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Moldova Spring 2018 Datasheet 14 days into a 90 day frolic
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nola Offline
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Moldova Spring 2018 Datasheet 14 days into a 90 day frolic
Quick overview:

Chisinau is indeed a small sleepy city so if you're a 7 days a week party type or have less than a few days to stay I would NOT recommend it. It’s a hidden gem for people with the ability for longer term stays. Also a ONS or SNL is not out of the question here.

Clubs in the city are pretty much non-existent, and locals seem to come in social circles but they are very open to foreigners joining them for a fun venue hop or just a chat. Nightlife is almost exclusively lounges, and there isn't a lot of unaccompanied women out - you usually find them in groups but in most cases they are not dating (a lot of friend zoned guys with girls.)

I think this is a bar game city so far. I've been here for around 14 days but I have close to one year experience overall in the country over the past few years. I also easily make friends and play social circle game. My friend is a recovering beta and did marginally okay on Ukraine it'll interesting to see how he does in Moldova long term.

Language:

Language is a weird situation - Either people speak “Moldovan” (Romanian) or Russian and or Turkish...and most speak both if not all three. Signs are mostly in Romanian, but restaurant menus usually list two of the three along with english. If you head South it’s Ganguz which is a mixture of Turkish, Russian and Romanian which is remnants of the Ottoman Empire due to economic isolation. So be prepared for a adventure in language.

Despite past reports, English penetration is pretty good as my travel buddy only speaks Spanish and English which I think gives him an advantage with Romanian (English here is much more widely spoken than Central or Eastern Ukraine) I’d suspect due to the Peace Corps presence and study/work abroad programs. I speak decent Russian which is useful as well. I think someone who only speaks English will do fine here since both of us have survived without using translator apps.

Restaurants usually have English menus printed up, and waiters / bartenders are quick to help offer recommendations if they don’t have one around.

Costs:

Despite being noted as the poorest country in Europe in general, the capital city of Chisinau or Kishinev will be more expensive than most cities in Ukraine and is closer to Kiev prices. As of this writing, Moldovan Lei (MDL) was about twice the value of Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). Dinner for two along with 3-4 drinks a person usually comes to between 600-1000 MDL ($36 - $60 USD). Drinks at a bar are between 50-100 lei. Hotels can easily be 60 Euro a night for basic accommodations. All is negotiable if you feel the need to barter.



Taxis:

Yandex-Taxi App is going to be your best way to travel. About as convenient as a ride-sharing app, you can generally get a taxi within 5-10 minutes. Really late nights or off nights, you sometimes have to hail down a “gypsy cab” on the street. I caught a few of these when Yandex failed, and it takes 10-20 minutes standing on a busy street before one stops. Both rides were 50 lei regardless of distance, and ironically both were 5-series BMWs. Hotels and bartenders will call you a taxi if you ask, but they usually just use Yandex.

Pharmacies:

Similar experience to Ukraine. Pharmacies are everywhere, and most are closed by 22:00. There are 24 hour places, but you will have to walk a little. Controlled substances require something like a prescription. Drugs are mostly from Romania, with some items coming in from Russia. TIP - google the generic version of any medication, and start looking for the brand names distributed through Russia or the Baltic countries. Pharmacists usually know what you are asking for if you use a Brand name, even if they are sold under a different label.

Helpful to know - Sildenafil (generic of Viagra) can be found everywhere without a prescription. 50 mg tablets are a secret weapon to have on you at the club or bar.


Day-game:

Boulevard Stefan cel Mare, Park Katedralny, Botanica.

My buddy and I didn't explore these options too much, but Malldova, Grand Hall (kind of like AvePlaza in Kharkiv, Ukraine) and Atrium are three shopping centers you can try for picking-up.

Accommodations:

Airbnb is by far the best option - plenty of listings, fair prices, and logistics help with local talent. The city center isn't large, and you can get almost anywhere by taxi for 30 lei at the time of this post.

Radisson Blu - (for high rollers) typical high-quality western hotel, located right in the heart of the city. Stayed here one night, and it certainly meets all your needs. Beware the bar and lounge is mostly pros and semi pros.

Hotel Cosmos - this place is old-school soviet which has been mentioned before on the forum. It was probably the height of fashion in 1984, but the rooms haven't been changed since. My friend and I stayed for 4-5 nights, and literally found bullet holes in the mattress of one of the rooms we stayed in. WiFi kept cutting out, but staff is friendly and accommodating.

Generally, this is a hotel you come to just to tell stories about later. I did find and collect an old 1980's inactive soviet bug which is a pretty cool souvenir. We tried out several different rooms on upper floors. The 10th floor is the only "renovated floor" all other floors still have non working rotary phones so no room service.



Long-term Rentals:

Check out 999.md for long-term apartment rentals. I had a local help go through the listings because of all the Romanian, but this is definitely the cheapest way to go. Take a look at sections outside center city: Botanica, Riscani, and Buiucani. They are all within a short taxi ride back to the center, and all have everything you need to live - groceries, restaurants, bars, etc.
1 bedroom apartments in city center or Botanica in a nice building should be 300-400 Euros per month.


Bars:

Barbar - Really seems to be the only game in town. Owner pulls in the ladies, and he spits some solid game himself. I ran into him one night at the bar, and he looks like a tattooed Jerry Garcia - real clown-game level shit. Fridays and Saturdays are the nights to come, and get there around 12 when it starts picking up. DJs played mostly 90s hip hop. Talent is very solid. It will not disappoint anyone.

Whos Cocktail Bar - Open all night, this place has a decent setup but is generally quiet. Good place to head with a group of people late night.

Restaurants:

Madame Wong - Awesome Asian food and good cocktails. The owner/bartender is an awesome guy who showed us around the city almost immediately. Food here is solid, and it’s a good place for a 2nd or 3rd date.

Smokehouse - American BBQ and craft beer place owned by a former American Peace-corp worker and some Moldovan partners. Food is consistent, and it attracts any american within the borders of Moldova. Tables and general setup works really well if you want to hang out with a group. Tuesday Night trivia is good for meeting Westerners and connecting with larger groups.

Toro - Moldovan steak and wine restaurant on Strada Armeneascu. Probably best local meat you can find around Chisinau for a restaurant. Recommend the grilled calf tenderloin cooked over charcoal or veal. Wine selection is also excellent. Good meetup spot for a date.

Lud’s Pub - Classic Burger and Beer spot. Has a bunch of tables with good views of central square. Saw a guy playing mini-oligarch game here with two 8s. Was a local tatted up skinny hipster carrying around his Mercedes key fob for everyone to see.

Jack's Bar & Grill - One of the few 24 hour places in Chisinau, this standard place is just around the corner from Hotel Cosmos and across from Sky Bar. Food is nothing particularly special.

Eli Pili - Another 24 hour restaurant/lounge that is a little more local flavor than Jack's. Close to the Parliament and center city. Lot's of food choices after everything else in town closes.

The Penthouse Cafe - Open all night, good lounge and bar with an outdoor patio. Located just off the main Boulevard Stefan cel Mare, there's usually people around until 3-4 am. It's a little more upscale, so there is potential for pulling 7-8s here from groups. (good place to suit up)


Lounges:

Solaris - An underground lounge and DJ spot next to Bar Valentina on Strada Mihai Eminescu, this is popular spot with local artists. Open late, it’s a good place to spend time with locals.

Sky Bar - Pretty much all pro's and semi-pro's. (Next to Cosmos)

Mojito - Decent food but bad for meeting people.

Across the street from Mojito is Cocos Prive which is a decent spot Thursday - Saturday

Teatrum - across the alley from a strip club called The Secret is very good for gaming Friday - Saturday.

Drive is closed permanently which has been noted as a good spot in other Moldova datasheets.


Other Things to do for Fun:

Shooting Range - Magnum Shooting Club in Botanica - about a 10 minute cab from city center. The guys working here are pretty cool. They’ve got a limited selection of pistols and semi-automatics to shoot, but it’s enough to keep most people entertained. Cost is also surprisingly cheap - less than $100 for 2-3 hours and 5 different weapons including ammo.

Sauna - Local people invited my friend and I out to a 24-hour sauna, which we later found out is a common place to hang out and drink if you are with Moldovan men (not a gay thing) just a local nuance good way to build a social circle and talk about female conquest while completely hammered drunk.

Wine Tasting - Cricova is one of the more famous wineries in Moldova, it is just a little outside of Chisnau to the North. Another, MILEŞTII MICI, is a government-regulated winery a short drive south of Chisnau that is famous for kilometers of underground wine cellars you can drive your car through.

You can rent a car and drive around the country for pretty cheap. I’d suggest heading down to Komrat which is very boring but a fun exotic travel experience, (think Borat)


Transnistria -

Transnistria (a non IMF recognized sub state which has very good talent in Bender and Tiraspol which is a fun Soviet throwback up north near Dubasari you can feel a western god factor but I would only recommend Transnistria for Russian speakers or guys with more extensive exotic travel experience capable of handling authorities if approached. Foreign travelers have been hassled by border patrols - anything from getting shaken down for a bribe, to extensive questioning by authorities. Northern Moldova / Northern Transnistria can be dangerous, because it is known for being an unofficial weapons trading hub.

Activities like taking pictures can range from anything to putting a dent in your wallet, the loss of your phone or worse: land you in custody.

That said it’s generally pretty safe for experienced travellers otherwise. But not much going on otherwise. I see no point in visiting Transnistria for girls specifically.

NOTE:
Chisinau is a Thursday, Friday, Saturday city without much late-night options. Grocery stores to buy alcohol, mixer or cigarettes almost all close by 23:00 or 00:00.
(This post was last modified: 04-17-2018 07:57 PM by nola.)
04-17-2018 07:02 PM
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Moldova Spring 2018 Datasheet 14 days into a 90 day frolic - nola - 04-17-2018 07:02 PM

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