I have to confess! I had never heard of Moldova or Chișinău before traveling to Europe this time. This is my third time in Europe and I had never explored the Eastern side of Europe. While I was in Bucharest for 1.5 weeks, I realised that Bucharest did not need 1.5 weeks to explore and see the city and surroundings. So, I started researching all the other places that I can travel to while in Bucharest. The first place that came to mind was Budapest. But there was a problem in traveling to Budapest – I did not have too many days to spare, the journey by bus took about 16 hours in total one way and the timings of the bus journey was not feasible. And this made me research on some other place – so I landed in Chișinău.
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Chișinău is the capital city of the Republic of Moldova. It is famous for its Soviet-style architectural buildings. A theory suggests that the name Chișinău came from the Russian word chișla and nouă, which means spring or source of water and new respectively.
How to get to Chișinău?
Chișinău does have an airport where one can fly into. However, I took the economical mode of transport from Bucharest, which is a bus. I had to book the bus using Alverstur website. I would definitely like to say here that the bus journey is around 9 hours and is not comfortable. It is not like FlixBus.
Note: Passport and visa is checked at the border. So ensure to have a valid passport and visa to enter the country.
Language, ATM and Mobile network
I found it hard to communicate in English as people hardly speak English. It is better to learn few basic words in Russian, Moldovan or Romanian.
The visa card not issued in Europe that I was carrying did work in all the ATMs around the city. So, I did not have any problem with the money. Also, most cafes and restaurants accept card payments.
My mobile network that I had purchased in Netherlands did not work in Chișinău. I used local wifis at the hostel and hotels to use internet.
Hostel that I stayed in Chișinău
While I was stuck at a bus stop in Chișinău, I decided to check into a hostel for few hours so I can freshen up before I start exploring the city. The hostel was about 1 kilometre from the bus stop. The name of the hostel was Hostel City Centre. And I must say that I loved the hostel, it was very clean and the staff were friendly.
Things to see in Chișinău
Since I did not have too much time on my hand and I just had one day to explore the city, I walked around the city centre and saw only the below listed places:
- Stefan cel Mare Central Park and Stephen the Great Monument statue – These two are prominent landmarks in Chișinău. The monument of Stephen the Great Monument statue was designed in the year 1923 and is in the main park Stefan cel Mare Central Park.
- Triumphal arch and Nativity Cathedral – These landmarks are next to the Central Park.
- Sculpture of Lovers – A romantic sculpture created by two art students, this is a very beautiful sculpture to visit and click pictures with.
- Bell tower – Standing in front of Navity Cathedral, this attraction is worth visiting.
- National museum of History – This is a nice history museum in Central Chișinău.
Note: Most monuments are closed on Fridays.
Safety for solo female travelers
I found Chișinău to be a safe place to travel. Even though I was the only Indian traveler traveling in the city, I did not find any issue or concern. Yes, people were curious to see me and they would stare at me with curiosity but did not trouble me in any way. However, like any other city or place, it is best to be cautious and know your surroundings while traveling especially at nights. And be careful of your passport.
I really like Chișinău and I enjoyed traveling in this city. Its not too popular among the tourists but I would definitely recommend visiting this amazing place with so much history.
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