The best business center in town is to be found at the five star Renaissance Samara Hotel but,
of course, it is also the most expensive. There are three conference halls: the Salyut (holds 50 people; 7500R/$280 for five hours), the Vostok (holds 120 people; 11000R/$410 for five hours) and the Soyuz (holds 150 people; 25000R/$925 for five hours). The Soyuz also divides into three smaller rooms with the same proportions and price as the Salyut, or you can rent two of the three Soyuz halls (holds 110 people; 15000R/$555 for five hours). Additionally there are two meeting rooms which hold 12 people and cost 7500R ($280) for five hours. And then there's the Mir ballroom, an extravagant venue that holds up to 350 people and costs 27500R ($1020) per five hours to rent. All the halls are brilliantly equipped. You can get anything you need for a price and technical support is on hand 24 hours. Plus there is a decadent selection of catering options.
The Renaissance Samara Hotel also boasts a full service business center with secretaries and translators on hand as well as all the standard business services. Non-guests can use these facilities.
Contacts: Novo-Sadovaya Ulitsa, #162b. Tel: 277-8340. Website: www.renaissancehotels.com/kufbr.
The Hotel Azimut has some cheaper but adequate business facilities. There are two conference halls: the Tolstoy holds 70 people and costs 600R ($22) per hour to rent while the Turgenev holds 30 people and costs 400R ($15) per hour. The Chekhov meeting room has enough space for 10 people and is priced at 250R ($9) per hour. Additionally there is a 24 hour business center with printer, fax and photocopier that can also be used by non-guests.
Contacts: Frunze Ul., 91/37. Tel: 332-4163. Website: www.azimuthotels.ru.
In case of an emergency it's best to contact the manager of the hotel where you're staying, or the local police. The operators of emergency services speak Russian only:
01 - Fire
02 - Police
03 - Ambulance
If you lose your credit card you should dial the Moscow numbers listed in the Practicalities/Money section.
The chances of finding an English-speaking doctor in Samara on short notice are minimal and there are no Western clinics in the city. If you get sick you should try to get to Moscow. If that's not possible then try one of the public hospitals or clinics.
There are many pharmacies around the city and you won't have much trouble finding one no matter what area you're in. The Vita chain of pharmacies is quite good and there are a couple of central ones at Galaktionovskaya Ulitsa, #34 (Tel: 276-2202; open 8:00-21:00) and Mologvardeiskaya Ulitsa, #76 (Tel: 333-0102; open 8:00-20:00). There's a 36-6 chemist at Kuibysheva Ulitsa, #107 (open 8:00-22:00) and there is a 24 hour pharmacy at Kuibysheva Ulitsa, #66 (Tel: 996-0060).
There are only two real options for internet access in central Samara and neither of them are the traditional sorts of internet cafes.
Vizit Internet Center: Some sort of company that helps students with their work. Whatever the company does there's a basement-level 'internet hall' with a fair number of computers here. Access costs 40R or 48R per hour depending on the time of day.
Address: Samarskaya Ul., #199. Tel: 270-6672. Website: www.daispisat.ru. Open 9:00-22:00.
Volga-Telekom: A truly terrible place that has a
perplexing payment system. You pay some token sum before you start and then when you finish they give you your change - after you sign a scrap of paper that has the amount of change written on it. There are six computers that have fairly fast internet, but there are usually queues to use them. Internet access costs 30R ($1.10) per hour.
Address: Krasnoarmeiskaya Ul., #17. Tel: 332-1206. Open 8:00-20:00.
There are plenty of ATMs around the city. Obviously you can find them inside the major shopping centers such as TsUM (see Section "Shopping" for address) and in the foyers of the major hotels. There are also ATMs at the main train station, the main post office and several along the lengths of the pedestrian strip, Leningradskaya Ulitsa, and the main street, Kuibysheva Ulitsa. Some addresses include Kuibysheva Ul., #90 (Open 8:30-0:00) and Kuibysheva Ul., #111 (24 hours).
Currency exchanges are less common but you can at least find them at all the major banks. Some addresses are Solidarnost Bank (Kuibysheva Ul., #90) and Sberbank (Leningradskaya Ul., #63). There are also currency exchanges at the flashier hotels such as the National and the Renaissance Samara and at the train station. Generally they take only $US or Euros and the rates are a little lower than you get in Moscow. Western Union Transfers can be made at Promyshlenno Stroitelny Bank (Samarskaya Ul., 203b; open Mon-Fri 9:00-16:00).
Open Hours and Peak Hours.
Shops are generally open from 9:00-20:00 on weekdays but often have shorter hours on weekends, or at least on Sundays (usually 10:00 - 19:00). 24 hour shops are few and far between so can be awkward to reach, though there is a central 24 hour supermarket at Volzhsky Prospekt, #31. At any rate, kiosks are generally open until 11pm or midnight and there are plenty of them around. Office hours are generally 9am or 10am to 6pm.
Cafes and restaurants are usually open from midday until midnight. But there are some that open earlier (around 10am) and/or close a bit later (around 2am). It's not easy finding places to eat for breakfast or for a late night snack. If you want to eat late at night your best bets are the 24 hour restaurants Dzhin-Dzhu (Kuibysheva Ul., #7), Mama Sita (Leningradskaya Ul., #30) and Marlin (Leningradskaya Ul., #32). Colombia Cafe (Leningradskaya Ul., #2) is one of the few places that actually has a breakfast menu.
Peak hours are 8am-10am & 5pm-7pm. Public transport can become quite crowded during these times but is still okay to use. Traffic can slow your journey down considerably though.
Post Offices and Courier Services.
If you want to send something by post from Russia, you can do it either through the government post offices or by courier services - the difference is price and speed. The state post office is cheaper but very slow and sometimes unreliable. Even if you pay extra to send things by priority air mail, they can still take two weeks to reach Europe.
an ATM and offers faxing, photocopying and telephone services for low prices. And, of course, you can buy stamps and send your mail from here. There are many other post offices around Samara which offer only mailing and sometimes telephone services.
Address: Leningradskaya Ul., #24. Tel: 332-0597. Open 8:00-21:00.
Courier Services are much more reliable and fast but also far more expensive. A letter will take about three or four days to reach Europe and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.
UPS: Krasnoglinskoe Shosse, #33, Office 36. Tel: 950-2133.
DHL: Avrory Ul., #150. Tel: 269-6909.
TNT Express: Stara-Zagora Ul., #52. Tel: 228-2558.
Pony Express: Akademika Pavlova Ul., #35. Tel: 270-9436.
There is a degree of restlessness in Samara - something that seems to plague mid-sized cities with limited entertainment options and generally low salaries. That said, there is no reason to go to any special lengths safety-wise. Exercise the usual amount of caution: stick to the main streets at night, or at least don't walk the back streets alone; and if carrying large amounts of money then make sure it is well secured, etc. Use your discretion - there's no need to take any more precautions than you would elsewhere.
The pedestrian mall Leningradskaya Ulitsa and the main street Kuibysheva Ulitsa are
the main shopping areas. Here you will find all manner of clothing outlets, jewelry shops, cafes and restaurants as well as specialty outlets for things like mobile phones and SIM cards, shops for photo development and pharmacies (see Section "Health"). There are Kodak Express outlets at Leningradskaya Ul., #57 and Kuibysheva Ul., #82 (both open 9:00-19:00 daily). There are also all manner of stalls along Leningradskaya Ulitsa that sell all sorts of clothing, CDs, DVDs and other goods.
TsUM: located away from the main tourist area, closer to the train station, TsUM has the usual assortment of shops selling various goods. You'll find anything you could possibly need here.
Address: Vilonovskaya Ul., #9. Tel: 233-5237. Open Mon-Sat 9:00-20:00, Sun 9:00-19:00.
Triumf Trade Center: Just around the corner from TsUM, Triumf has more of the brand name shops that TsUM lacks. There is an El Dorado electronics outlet there as well as a Detsky Mir department store. Additionally there is a supermarket on the ground floor (open 9:00-23:30).
Address: Sportivnaya Ul., #16a. Tel: 332-1335. Open 9:00-21:00.
"Khoroshiy" 24 hour Supermarket: There aren't many of them in the center and they always come in handy. "Khoroshiy" is a well-stocked 24 hour supermarket located across from the banks of the Volga.
Address: Volzhsky Prospekt, #31. Tel: 242-0796. Open 24 hours.
Angliya: Really your only option for English language books. Located inside the British Council in Samara, Angliya mainly stocks English language textbooks but also has a small and expensive selection of English language fiction and an even smaller selection of non-fiction.
Address: Kuibysheva Ul., #131. Tel: 278-4223. Open Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-16:00.
Sambuk: The best place to go for souvenirs in Samara. The range isn't huge but there is some really interesting stuff sold at Sambuk. It features English-speaking staff and you can also buy English language maps of Samara here. Tourist excursions of the city can be booked at the travel desk inside.
Address: Frunze Ul., #145. Tel: 264-0484. Website: yra.al.ru/sambuk.htm.
You can also try the street markets for souvenirs. There are stalls on the waterfront on Ulitsa Maksima Gorkova, around the area where it intersects with Leningradskaya Ulitsa.
The international phone code of Russia is "7", the code of Samara is "846". If you call to Samara from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or "+"), then the code of Russia "7", then Samara (846), and then the 7-digit city number. If you call to Samara from any place in Russia, dial 8, wait for a tone, then dial the Samara code (846), and then the 7-digit city number. If you dial a Samara number inside Samara, just dial the 7-digit number, without any prefixes. The calls inside the city are free, except in hotels (check how much they charge).
The best place to make calls is at the Main Post Office (see section "Post Offices and Courier Services" for the address) or at Volga Telekom (see Section "Internet Access" for the address). To make a phone call, first queue for the operator, pay an advance for a call (about 50 R) and then they'll tell you what cabin to go to make a call. Once your call is finished, you can get back the money you paid, if you haven't used it all already.
But if you plan to stay in Samara for a longer period it is very cheap to buy a SIM card with any of the local operators: MTS, Beeline or Megafon are the main ones. SIM cards cost about $3 or $4 and usually come with a few dollars of phone credit. If you already have a Russian SIM card with one of the main networks it will also work in Samara, though you will be charged slightly higher 'internal roaming' tariffs.
Samara Web Resources.
Informative websites about Samara are few in number. Among a bad bunch Samara Best is probably the best general purpose one you will find (Russian only). It has plenty of listings in the areas of business, entertainment, shopping and health. Unfortunately listings are generally all they have - only contact details with no more information. At least they tend to only list the best places.
This website (Russian Only) has some quality listings and reviews for nightlife, theater, sport, shopping and all other lifestyle related issues. They also have some information about transport in Samara.
Cinema, theater and nightlife listings can be found on Afisha's Samara portal (Russian only). There is also information about upcoming exhibitions and festivals.
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