Moscow to Kishinev
(chisinau) by traiN
Pasha's first travel
report from his March 2004 trip
Uncle Pasha himself (www.unclepasha.com) is honouring us
with a visit. Watch this page for technical details and personal story
of travelling from Moscow to Kishinev by train.
None for Russian nationals, and you don't even need your
travel passport. Before Marisha compiles her ultimate visa FAQ sheet
[CAN SOMEONE RECOMMEND A GOOD INFORMATION RESOURCE ON
THE SUBJECT AND AN INVITATION/VISA AGENT?]
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 Don't ask people who will give you outdated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
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
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
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
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
No other dangers or annoyances I can think
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
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
unclepasha.com in Moldova as http://www.marisha.net/ 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 /