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Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

While you might occasionally run into Soviet-style bureaucracy, it’s much less an issue here than in Russia; people – even officials! – are generally open and accommodating. While street crime is low (there simply aren’t enough foreigners to make this a viable occupation), flashing wealth around, as in any country, is not advisable, especially in places where you might stand out. Be wary of pickpockets on crowded buses and at train stations.

Travelling in the self-declared republic of Transdniestr can be wearying from a harassment-by-authorities perspective, but is still safe overall. Avoid sticking your nose into military objects and installations, no matter how pure your intentions.

Bucharest-style restaurant pricing scams are emerging in Chişinău, particularly in tourist-friendly basement joints with live music and wood-fire ovens (hint, hint). Never order anything, especially wine, without confirming the price in writing (eg on the menu) to avoid surprises on the bill, and be aware of the menu switcheroo. If you’ve been victimised, resist the urge to shred the receipts in a fury: save them for a police report.

Travellers are required to have their passports with them at all times. Cheeky police are prone to random checks.