Transylvania Travel Information
Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are standard.
Romanian is the official language, but English will be understood in Bucharest and other tourist areas.
Medical facilities in Bucharest are good, but poor in the smaller towns and basic medical supplies are often in short supply. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free or low-cost emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but travel health insurance is strongly advised. There have been a number of Hepatitis A cases in Romania and visitors are advised to seek medical advice about inoculations before travelling. Tap water is safe to drink, although bottled water is widely available. Stray dogs carry rabies and should be avoided. Cases of Avian bird flu have been reported in the country, but no human incidences have been reported. The risk for travellers is very low, but visitors should avoid any contact with domestic, caged or wild birds and ensure that eggs and poultry dishes are well cooked.
Tipping is becoming increasingly common in Romania, and is now expected in all restaurants and bars. A service charge is often included in restaurant bills but a further 5 to 10% tip is expected. Though it is not always necessary to tip them, taxi drivers can be rewarded for good service.
Visitors should take normal safety precautions in Romania; keep valuables safe and be aware of pickpockets and scam artists in major cities. Corruption is rife and visitors should be cautious of policemen demanding fines for spurious offences, or asking to see documents as a way of stealing cash; if approached in this way visitors should offer to go with them to the nearest police station before handing over any money or documents. Valuables, including passports, should not be left in hotel rooms, or near the window of a hotel room when you are there.
Homosexuality, although legal, is frowned upon. A small and still largely closeted gay scene exists in the Romania's largest cities, particularly in Bucharest, which has a few gay clubs. Photography at airports is forbidden.
Business can be quite bureaucratic and old-fashioned. The country adheres to an imbedded hierarchical structure and often it is the eldest who receive the most respect in business and social meetings. It is important to address each person according to their title followed by their surname; 'Domnul' for Mr. and 'Doamna' for Mrs. Romanians prefer a face-to-face approach and like to strengthen personal relationships. Appointments should be made in advance and confirmed. Although the visitor is expected to be punctual the host may be late to arrive. Meetings are often quite formal and a general 'Western' set of old-world manners applies. Business suits are appropriate for meetings. Romanians dislike an overt display of achievement or exaggerated conversation. Business hours are generally 9pm to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.
The direct dialling country code for Romania is +40, and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). There are numerous area codes applying to cities, towns and villages, for example (0)21 for Bucharest. The country is well covered with GSM 900/1800 mobile phone networks. Email and Internet are widely available in the cities and larger towns.
Travellers to Romania do not have to pay duty on either 200 cigarettes, 40 cigars or 200g of tobacco. 2 litres of liquor, 4 litres of beer or wine and gifts to the value of US$1000 are also duty free. Valuable goods, such as jewellery, art, electrical items and foreign currency should be declared on entry.
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