Moldova

Security issues should not be underestimated by first time travellers to Moldova. Take into serious consideration the notices regularly published by the U.S. Government State Department (http://travel.state.gov/t...). Travellers to Moldova for business or romance should be aware of the potential risk of scam, above all if first contacts were made on Internet - particularly International Financial Scams (http://travel.state.gov/t...) and Russian Internet dating schemes (http://travel.state.gov/t...).

The break-away region Transnistria has proclaimed itself a republic but lacks diplomatic recognition. Consequently, travellers lack consular support in case of emergency. Corrupt policemen may give you trouble, and may give excuses such as not having a 'visa'.

If you do visit Transnistria, as a foreign citizen, you should register with the Militia upon arrival. It can become difficult trying to leave if you have not done this. Give your name to the representative of your country in Chisinau and tell them what date you travel to and from Transnistria.

If you persist and do travel to Transnistria, you will travel right into the age and time of the old Soviet Union. However it is wise to get a reliable guide to show you around. Once you are 'in', you'll find the population very friendly and helpful. Especially in remote areas where no stranger has been for ages, people will open up a museum for you even if it is their day off. Also, you can expect a lengthy meal to be offered to you just in your honour. Don't drink too much alcohol at such occasions since they will offer you more than you can handle.

Conservative dress must be worn at religious sites. Shorts are forbidden and women must cover their heads inside the monasteries and churches.

While bribery and police corruption are still problems in Moldova, the situation is improving. It is still advised that tourists have the number of their embassy and the contact information of where they are staying. Travellers are also required to have their passports on them at all times.

Alcohol consumption can also be a problem. Moldova's per capita alcohol consumption rate is among of the world's largest. Running into drunks especially at night is common. Most are friendly; they often come off as aggressive and will invade your personal space. This can be scary the first couple of times. Politely walking away normally works.

The heavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, has contaminated soil and groundwater. If you are concerned, water for drinking, cooking and oral hygiene should be taken from a known safe source, as ordinary water treatment, including boiling, does not remove such chemical contamination.

talk

The state language of Moldova is Romanian, which was officially referred to as Moldovan until December 2013. Russian is also widely spoken in the country, both as a first and second language. Ukrainian and Gagauz are recognized minority languages, with official status in areas with high concentration of speaker populations. French, and to a lesser extent English, are popular foreign languages taught at most schools in Moldova.

contact

Useful free resources for travel information in Moldova are the non profit information pages at (http://www.moldovaholiday...). Enjoy!

respect

When visiting Moldova, be careful when referring the locals as Romanians as not all Moldovans identify themselves as such. Study your host first: some Moldovans identify as Moldovan, some as Romanian, and some even as Russian. This also applies to the language issue as well, although the larger part of Moldovans do refer to it as Romanian in everyday speech.

Also be careful when talking about Moldova to the Romanians in Romania. Many Romanians view Moldova as Romanian. See Romania#Respect