Tourists are spoilt for choice as Moscow has numerous historic places to see and areas to relax. Photo: Lori/Legion Media
Every year, Moscow makes it to the top of all sorts of rankings for the most expensive cities in the world.
A cup of coffee in the capital could set you back US$10, while a loaf of bread could easily cost US$5.
The fastest – and the cheapest – way of getting around Moscow is the metro. A ride costs 28 roubles (HK$6.6 regardless of distance, but you can save by buying a travel card, which will give you several trips.
If you are not afraid of Moscow’s traffic jams and are going to take taxis, you would do well to install the free application Yandex Taxi on your phone - iPhone and Android versions are available. The app will help you call a taxi and inform you about the price of a journey, and whether the driver smokes or not.
Most foreigners shop for groceries at upmarket stores such as Azbuka Vkusa or Globus Gurme (Globe Gourmet), while budget-conscious consumers would normally go to “people’s” supermarkets, such as Pyaterochka, Kopeika and Dixy. Surprisingly, prices in both types of supermarkets can be equally high.
It is no wonder, then that most thrifty Muscovites prefer Auchan and Perekrestok retail chains, that offer the best price-to-quality ratio.
For food lovers, markets are a genuine paradise, and these are not just the Dorogomilovsky and Tsevnoi markets hyped by the media.
Personally, I prefer the market in Moscow’s suburb Preobrazhensky, where you can find the cheapest seasonal fruit and vegetables, an excellent choice of freshwater fish, honey and dairy products.
Towards the centre of Moscow, you can buy inexpensive products from farmers at so-called weekend markets, but there are great variations.
Those at the Prospekt Mira and Kitai-Gorod metro stations are great, while those at the Sukharevskaya and Tishinskaya Proshchad stations are small and costly. Bargaining is expected, but you are unlikely to find an English-speaking retailer.
Everywhere else in the world, the Chinese and Indians run the cheapest restaurants with the best food. In Moscow, this niche is taken up by north Caucasian and Central Asian outlets.
I’d recommend two cafes: Khurma (at 15/1 Sadovaya-Samotechnaya Street, Tsvetnoi Bulvar metro station, offering mostly Azerbaijan cuisine) and Gagra (4 Vasilyevskaya Street, Mayakovskaya metro station, offering Georgian cuisine). Restaurants offering reasonably priced Russian cuisine are difficult to find, but Ukrainian food is a good substitute. One such option is the Taras Bulba restaurant chain.
Moscow is expensive as all the famous brands are priced well above those in Europe or Asia. Inexpensive garments can be found in small secondhand shops, for instance at Paradox (73 Novoslobodskaya, building 3, Novoslobodskaya or Mendeleyevskaya metro stations), or Nichego Pogobnogo (Nothing of the Kind, 2 Fadeyeva, Mayakovskaya metro station).
Read more at Moscow travel site: en.travel2moscow.com