Chişinău  (Russian Kishinyov, Ukrainian Kishiniv, pronounced "Kishinau" with "nau" as in the English word "now") is the capital of Moldova with a population of around 790,000 plus 250,000 people coming each day for work and entertainment from all over the country and abroad. The city's territory including its closest suburbs covers an area of 635 sq.km.
Chisinau is very wealthy compared to the rest of the country, as Moldova is not a very rich country. As is common in developing countries, you are likely to see great disparities in wealth. It's also very much a post-Soviet city, with both the good and bad qualities associated with it. By other side you'll see many modern and great buildings of steel, concrete and glass.
The majority of the middle and working class population lives in blocks of flats. These look standardly, maybe not too nice but are not "dangerous" as similar areas may be considered to be in Western Europe. Do not come to Moldova expecting Western standards everywhere, but the situation is improving every year. Here you can see 4 and 5 star hotels, great restaurants and cafes, coffee houses and bars. Many restaurants and almost all the hotels in the city accept the credit cards. There are hundreds of ATMs throughout the city where you can use your bank cards.
Crime is relatively low although usual precautions apply.
 Get in
 By plane
Chişinău International Airport  is served by many airlines like AirBaltic , Air Moldova , Austrian , Lufthansa , Moldavian Airlines , Tarom , Turkish Airlines  and S7 Aircompany with flights around the Europe and Asia, notably to Athens, Bucharest, Budapest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Madrid, Moscow, Munich, Riga, Rome, Timisoara, Vienna, Vilnius, Saint Petersburg, Varna, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Bolognaand Surgut. In Sep 2013, WizzAir  will commence low-cost flights from Rome and Venice. From November 2013, FlyDubai will operate direct flights twice weekly to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
There are three taxi companies which operate at the airport. The fixed fares range from about 80 to 120 MDL depending on which sector of the city you are going. While better than in the past, the taxi system is still not perfect and it is likely they will try to come up with a reason to charge you extra. It is cheaper to wait for a taxi dropping someone off at the airport and use that one to return to your destination. Always agree the price before entering the taxi. The cheaper alternative is to take minibus № 165 which takes you trough Botanica to the center, Izmail street. Tickets cost 3 lei; luggage will cost you another ticket. The minibuses are white vans leaving from the airport parking lot. If you leave the airport building from the arrivals area, turn right and walk towards the end of the building. The buses are marked with the number 165 on a sign behind the windshield and you can flag one down passing you, or walk up to the ones still parking. Don't open the sliding door even though you have luggage; for some reason they always use the co-drivers door to get on and off.
 By train
There is one Central Railway Station. The trains depart to Europe through Romania and to CIS (Community of Independent States), especially to Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia.
The most popular route is from Bucharest, daily overnight trains leave Gara de Nord station at 7:40 PM and arrive at 8:52 AM (Sep 2013). The 'couchette' - shared sleeper cabin, cost approximately 120 Romanian Lei purchased the day of in Bucharest (feb2013). The 2 berth sleeper ticket cost 191.74 Lei for the train ticket and a compulsory reservation for an additional 47.67 Lei purchased a few days in advance (Sep 2013)
Another useful route is from Warsaw, departing every second day taking two nights (38 h). Chişinău is also has frequent departures for Moscow and . Several cities in Ukraine also have daily connections.
 By car
Note that the quality of the roads in Moldova is quite bad. The road leading from Chisinau to Leuseni is pretty nice. You are likely to be sharing the road with trucks, cars, and livestock, all moving at various speeds without a lot of regard for safety. It is thus better to rely on public transport, which is very cheap and (mostly) reliable.
 By bus
Note that Chisinau has three bus stations - the central one (serving mainly in-country destinations), Gara de Nord (for in-country destinations on the northern part of the country like Sorocca, Rezina, Ocnita, for travel to Odessa, Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine) and the larger Gara de Sud (for in-country destinations in the southern part of the country like Comrat, Cahul and for journeys to Romania). You can reach Gara de Sud from central Chisinau on rutiera (microbus) number 120, 124, 180 or 192 for 3 lei. Gara Nord is served by rutiera 163 and trolleybus #9, along with a bunch of others. You can check bus timetables (both in-country, and international destinations) at this website:  .
There are several buses throughout the day from Bucharest, Odessa, Iasi, Chernivtsi, and Lviv. The journey to/from Odessa takes around five hours and costs around $10 US. Most Odessa-bound buses go through southern Moldova, avoiding the Transnistrian region - these will be marked as going through Palanka or Causeni. The journey to Iasi is three and a half hours long, with travel on to Brasov (price to Iasi:100 lei). There are many buses and maxi-taxis headed to Bender and Tiraspol in Transnistria, about one every forty minutes (25 lei for a ninety minute journey).
 Get around
It is highly recommendable as a non Russian or Romanian speaking person, to have a local person/hotel or restaurant call your taxi, as few Taxi drivers speak proper English. In case you need a receipt for your travel, you need to ask for this specifically when ordering. Also payment by credit card is impossible.
Please remember to bring small cash, as sometimes they will not be "able" to give back on anything larger than 50 bills, but this is rare. Average prices vary across company/individual taxi driver, and it is fairly inconsistent. Expect prices between 30-60 for shorter rides and 50-150 Lei for longer rides. From Malldova to Airport the prices vary and should be expected to be around 80-130 Lei.
Pay good attention to the traffic as a pedestrian, as the driving skills are rather poor combined with the fact that no one really follows normal traffic laws. Accidents are often occuring, and pedestrians should be very careful in terms of crossing streets and especially avoid the Maxi-taxis
[add listing] See
[add listing] Do
Note: Theatre, Music, Dance frequently starts at 6pm not 8pm.
[add listing] Buy
There are a number of shops, malls and shopping centers in Chisinau.
If you are just visiting Chişinău, consider buying a special cognac selection of about 30 small bottles, with different sorts of cognac. It can make a nice gift. Moldovan wines are deservedly famous across the former Soviet Union, yet are little known in Europe. Take the opportunity to sample them. Cigarettes are also much cheaper in Moldova than in the EU, so you might do well to stock up before leaving the country (although note that there are strict limits on the number of cigarettes you can bring across an EU border).
[add listing] Eat
Chisinau is a good place for food lovers. There are plenty of good places to eat all over Chisinau. The cheap, tasty food that is very popular with the locals is served in most places. For better service and more diverse food selection, there are a lot of small restaurants and cafes. Some restaurants have prices comparable to Europe, although if you eat only in those you may find yourself being ripped off. For a quick lunch, try fast food stores and pizzerias, these can be found on nearly every corner. Beef is often under the veal part of the menu.
For groceries, there are small shops all over. Some are even located right in front of the apartment blocks just a few steps away from their entrances. For harder-to-find items, head to a supermarket. You will frequently also see markets or even one or two random people selling fruit and vegetables, and sometimes other products such as honey or "brinza" (type of cheese). The majority of these are fresh and perfectly safe to eat and frequently better than what is found in a supermarket.
For fresh fruits and vegetables, open-air markets are the best option. 'Piata Centrala' - 'Central Market' is - as the name implies - in the center of the city and runs more than two whole city blocks. Other districts/neighborhoods such as Ciocana also have large markets. Most of the items for sale are locally-produced, but there are a lot of sellers who sell imports; mostly oranges, bananas and other tropical fruits/vegetables. Some say that it is best to buy meat and dairy products from supermarkets or shops because they think the quality is much better than in the market for nearly the same prices.
However, the vendors at the market will let you taste the cheese prior to your purchase so you can decide if it is something that you want to eat. When you first walk into the 'cheese halls', it may look like all of the vendors standing next to each other are selling the same product For hard cheese which tend to be re-sold from larger distributors, it may be the same. However, for cheeses that are locally-made, there are slight variations that arise from even slight differences in technique, variations in the level of salt for curing, differences in feed. 'Oi' means sheep, so this will have a slightly different flavor than cow 'vaca' or goat 'capra' cheeses. 'Cas' is a softer cheese, that is not aged like some of the other 'branza' which tends to be harder and saltier and recommended for Mamaliga - corn polenta. If you are uncertain about how to communicate the quantity you want, you can start by giving the vendor 20Lei or 40Lei depending on if you want a smaller or larger piece. Or, when they suggest a certain piece that might look too large, you can say 'jumatate' which means 'half', and then they will weigh it and tell you the price. You can ask them to write it down if you need by showing a pen and paper.
A classic 'fast-food' is the 'langos' which are fried dough with either 'cartofi' - potatoes, 'branza' - cheese, 'varza' - cabbage, or 'ficat' - liver. These are all made in the bakery in the second story of one of the buildings near the market and are sold by different vendors in identical glass wheel carts in different parts of 'Piata Centrala'.
A quick meal can also be put together with the marinated or pickled dishes that are sold at 'Piata Centrala'. Depending on the vendors, you might find marinated eggplant with onions, marinated shredded carrot, squash or mushrooms. There are also re-hydrated sea grasses (they said from the Black Sea) in white or green curly varieties in whole bunches, or smoother grasses that are more shredded. I didn't catch the names, but again, they will give you samples.
The orange Beleas stalls all around the city offer cheap and warm food which is very good in winter, and usually "quick and tasty" as advertised (repede si gustos) in Romanian. However they may not always heat it up properly which can mean it might not be so good so ask for fierbinte (boiling). Also, although it is usually nice, don't think about where it might have been before you bought it.
Foisor for cheap blini (pancakes/crepes) and zaema at 16 lei.
The canteen in the basement of the court building across from ASEM University (Academia de Studii Economice din Moldova) is open from 11-12 and 1-4. The simple food is a great value for money (25 lei for soup, main dish, and chefir; 40 lei max for a meal; 2 lei for tea).
Il Panino (Sandwich and coffee shop), Decebal 91, Botanica (on the Decebal Boulevard, some 100 meters down from the Elat commercial center.), ☎ +373 22 558 008. 8.30-22.00. Il Panino is an italian style small, friendly and budget-friendly cafe that offers large sandwiches, coffees, fresh juices, free WiFi. 3-5 USD (PLN 16,68). (46.993606,28.859536) edit
Express Bravo Cafenea Bar, Stefan cel Mare si Sfant 120? (This is a small place tucked behind a large green sign for Banca de Economii. It is across the street from the Green Hills Nistru Cafe, diagonal to the Southeast from the Mihai Eminescu Theatre). I walked in thinking that I would just get a quick coffee and was quite surprised that there was so much savory local food. It was arranged in trays and on plates behind glass. The menu changes and depending on who is working they might let you taste some before choosing a particular dish. When I was there, they served various kinds of soups, fish, vegetables and desserts. The coffee was not as strong as I was looking for and very sweet. However, a plus for me is that they use ceramic dishes and metal utensils instead of plastic/disposables. I wouldn't say that the staff knows English, but you can pick up a tray and point to what you want to eat. 10 - 45 Lei, or 1-4 USD. edit
Alex Neo... SRL Armeneasa 63? Located about mid-way along the northeast side of 'Piata Centrala' just past one of the market entrances. There is yellow lettering on the glass windows that says 'bauturuii and racoritoare. There are also letters above the door that used to read 'BERE' (Beer) and now is missing a letter and reads 'BE E" etc. The name of the store is written in very small letters next to the door, 10 - 30 Lei, or 1-3 USD, If you ask for 'cafea natural', they can make you either a short or long espresso. The food that they have is more like appetizers - meat patties with bread, chicken kabob with onions. There are three tables and a couple stools. A lot of places are similar to this.
In general, if it is a small place that doesn't have a graphic designer who made the logo, it is likely to be more affordable.
The cafe at Sun City that is built over the roadway has some of the best zaema in the city, despite its slow service.
Andy's Pizza is a fast food restaurant which is found all over the city. The quality of the food is unfortunately very variable depending on which dish and which outlet you go to, with some of the food being absolutely gross especially the pizza.
Pizza House, 133 Stefan Cel Mare, tel: 23-51-62, serves a variety of dishes including pizza, pasta and local favorites. They have a lunch special for about 50 Lei. Prices for a full meal range 40-100 Lei.
La Placinte is another restaurant owned by the same people, serving traditional Moldovan cuisine. The quality of the food is far more reliable and good, at decent affordable prices far below that found in Western Europe. In the winter, they have hot mulled wine.
Robin pub - medium sized place with a friendly English style pub atmosphere. This pub has a wide variety of meals from fish to pasta. Staff know a little English and menu is in English as well. This place is all smoking area. The food is fast, hot and decent.
McDonald's is an option where the menu will be the same as in the U.S. (plus beer).
Marius - probably the most notable and expensive in Chisinau. Usually a lunch will costs 300 euros per person. Located on 41/1 Mihai Eminescu street. Excelent French cuisine will be a true pleasure for gourmands.
The restaurant owned by the Green Hills company on Stefan Cel Mare blvd. is excellent, prices are comparable to European ones.
Symposium wine bar, offers a variety of meals including steak, lamb, and pasta. They have an excellent selection of Moldovan wines. Prices for a full meal with drinks range from 250-500 Lei.
Beer House bar and restaurant on C. Negruzzi blvd., has a wide range of beers (some brewed on the premises) and a good menu. Prices for a full meal with drinks range from 150-500 Lei.
Panna Cotta Restaurant and Dessert Shoppe, Mitropolit G. Banulescu-Bodoni nr. 22, Northeast of Cathedral Park almost to the corner where Tucano Cafe is located. 022 200 515 In addition to Italian food, they also have Moldovan dishes. And of course, amazing desserts. 75 - 200 Lei. 
Uzbek restaurant on Str. Mihai Eminescu between the theatre and the filarmonic 150 - 500 Lei
[add listing] Drink
Drinks such as vodka are served on their own. So don't be surprised if your vodka sprite is served as a 2 separate drinks. Also club soda seems difficult to procure, at least in English.
One of the very best wines of Moldova is from the wine plantation of Purcari and even if you live in the United States you can buy Purcari wines from Purcari and their importer Moldova Traders ( www.moldovtraders.com )
If you are visiting in February, there is a huge wine convention held at MoldExpo.
There are more than 40 night clubs in Chisinau, making its night life vibrant and dynamic. Here are some of the best of them.
A wide bar range and a variety of recipes will surprise even the most demanding taste. Also, there is always fresh beer, and a huge selection of cocktails and alcoholic drinks.
Today, this plight is continued by the heroes of our time. On this same place, but with a different name – Military Club, the bright and orange future, promises a new milestone in the capital-city era.
[add listing] Sleep
rooms(some are windowless). Service is poor and visitors are not allowed to enter the hotel.
Private apartments for rent in Mihai Eminescu Street n.50, office 311" Tel. 00373/22/226962", email: firstname.lastname@example.org url="[http://www.chisinau-kishinev.com/ita/index.php?name=cazarea" you can find comfortable private flats in the city centre starting from 35/euro per night".
 Stay safe
Use your common sense at all times! Be aware that when entering some buildings at night, you will have to walk through unlit alleyways. So when traveling through Chişinău, always carry a small flash light. The street lights are quite sparsely positioned and it is a good idea to plan your arrival for day-light hours.
Use vigilance as a pedestrian and don't expect vehicles to stop for you. Pedestrian crossing tunnels can be a big help when they are well-lit. Some are well-populated with small stores such as photocopying services, nail salons etc. However, some are quite dark and you may want to avoid these by walking a small distance out of your way - but in a way which feels safe to you.
Watch out about night life: the U.S. State Department warns about Russian dating schemes also very common in Moldova and other kind of financial scams. Though, the average backpacker has very little to worry about unless looking for a "Russian bride".
Also, it is worth noting there is occasional police corruption aimed at foreigners. This will usually involve getting arrested for something ridiculously minor, with extra fictional offenses added on for dramatic effect, in an attempt to scare you into paying a "high" bribe (maybe a few euros). Most police will not speak any English, and you can expect a lengthy lecture in Romanian/Russian. Be sure to always carry at least a good quality photocopy of your passports. However, this corruption is very rare and usually requires one to actually commit a crime.
English is spoken in restaurants and some of the markets. Even some taxi drivers speak a little English. Young people are much more likely to speak English than the older generation. In Chişinău most people know Russian and Romanian. If you plan to travel in the villages outside Chişinău it would be helpful to pick up some Romanian as Romanian is the major language there. The other major cities (Tiraspol and Bălţi) are primarily Russian speaking. In Gagauzia a Turkish dialect is spoken. Only 30% of the people in Moldova speak some English and the country is far behind with schools that teach the English language.
There is only a single national broadcast television station. For the most part, TV channels are piped in from Russia, Ukraine, Romania and even Georgia. Euronews, Eurosport, CNN, Discovery Channel, etc. are on cable, but in Russian mostly. Not every home in the city has continual hot water. If you will be staying in a private home, be sure to ASK whether there is 24-hour hot water.
There are public restroom facilities which will be marked 'WC', 'Toalete' and/or 'Viceu'. 'Barbati' for men and 'Femei' for women. Use generally costs 2 Lei for cleaning upkeep and the attendant will give you toilet paper.
There are many embassies and consulates in Chisinau. here are some of them.
 Get out