Where and when?
The train leaves Bucharest Gara de Nord daily at 19:30, arriving in Chisinau at around 8am the next day. You can buy your tickets from the International counter in the station.
It leaves Chisinau daily at 7pm, arriving in Bucharest at around 6am the next day.
You will need to walk all the way to the far right of the train station in Chisinau to get to the ticket counter. All the lights are off, but don’t fret, there will be someone there.
It costs around £26 / €30 / $33 for a sleeper cabin each way. It will cost much less if you just want to sit in an uncomfortable seat for that time.
What to expect?
We went in the winter, so they had the heating turned up to “tropical”. We were given clean sheets on the return journey but not the outbound.
The train was over an hour late arriving into Bucharest, so don’t rely on it being on time if you need to catch a flight. That said, the roads were clear and it was 30 Romanian Lei to get to the airport (about €6 / $7 / £5)
The border staff are very surly, you should remain in your cabin while they are on the train or they’ll get even more so.
Do they really change the wheels?
Yes, they do really change the wheels at the border crossing. This is because Moldova’s railway system was introduced by the Russians and consequently has the Russian gauge. Romania’s was based on the European system and so different wheels are required. This takes about two hours and is done in the middle of the night. If you don’t look out of the window, the only thing you’ll notice is a lot of being bumped around.
What to bring?
- You’ll need your passport, valid for at least 6 months, this is checked at the ticket office and at the border. Also make sure you’re allowed to enter Moldova, its not in the EU, so you may need a visa.
- Food and Drink – there is a buffet car on the train, but it serves only light snacks and drinks.