So you want to travel to Ukraine. That’s good. You want to use Ukrainian Railways. It’s good but with this guide it can be even better!
Be sure to check my “Getting to Ukraine on a budget: practical guide” article for ways to reach Ukraine.
Okay let’s start our Ukrainian Railways Guide.
Buying a train ticket in Ukraine
First thing’s first, to get from point A to point B in Ukraine you need a train and a ticket.
Tickets can be bought:
in the cash desks at railway stations
- if you speak Ukrainian or Russian that’s a good choice as well. But if you don’t.. just stick to the online booking, ok? Knowledge of English among Ukrainian Railways employees is, let’s say, “can read with a dictionary” = elementary. If you still want to go the hard way, prepare some basic Ukrainian/Russian phrases beforehand and write down the date and the time of train you want somewhere.
online through http://booking.uz.gov.ua/
- believe me, you really want to buy tickets online in Ukraine. Let’s go step by step.
Step 1 – Go to http://booking.uz.gov.ua/en/
Step 2 – Choose the From, To and Departure Date:
We’ll use the classic destination from Lviv to Kyiv. Be sure to click and choose the city from the list after typing it in. You’ll get the following:
Step 3 – Hit that “Search for trains” button
You will be see the list of available trains for the date you entered:
By clicking the Train Number you can open the details of the train route. For example, the train 112Л goes like this (Л – is the letter of Ukrainian alphabet that corresponds to “L” if you wandered):
Step 4 – Choosing the cabin type
So there are different types of trains in Ukraine and different types of cabins.
As for the trains you have:
- Interсity+ – the best of the best. IC trains that are quick, comfortable and don’t stop in every Ukrainian village. If you have an option to choose Intercity – just do that! Always! In Intercities you unsurprisingly have:
- C1 – first class seats
- C2 – second class seats.
- Night Trains – legendary Soviet-style night trains. You may love it, you may hate it (I personally am closer to second one) but they still remain the main way of transportation between Ukrainian cities. As Ukraine is a huge country and Intercity trains don’t go everywhere, that’s what you get. I will write a separate article on night trains, but today you should know the difference between different coaches. Again let’s take the train 112Л and you see the following:
These mysterious letters stand for different types of coaches, namely:
- Л (as I said “L” in Latin) – stands for “Люкс” (“Luks” in Ukrainian) and it is the “Suite/First-Class Sleeper”. It is the two-bed cabin. It is a pricy option but it is a bit more comfortable than the other cabin types. Ukrainian Railways site gives us the following images of this cabin:
- К (K is K in Latin) – stands for “Купе” (“Kupe” in Ukrainian) and Wikipedia translates it as a “corridor coach“. On Ukrainian Railways website it goes by the name “Coupe / Coach With Compartments“. This is what majority of Ukrainians buy when on sleeper trains. This is what I always buy. Cabins there are separated and contain 4 beds each. Again let’s see what pictures Ukrainian Railways prepared for us:
yeah, guys, that’s how it looks like
- П (corresponds to “P” in Latin) – stands for “Плацкарт” (“Platskart” in Ukrainian) and stands for “Berth/Third-Class Sleeper”. My advice: please, don’t buy ticket for this one! Just don’t. Spend more money for K. I travelled only once in Platskart. In my whole life. It is a big coach without walls where everybody technically sleeps with everybody. No security, minimum comfort. If you’re not convinced enough yet, let’s take a look at the pics:
Step 5 – Choosing the place
You should click on the “choose” button. Let’s do it with the train 112Л and with K type of cabin:
You can choose between different couches. Remember this:
- Even numbers – are the upper beds
- Odd numbers – are the lower beds
Let’s click on place 38:
Now to book a ticket you need to fill in necessary info. If you don’t want tea – untick it. Student discount just works for Ukrainian students. After everything is filled in, click Add to cart.
Step 6 – Payment
After you click add to cart you see this:
Note: if you have the Boarding pass sign before “Train” then you can just print out the ticket and show it when entering the train. If you don’t have it – then you will have to change the printout that will be sent to your email at any cash desk of Ukrainian Railways. Kind of confusing, but I can assure you that majority of trains will be bookable online.
After that you just hit pay, agree to the contract, pay with your credit card and voila – you have the ticket sent to your email!
Thank you for reading!
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