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Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

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Oroville, California
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Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

I might be going to Poland in summer 2013 June/July, and this is something I've been wanting to do for a while. Make a trip to Bialowieza and then take a day trip to Belarus. I was thinking about either crossing in Bialowieza or Tresepol, only problem though is transportation and VISA. I most likely won't be renting a car, and I heard Belarussian border patrol isn't the friendliest in the world, and crossing can be a real pain in the butt. I also heard it can be a bit dangarous, so I'd rather not use public transportation. Honestly, if it was just me and a friend it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm going with a family member, and she gets really scared about going to countries she doesn't know, especially former Soviet countries, so she probably won't like the idea. I really don't care about the rest of the country right now, for a first time visit, I wanna just visit Brest Fortress, and make it a get in, get out. I'm not planning to stay in the country for more then a few hours, even less if we go directly to Brest. Will they get suspicious at the border? If it was Schengen, it wouldn't be a problem. Also, we're American citizens, so how do we go about getting a VISA, and how much are they? Also, what are the laws for video and photography? I heard Belarus is really strict? Will they care if it's just a home video camera? I don't want it confiscated. Anyway, my main concern is getting into Belarus. The main question I wanted to ask was, are there any companies that do day trips to Brest, from Bialystok? Also, I heard they don't like Polish ppl, which we are. IDK about Americans. The person I'm going with speaks Russian, but I do not. Will it be safer to just speak English to eachother, or should I learn some Russian. I'm not too sure about the tourist situation in Belarus, and I kind of wanna keep a low profile, just visit the fort, maybe buy something, and get out. I DO NOT wanna spend the night or get arressted. It's all so complicated. My travel partner prob. already won't like the idea, so I wanna make this as simple as possible.

Warsaw, Poland
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1. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

Believe me, Belarus is way more civilized than it is pictured in the West. I used to go there (Grodno) in my student years which was two decades ago and even then it was not anything like you picture. I did not get arrested, imprisoned or robbed. My parents went on an organized trip there a year ago and brought good memories and loads of pictures. No one tried to confiscate their camera but they did not try to take pictures where it was not allowed. You do indeed need at least some knowledge of Belarussian or Russian to get by.

I do not think there are any day trips to Brzesc from Bialystok - if you look at a map you will see that it is quite a journey from Bialystok. The closest town is Biala Podlaska and the closest border crossing is Terespol. From Bialystok it is Bobrowniki and Kuznica Bialostocka. To the best of my knowledge the crossing in Bialowieza is only for organized walking and cycling groups and it is open limited hours. At least this is the info you get on the local authorities website. There are companies that organize trips to Belarus from Bialystok but the shortest itinerary including Brest is 4-5 days.

Short term visa for Polish passport holders applying in Poland is 25 euro. You need to find your closest Belarusian Embassy or Consulate to get more information.

Warsaw, Poland
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2. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

I forgot one thing - you can go to Brest from Warsaw - there are direct trains from Warszawa Centralna and Wschodnia stations. A few more if you change at Terespol. Getting to Brest from Bialystok is far more complicated.

rozklad-pkp.pl/bin/query.exe/en…

I just did a random search. Run another one for your date.

dallas tx.
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3. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

i havnt crossed the border there but crossed south into the ukraine in sept.....3 hours at the frontier going in and 3 hours at the frontier comming back.....would i do it again?....never....just not worth sitting in your car 6 hours for a day trip

Kyiv
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4. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

Hi Brian,

Most of your assumptions are way too far from reality, I’m afraid.

>>> I most likely won't be renting a car

You will certainly not. EU car rentals are hesitant to allow their cars outside the EU, to East Europe in particular.

>>> I heard Belarussian border patrol isn't the friendliest in the world

None in the world is. You must have never tried the US one as a foreigner.. And Belarus one is just like any - doing their job.

>>> crossing can be a real pain in the butt

Yes, this is true. Much depends on which way you choose to enter - most probably taking a train entails less hassle.

>>> I also heard it can be a bit dangarous

Belarus is one of the safest countries in the area, as long as you are not violating the law, follow the procedures when it's about bureaucracy and use common sense when getting around.

>>> so I'd rather not use public transportation

The only reason I would think it inconvenient (not impossible!) to use public transport is language barrier, not safety.

>>> Will they get suspicious at the border?

Why should they? Is there anything you're not telling us about? If you are just a regular traveller, and will have your visa and other documents (better ask on Belarus forum which they are) all in order, you should be just fine.

>>> we're American citizens, so how do we go about getting a VISA, and how much are they?

As Americans you do need a visa to enter Belarus. And last time I read about it in Belarus forum (that you should better address for details on visa), it was very expensive.

So you might probably think twice if a short visit to Brest fortress is really worthy the hassle of wasting your time at the border and wasting your money for a visa.

>>> what are the laws for video and photography?

You are totally fine to do video and photo shooting of Brest fortress. It's a very popular touristy spot.

>>> Will it be safer to just speak English to eachother, or should I learn some Russian

Learning a foreign language is always a good idea. Not for the reasons you are asking about though. Again, I’m afraid you’re exaggerating safety issues.

And it’s not at all complicated! I’m just not sure if worthy, in your particular case and the way you described.

Edited: 2:53 pm, October 21, 2012
Oroville, California
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5. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

Dobry dyen, Cora, thanks for your tips. Someone told me it's a pain in the butt, when I was planning to visit last summer, and I know Russian border patrol will take your entire car apprt, and can take up to 8 hours, so I figured Belarus is the same. Maybe you are right about the safety, State Department likes to greatly overexaggerate safety issues, and Westerners and other European countries still have that impression of former Soviet countries being dangrous and undeveloped, which is the reason why Belarus is the least visited country in Europe, which is why I want to go. No Western tourists. I don't think it's a good idea now. You're right. It's not worth it for just one day, if VISA costs that much. I'll just go some other time, and spend a week or two traveling around, and see everything. Okay, so that's out of the question now. I also don't know how much site seeing my mom will be willing to do, since she's kind of going there for business and I just took a trip to Europe last summer, and we're kind of broke, so we'll probably be on a tight budget, so my mom will probably want to stick to Poland. She already told me, "don't plan on doing too much site seeing", and we're gonna be there for 2 months, so I'm not staying in one place. Most of the places are nearby, so we'll mostly be taking day trips by train, but I wanted to visit at least one new country, since we're gonna be so close. If we can find a cheap deal, I might just go to Kaliningrad or Lithuania. Most likely Kaliningrad. My mom won't want to go as far as Lithuania. If I have to, I'll just have my uncle come up, and go with him. As long as I have the money, it shouldn't be a problem, and 2 months is a long time for just one small area, so I want to get around a little. Whatever, summer is still 7 months away, so I can prob. save up a lot by then, and figure this out when the time comes. Thanks for your advice. If I could give a Best Answer here, you would get it. :)

Spasiba, and have a nice day :)

Oroville, California
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6. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

What about Kaliningrad? Do you have advice on that? Cheap tours 4-5 days, and VISA cost.

Warsaw, Poland
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7. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

Kaliningrad is Russian and obtaining a Russian visa involves lots of bureaucracy. I have not been to Kaliningrad but have been to Russia and remember how the visa issue was complicated. When waiting in the line at the Russian embassy, I met a person who used to travel to Russia frequently. He told me that it is not Russia insisting on the strict immigration/visa rules but Western countries. According to him, the Russian ministry of foreign affaires requested to deregulate the visa obligation but the European Union denied (those regulations are bilateral).

I am not sure if a trip to Kaliningrad is worth it. From what I heard, there is nothing left from the old culture and there are no real places of interest. I even heard that Kaliningrad has quite a bad reputation in the rest of Russia. Lithuania is a nice and interesting country with many places to visit. I would rather go there. In addition, there are no border controls between Poland and Lithuania and the country is quite small.

When I studied abroad some years ago, I heard so many horror stories about Poland that I should have been afraid returning (cars and wallets get stolen within a few minutes after entering the country; policemen can be bribed with a single bottle of wodka; women want to marry foreigners to get to the west etc). Poles have similar prejudices towards Russia and other countries east of Poland. I have been to several big cities in Russia and Ukraine and found everything to be on a high standard. Nowadays, there is no real difference between Moscow, Kiew, and lets say London and Madrid.

Warsaw, Poland
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8. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

>I know Russian border patrol will take your entire car apprt, and can take up to 8 hours,

Makes you wonder how Americans still manage to venture outside their country if they read something like this on official US government sites.

I hope you do not believe it. This may have been the case back in the very old days when cars were simple construction and every man could take apart his car and put it back together again in a matter of hours. My dad could do it too even if he got nothing to do with Russian or Belarussian border patrol. They do not do it anymore. They just ask you to open the boot and peer through side windows to see what you've got inside. It is exactly the same what Polish border (customs) patrols hanging around the eastern borders will ask you to do. They will only have a closer look at your car (at a proper garage) when they become convinced that you're involved in something illegal and there may be something hidden in it.

Edited: 1:43 am, October 22, 2012
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9. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

I am planning a day trip from Warsaw to Biala Podlaska

I just got quoted a $500 fee for a car and guide for the day. Seems like a lot of money.

I was thinking we could take the train ourselves to Biala and then just hire a guide for about 3-4 hours.

Where should I look for the train schedules for Warsaw- Biala Podlaska? Could not seem to find the right site.

dallas tx.
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10. Re: Any companies that do day trips from Poland to Brest?

the fact that you wrote such a long post to visit just the fortress, should answer your own question....the eu ends at the polish border....its a great hassle to cross....and you have to pay for a visa for the great honor of visiting white russia....its a repressive state....and your friend is sqeamish....and there is real tension between white russia and poland...