Before you travel far, especially to foreign countries you are not familiar with, it is always wise to learn about the facts of and customs applied in them. It should not be a hard thing to do, thanks to the internet. You can visit traveler forums and ask around about the country you plan to visit. Most of the time even natives would give you tips of how to tour safely. There are some places on earth you just can’t go to without plans no matter how much you love impromptu travelling. These include the following 5 places in Russia with dangerous reputation that you can actually visit safely – if you know how to.
1. Bitsa Park
Located in Moscow, Russia, this natural park is spread from Chertanovka River to Bitsa River as wide as 18 square kilometres. Between 1992 to 2006, Alexander Pichushkin known as the Bitsa Park Maniac or The Chessboard Killer has lured around 60 people into the park and killed them there. He has already been apprehended, but the reputation of the park will always be stained. Looking at how vast the location and how dense some spots of the forest is, it can be very dark and quiet even during the day. Muscovites only take the open paths when there is enough light outside. Rumors say a satanic cult find their safe haven in Bitsa Park. It is not recommended to visit the park when it gets dark nor to go astray around it. To stay on the safe side, for tourists, visit the park with a company who knows the spot well and don’t go there at night. Try and visit common establishments there like the Museum of Paleontology and the beautiful Uzkoye Estate.
2. Tsaritsyno Park
This is another park in Moscow you should take caution of although this park is actually one of the most beautiful parks in the city and a main tourist attraction. Here you can find Tsaritsyno Palace, Bazhenov’s Opera House that was built in the 17th century, Second Cavalry Building, a decorative bridge from the 19th century, museums, a modern recreation center, and a fine dining place. You can be guaranteed safe around these spots, but please avoid the wilderness behind the Tsaritsyno Palace because it is hidden and dense. People use the spot to do strange things and sometimes aggressive drunks can be found there too. So, by all mean, stay clear from the forest. There are a lot more interesting and beautiful parts of the park you can enjoy while you are visiting.
3. The Urban Valley
Muscovites call this place near the Moscow State University as “Shanghai”. This massive area is filled with garages, cheap restaurants, struggling band studios, clubs with bad reputations, and service stations. All in all, this valley is the slum part of the city. The government has been planning to demolish this place but the process is draggy that it is taking so long to be finalized. Tourists are strongly advised not to wander around the place considering the shady condition of the valley. Crime is high in this area even for locals. Foreigners have no business going around there unless they do have “business” that is most likely illegal. If you are curious about what this Shanghai Valley is all about, grab a trustworthy companion who knows the area well and how to defend themselves as well as you.
4. Komsomolskaya Square
This spot is quite vital for travelers because three metro stations are situated there and they connect Moscow to Saint Petersburg, Siberia, and the Volga region. You can imagine how crowded and busy this square is with all kinds of people. Migrant workers and prostitutes can easily be found around the square not to mention pickpockets and other petty criminals because police officers can rarely be seen in this area. If you have to embark or disembark from and to one of the trains that stop in one of the three stations here, make sure to keep your belongings safe especially important documents like passport and id card. Bring a decoy bag just in case. Be cautious of your surroundings while you’re on the square and don’t get easily attracted to what strangers offer you. Stick to your itinerary and real plans.
5. Moscow Streets at night
Although Russia is generally safe for tourists, avoiding the small streets at night is always a good idea. These streets are lack of lighting and can be confusing for them who don’t know the city well – although GPS can come in handy, but you would not want to have your phone exposed while roaming these streets at night. Criminals may try to rob or snatch tourists’ bags and encounters with aggressive drunks could end up unpleasantly. Violent attacks sometimes happen on these streets too. Travelers and foreigners are better off of these places at night and stick around main areas that are safer to be explored at night.
If you ask Russians about how safe their country is to visitors, they would say all is fine and there is nothing to worry about if you ever plan to travel there. This is mostly true, but it would be better if you seek for opinions from people who really understand how the situation is for foreigners there; like tour guides, fellow travelers who have visited Russia, or your embassy. Sometimes natives’ point of view could differ from what tourists can see. Don’t hesitate to visit the 5 places in Russia with dangerous reputations above because you can still visit them safely if you take cautions and follow the rules. Just like when you visit a stranger’s house; you would not want to roam around without permission and enter rooms that are off limit to you. Think of Russia as that stranger’s house. Enjoy travelling and stay safe!