimum sum of order is 6 € (up to 3 km). The cost of taxi ride also depends on the number of people per auto.
Note that it is more profitable to take a taxi with payment by the hour at rush-hours, when the vehicles often have to stand in traffic jams. If you need to travel at night, when the roads are free, or at close range it is better to take a taxi with payment by the kilometer.
Be careful when choosing a taxi cab. We exhort you to use only legal taxis and not to get in car to private carriers, as it's not just a question of money, but of your safety, too. In addition, always keep in mind the tariffs and don't allow short-changing you. For instance, the average cost of taxi ride from the city core to the airport is 25-30 €. A ride in opposite direction (from the airport to the city core) might be 10 € more expensive.
Prices in catering establishments in Vladivostok are pretty high and are not very different from the ones in Moscow. Thus, in a cafe or at a fast-food restaurant you may eat for 10 - 13 €. Average bill at the economy-class restaurant makes up 20-25 €, at the middle-class restaurant - 35-45 €. The cost of dinner at the elite restaurant will be higher - from 80 € up to several hundred Euros.
The most affordable alcoholic drink is beer - 1,5 - 2 € per litter. Homebrewed beer costs 5 - 10 € per 0,5 litter. Average bill at the beer bar makes up 15 €.
The standard world practice to leave tips in restaurants, bars and hotels isn't wide spread in Vladivostok, the same as in whole Russia, yet. It's up to customer whether to tip service personnel - for instance, at the restaurant, - or not. At that, the common level of compensation is from 5 to 10 % of the check amount. Consider that in some facilities tips might be included in the bill (in most cases - 5% of the check amount). Tips are generally uncommon in taxis and at hairdresser's.
Vladivostok offers various accommodation options - from popular among youth hostels to hotels with superior comfort, but cost of living in Primorye capital is hardly affordable. Thus, the night in a hostel costs about 30 - 40 €. Double room with breakfast included at the middle-class hotel is 90 - 120 € per night, Suite is 120 - 150 € per night. In addition, in anticipation of the APEC summit, two five-star hotel complexes of the world famous chain Hyatt were opened in Vladivostok.
National currency of Russia is ruble, RUB (original abbreviation is rub.). One Russian ruble equals 100 kopecks. There are coins at par value of 5, 10 and 50 kopecks (1 kopeck is very rare) and of 1, 2, 5 and 10 rubles in circulation. Banknotes at par value of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rubles are in free circulation and are issued.
You may exchange currency for Russian rubles at any bank or currency exchange office in Vladivostok. US Dollars and Euros are accepted for exchange most often. You may also exchange Japanese Yens and Chinese Yuans without problems here. Most banks place no commission on currency exchange, in some banks and currency exchange offices it can constitute up to 3 % from the sum of exchange. Consider that, as a rule, old and damaged banknotes are not accepted for exchange.
In private exchange offices exchange ratio is usually more beneficial than in banks, as well as at the airports, railway stations and in popular tourist centers. Be careful and don't exchange money in the streets and with individuals: firstly, it is illegal, and secondly, there is a high probability to swallow the bait of swindlers.
Although the most widespread form of payment in Vladivostok is cash, large hotels, restaurants and malls often accept credit cards: usually Visa and MasterCard. But there might be problems when paying with American Express and Diners Club cards, while these paying systems are not spread enough in Russia.
Cash machines can be found at the airport, train station and sea terminal, in the foyers of many hotels, in supermarkets and just in the streets. Be careful when withdrawing money at the ATM in the street, if possible use ATMs located in crowded places, or better use terminals installed in banks.
Most ATMs are designed for Russian national currency - ruble. However, there are also cash machines, where you may withdraw needed sum in US Dollars.
You can cash traveler’s checks in a number of city banks in Vladivostok. Consider that Russian banks generally operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and apply banking commission of 2-3% for this transaction, which makes using traveler’s checks disadvantageous.
In Vladivostok, the same as in whole Russia, banks usually accept American Express checks issued in US Dollars. Local banks work with Thomas Cook checks less often.
Remember that you can’t pay with traveler’s checks in Russia, but only cash them in a bank.