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*** Discover Moldovan countryside with traditional food, wine and culture. Meet local people and take part in their everyday life.   

Moscow to Kishinev (chisinau) by traiN

Pasha's first travel report from his March 2004 trip

Uncle Pasha himself ( is honouring us with a visit. Watch this page for technical details and personal story of travelling from Moscow to Kishinev by train.

Visa requirements

None for Russian nationals, and you don't even need your travel passport. Before Marisha compiles her ultimate visa FAQ sheet please consult


My own impression is that, unlike its Big Bad Brother, Moldova welcomed anybody who comes to the country with good intentions. No need for the invitation, no major registration hassles, with laissez faire all around.

Moldovan Embassy in Moscow:  It is on Petrovka, by the Red Cross, M. Kuznetsky Most. While there may be a line-up many questions will be answered by your fellow visitors. Moldovans are friendly, open, and hospitable people - such was my impression 25 years ago, and it is being confirmed now.

Registration is required, however, and is done at the police station closest to where you are staying.


Moscow - Chisinau is not a popular direction, and you will normally be able to buy your tickets right before the departure.

Total distance is about 1500km (900 miles), and the cost of the 2nd class ticket is around $35. The cheapest "cattle car" ticket will be less than $20.????

Trains depart daily at 12:42, 4:20pm and 7:39pm from the Kiev (Kievsky) station in Moscow. Travel time is 26-32.

Kiev (Kievsky) Staion

Same building as Metro Kievskay on the subway ring.

The Kiev station is now being reconstructed, thus a bit of a mess. Long-distance trains are between the station and the Slavyanskaya hotel. Don't ask people who will give you outdated direction. This is exactly what happened to me. Ran after the train, missed it, and spend three hours waiting for the next one and contemplating how out of shape I am..

Follow these new signs at the west side of the train station building.

The way to the tracks is between the Radisson-Slavanskaya hotel (left) and the station (right).


Another landmark showing that you are on the right way is this new piece of art entitled "The Kidnapping of Europe"

Text below the board:

"Lenin spoke here in 1919 before workers on their way to the south of Russia to organize Soviet agricultural enterprises."



You will be able to use roubles during your trip but coins and small bills are not really desirable.

You are not required to carry any funds on you when travelling to Moldova. Bums are welcomed and my sense is will be fed well.

Staying in touch

GPRS will be available through most of Russia and the Ukraine right to the Moldovan border. The strength of the sign will not be always sufficient but you can count on being able to check your e-mails once an hour.

Need help setting up your computer to receive e-mails just about anywhere in Russia and neighbouring countries? Contact Andrey Trofimov by writing to trofimov_a[at]rambler[dot]ru, with a copy to me. He did a wonderful job for me, which allowed me combine the lifestyle of a no fixed address bum with a semi-professional income generated mostly by keeping up correspondence with Russia-bound travellers.

You will be able to make calls to Russia from your Moscow-registered MTS cell phone by dialing +7-area code-number.  "+" in my phone is dialed by holding the Zero button for a few seconds.

Don't forget to request them to turn on roaming and GPRS roaming before being off.

Railroad carriages have 220 volt electrical system that will power your laptop and the charger for your cell phone BUT you are not allowed to use it for anything but electric shavers. You will thus need to make friends with conductors, and be discreet about plugging in your equipment. Carry a fairly long (5 m) thin black extension cord. Yes, black, because it is easier to hide. Of caught letting you use the 220 volt system attendants are facing a fine of $20-70, so be ready to make up should the supervisor find who drains the railroad off energy.

If you can't afford taking chances I can recommend a team of conductors who will cooperate to help you in staying energized.


If you are sensitive to washroom cleanliness, don't travel South.  Carriages are stuffy and overheated. Don't drink on the train as drink, heat, and bad air are a bad combination. This report would have been better had I followed this advice.

A hint from the conductor: When travelling through the Ukraine make sure a stamp is put on your passport and/or your visa on entry, or else you may be hassled or fined ($20-50) on exiting. Russian and especially Ukrainian border control may be thorough and thoroughly unpleasant.

Theft and pickpocketing: very rare.

Drinking and debauchery: Moldovans have been growing grapes for centuries and, unlike their northern neighbours, learned to co-exist with wine. Their drinking does not degenerate into noise and violence.

No other dangers or annoyances I can think of..

Things to buy and customs regulations

Moldova produced excellent and very cheap brandy. You are officially allowed to take 2 bottles back to Russia but people say that up to 4-5 is considered OK in practice. Even customs officials understand the need to drink. I hope that Marisha will share her expertise on Moldovan wine and brandy.

Most personal possessions are no problem.


Basic foods available from the train restaurant. Better choice in the morning. Salad, bread, and beer, plus food procured from train station babushkas, kept me nutritionally content.

Excellent quality food is sold by Ukrainian babushkas, and it gets better as you move south-west. Fruits, nuts, potato pirogies etc. so vegetarians need not worry as long as they pull through the Ukrainian border and make it into the "real" Ukraine.

Beer and snackes Walnuts and sunflower seeds. Apples


I've been suspecting that Moldova is one of the few livable place on earth ever since my trip there in the mid-70s, by motorcycles, with my father. The vibes and bits of information I've been getting from there recently made this suspicion grow. And then I got this letter from Marisha who read about my projects and expressed an interest in participating while at this point I was not quite sure about continuing with my rural project. So we decided to try to replicate in Moldova as to see what works best. Expect another "Uncle Pasha" type little consulting, support and facilitation operation in Moldova soon.

More about my Chisinau adventure:

Looking for food after 11pm / Taxi service / Car rental / Encounter with traffic police / Registration / Rural expedition / Searching for headlight /



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