The Main Bus station is located in Mitropolit Varlaam street, behind the Central Market. It is one big mass and nothing more. I even was unable to make a photo! I would say that Central Market is still here. There are lots of booths and stall keepers everywhere arounf the station that it is hard to move. Moreover, cars try to move too what makes the situation even more difficult.:)
Anyway, the only advantage of buses is that they run to almost any part of Moldova and that they are cheap. What you must know it that there is usually no timetable but the bus leaves when it is full. And be careful as it is always over-crowded. Just be sure that you have a sitting place.:)
There are different kinds of buses: big one and small. The most popular are small (probably because it is easlier to fiil it with people:) and they are called: mini buses, marshrutes, maxi taxis or so. Ask about the price before you get on. Buses stop everywhere, just say `stop`. You may also stop a bus almost everywhere in the street.
There are direct connections to/from the main cities of the Russia (Moscow, St.-Peterburg, Saratov), Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Lviv,), Byelorussia (Minsk), Romania (Bucharest), Bulgaria (Sofia) and Poland (Przemysl). Connections with such cities as Moscow, Bucharest, Odessa and Lviv is provided daily.
Tickets are very cheap! I payed for the trip from Chisinau to Lviv about 15$ (18 hours in the train). Yeap, trains are usually slow. I have read that a train going from Chisinau up to the North of Moldova may go even 8 hours... There is also something strange with choosing the class you want to go in. I was told that there is the second and third class but they are not together in the same train. Simply, the second class goes on 2,4,6....30 of each month and the third class goes on 1,3..31 of each month. The difference between classes is about 6$. I had to take third calss as I was coming back on the first... You may see on the picture how it was like...:)
You can arrive by train from Romania (Bucuresti, Iasi) or from Russia (Moscow) or Ukraine (Kiev).
Personally I preffer travelling by train! you have your coupe, you can lay down, you can meet new travellers, you can share a bottle of wine (I never go travelling by train without a bottle of wine, or cognac, or at least beer)...
On arriving to Chisinau you'll get to the "Gara Feroviara Chisinau" builded in 1948 by german prisoners after WWII. The initial building builded in 1871 was destoyed during the World War II.
This building is also an important architectural , and was designed by L. Ciuprin, and consulted by the famous moldavian architect - A.Schiusev (the archiect of mausoleum in Moscow).
13 kilometers from Chisinau, and the only airport in the city.
Builded in 1974 and renovated few years ago.
The home for:
Air Moldova International
Also flights of:
There is no subway system in Chisinau, although there is an extensive bus, trolleybus and mini-bus system which is used by most local residents. Buses and trolley buses normally begin service at 06:00 with buses operating until 22:00, trolley buses and mini-buses until midnight. Single trip fares are 75 bani for trolley buses and 1leu for buses. Most trolleybuses and buses have conductors who sell and collect fare tickets on the bus. Many people prefer to use micro-vans or mini-buses as they are less crowded, make less stops, and are less likely to break down. These vehicles provide transport along designated routes at a cost of 2 lei per trip. The fare is paid directly to the driver when entering the mini-bus. Tickets are not used and cannot be purchased in advance. Route numbers are posted on the front and side windows.
By train. Various international trains from former Soviet states make their way to Chisinau. From Romania there is only 1 train a day, and it's an overnight one. the train is called Prietenia and can be a sauna in summer.
The ticket price was about 30 euro return when the ticket was bought in Bucuresti.
Note that not even half of the people who board this train have bought a ticket. Going directly to the train conductor holding romanian Lei, Dollars, Moldovan Leu, maybe even euro's is easier and cheaper.
Getting around can be done by the old, ordinary trolleybusses, normal busses (still old) or by Minibus (in Russian: marshrutka), (a van, in most cases an old Mercedes van).
The price for the trolleybus is 75 bani (1 Leu=100 bani) (75 bani= 0.05 euro), the price for a minibus ride is 2 Lei (0.16 euro).
On the citybusses a women selling tickets will come to you, in the minibus give the money to the driver.
When you arrive at the airport, make sure, you don't get trapped by the taxi drivers! They are hanging out at the airport exit like a cloud of hungry moskitos waiting for prey. When they all swarm at you to offer their services, most even at astronomic prices, the best is to ignore them totally. Look through them, walk through them... , if one has found only a bit of your attention, he will not let go of you! ---
So, when you arrive, walk straight ahead to the exit. When you come out of the building (at the red structure on the picture above) you go to the right, where you will find the minibus Nr. 65 (on the picture you can see a white and a yellow one).
This minibus will take you to the city center for 2 MdLei. If you don't yet have any MdLei, don't worry, the driver will also take foreign currency, even UkrGrivna will do.
Mostlikely your travel agent will have some difficulty arranging a flight for you to Chisinau; not even to mention hotel reservations. Probably you will have to do some research yourself and help them.
We finally decided to arrange our trip to Chisinau from Kiev. There, at the office of Transaero, they had no difficulty to get us our flight tickets. And for the hotel, we made our reservaton directly with Meridian. This also had the advantage, that they could provide us with the first basic instructions of how to get there.
If you use the search engines of airlines to look for flights to Chisinau, you should try different spellings. Mostlikely they use the international one, but try other similar sounding combinations of the first letters as well, and see, what places they might offer with a similar spelling. Perhaps you even should use the international 3-letter code for the airport, which in the case of Chisinau is KIV.
If you want to get an idea of what carriers will go there, look at the flight time table of Chisinau airport (http://www.transaero.md/time.html). Here you can see the international code for the carrier.
And even if you already have all the detailed information, keep your plans flexible. Times and dates may already have changed, by the time you want to book your flight.
I found the following airline web site very useful:
( http://flightplanner.aua.com/timetable/AT/framesnew/ )
In the center of the city there are many officially licensed
places where you can change money. Also in some of the bigger shops
there are exchange facilities. The exchange rates don't differ very
much. (So, don't follow obscure offers!.) The best rates are of course,
where there are the least tourists. Ask the people where you stay,
which place they would recommend. Maybe they will escort you to places
where tourist usually won't go (and perhaps even should not go
unaccompanied!). But this is where the best exchange rates are. But
nevertheless, be careful, where you go!
Most currency converters on the net don't feature Moldovan Lei, but here e.g. you can find one: http://md.orientation.com/en/currency/home.html
There is a very detailed city map, published by
Firma 'Strih' SRL, Chisinau,
It has a street index, locations and telephone numbers of interesting
places, institutions and services (academy, universities, museums,
theaters, post office, hotels etc.), and also some general information
about Chisinau in Romanian, English and Russian.
I don't know whether it would be possible to buy one outside of
Moldova. But in Chisinau you can find it bookstores.
One building, you should recognize , is the Main Postoffice !
As a tourist, of course you would like to buy postcards and stamps for your snail mail. You also can get some xero copies done there. (We had some music manuscript to copy, and they did it very carefully.)
From friends I also heard that you even can log into the inernet there.
But also, if you want to meet with people in the center, mostlikely the place will be in front of the post office.
Or when you aks for your way, the answer might be something like: ' Do you know the post office? Fine! From there it is not far, you just walk...'
Type: by foot (for orientation and communication)
I preferred to catch a taxi but trolleybus was good, too. Sometime the traffic gets hard and even using car you won’t get to a place faster than a trolleybus.