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Getting there & away

Moldova is way off the beaten tourist track. Few trains and buses come here from further away than Romania, Ukraine and Hungary and, while flights from Western Europe are increasing, EasyJet won’t be touching down here in the foreseeable future. While not a budget airline, Carpatair (www.carpatair.com) has begun service into Chişinău, via Timişoara, which is often cheaper than the competition, though occasionally Air Moldova under-cuts it. Most tourists find it easiest to enter via Romania, from where connections are frequent and easy. For an up-to-date list of all the open and traversable road borders into Moldova, see www.turism.md/eng/content/69.

People requiring visas for Moldova can usually pick one up upon arrival by air or road, but not when entering by train. If you try to enter by train and have not acquired a visa in advance, you will be turfed at the border and possibly arrested! The border crossing at Ungheni, Romania, does not have visa-issuing facilities. Cross at Sculeni.

Those requiring a letter of invitation to enter Moldova – which included people from Australia and New Zealand at the time of writing – will need to be carrying the original copy of the letter. Scanned, faxed or photocopied copies are not accepted.

If entering Moldova via some parts of Ukraine, you will pass through Transdniestr, where you might have to purchase a visitor’s pass at the border. You will then be stopped when leaving Transdniestr to enter Moldova proper and made to pay a small fine. In this instance, make sure your passport gets a properly dated Moldovan entry stamp or there’ll be trouble when you try to leave.