Moldova Travel Information
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are standard.
The official language of Moldova is Romanian, but English will be understood in larger cities like Chisinau.
Tipping is becoming increasingly common in Moldova, and is now expected in all restaurants and bars. A service charge is often included in restaurant bills but a further 5 to 10 percent 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 Moldova; 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.
Visitors to Moldova should not be unduly concerned with transgressing social mores. Moldovans are for the most part polite and friendly, and tend to go out of their way to ingratiate themselves with foreigners. In the more rural areas, women travellers who are smokers might want to light up in private, as there is a social stigma attached to the act. Travellers, and especially those who speak English, are advised to carry their passports with them at all times, as police officials in Moldova have been known to extract bribes from tourists who do not have 'proper identification' on hand. Finally, it seems as though chivalry is alive and well in Moldova - if you really want to fit in, be sure to offer your seat to the elderly on trains and buses, allow others to pass through doorways before you, and be willing to lend a hand if you see someone struggling with heavy luggage.
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. Moldovans 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. Moldovans 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 Moldova is +373, 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)22 for Chisinau. The country is well covered with GSM 900/1800 and 3G mobile phone networks. Internet cafes are available in cities and larger towns.
Travellers to Moldova 18 and older may import up to 200 cigarettes, one litre of wine or spirits, and perfume and gifts in amounts reasonable for personal use.
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