Night train from Bucharest to Chisinau: everything you need to know + VIDEO
Do you have plans to travel to Moldova? Then probably you are traveling from the Romanian capital Bucharest to Moldova. Most people fly to Bucharest and continue to the Moldovan capital Chisinau. And some people make a big trip in eastern Europe and go from Romania to Moldova. But how do you travel from Bucharest to Chisinau? By night train of course! The night train from Bucharest to Chisinau is a cool experience. In this article I share everything you need to know for this train trip.
The night train from Bucharest to Chisinau (and the other way around)
1. From where leaves the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau?
The night train from Bucharest to Chisinau leaves from Gara de Nord, the northern train station in Bucharest. This train station is in the north-west of the city center. From Piata Unirii you can take the metro (10 minutes, go to stop Gara de Nord). There are also multiple busses going to the train station, like bus 79 / 86 / 133. DON’T go to the stop named Basarab. On the map it looks like the train station, but from here you still have to walk quite a bit to the entrance of the train station.
2. Do I have to switch trains during the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau?
from Bucharest to Chisinau is a direct train. This train is leaving every day at 19.15 to Chisinau. There are also other trains that you can take to Chisinau, but these ones are not direct. So then you do have to transfer to another train. The direct trip with the night train takes about 13,5 hours. You arrive around 8.45 in the morning in Chisinau.
3. Where can I buy a ticket for the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau?
It’s not possible to buy a ticket online for the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau. Maybe in the future. Luckily the train trip is not super popular, so it’s okay to book the ticket at the same day.
You can buy the ticket at the desk in the train station. Some people like to do it a day beforehand, but I did it 1 hour before and that was totally fine as well. Because not many people are booking this night train it’s barely ever full. Sometimes you even have the whole train compartment for yourself.
In the hall where they sell all the train tickets you search for the cash desk with the sign “bilete in traffic international”. It’s probably desk number 1. You can pay with cash or by card.
Make sure you are on time at the train station, because the train will leave on time. I was here 1 hour before, so I could eat something before going to the train. If you don’t know the train station yet it’s maybe better to be here 1,5 hours in advance. The train will be at the platform way in advance, so you don’t have to search for it last minute.
4. How much does the ticket for the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau cost?
I payed 136 lei for my ticket, one way. That’s less than €30 euros. And think about it: it’s not only the price for your transportation; it included a night of accommodation as well. Some people told me they think it’s a lot of money, but I disagree!
Make sure they book a ticket for you for a bed, not for a chair. You definitely do not wanna end up there. I went into this compartment by accident when I was searching for my bed. I can basically sleep everywhere, but this would even be impossible for me. So ask and make sure they book a BED for you!
5. Can I leave my stuff somewhere in Bucharest?
Some people only go for a couple of days to Moldova and then return to Romania. So it can be easier to travel light with only a small bag. If you wanna leave any luggage in Bucharest first check your accommodation. Many accommodations have a luggage room and it’s probably not a problem to store it there for a couple of days.
If this is not possible you can also leave your luggage at the train station in Bucharest. There are lockers next to the cash desks. For these lockers you pay 22 lei per 24 hours. You can even charge your devices, because there are outlets and USB-ports inside the lockers as well. Good solution for a couple of days, right?
6. Is there any internet in the night train?
No, there is no internet in the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau. It’s an old Sovjet-style train – and that’s part of the experience. So enjoy a night without any internet. Maybe download some podcasts or movies for the road, to use offline. By the way, if you have a Romanian SIM card you can probably use your internet data in Romania, until the border.
7. Are there outlets in the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau?
There are no outlets in the compartments, but I was surprised to find an outlet in the hallway. There are not many, so if you need one you immediately have to ‘conquer’ it.
8. Food and drinks for the night train
As far as I know there isn’t a place in the night train where you can buy food or drinks. So it’s smart to bring some yourself. If you forgot to buy anything, it’s not a big disaster, because most of the trip you will probably sleep anyway. But it’s nice to have some snacks like nuts or chocolate with you. And maybe you (and your travel buddies) wanna have a beer or a shot of vodka before you go to bed. Also: vodka is a great way to make friends in Eastern Europe.
Gara de Nord has a lot of restaurants and cafes where you can buy some dinner. There are the big chains like KFC, Subway and McDonalds and some smaller shops. Besides that there are some shops and bakeries where you can get some snacks.
9. What can you do during this train trip?
Well, you mainly… sleep. It’s a night train after all. The beds are surprisingly comfortable, so you can sleep for a couple of hours. You get a bedding set from the train conductor, so you don’t have to bring any yourself. Unfortunately it’s already dark when you leave Bucharest, so you can’t really enjoy staring out of the window. But you can do that during the sunrise in Moldova. Furthermore here are some ideas of what you can do during this train trip:
– Read a book. Now you have time for that. No excuses.
– Download some podcasts, movies or tv shows (Netflix has the download option for offline use).
– If you work remotely like me you can also spend some hours working on your laptop. The table in the compartment is not big, but you can definitely use it. And in the hallway there is an outlet if you need some electricity.
– Bring some games or a deck of cards with you to entertain yourself and other travellers.
10. Passport control at the border during the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau
Shortly after the train leaves the conductor will take your train ticket and check your passport. This is totally normal, so don’t feel anxious to give your ticket to him. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then first take a picture of your ticket with your phone. That way you have proof of your ticket.
In the middle of the night (around 3.30) they will wake you up at the border between Romania and Moldova. And they don’t do this nicely. But luckily they don’t need much of your time. They will check your passport and your luggage and that’s that. If you have an European passport you can stay up to 90 days in Moldova without registration or arranging a visa.
After that stay awake a bit longer to see the change of the railway system. Stalin wanted to have a different system than the rest of Europe, back in the days. That way other trains couldn’t easily move into the Russian empire. It sounded like a great plan then, but nowadays it’s mostly annoying and time consuming. But as a tourist it’s interesting to experience and see it!
11. Is the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau safe?
I’m a solo female traveler and I didn’t feel unsafe during this trip at all. I don’t think people book the night train very often, so there is a big chance you have the compartment for yourself. And I think they also check if they can put women together with other women. I would definitely have felt uncomfortable sleeping with a foreign man in one compartment. But I was sharing mine for half the trip with another woman.
I think in that case you can ask the conductor to change you to another compartment. Especially if you can explain that you feel uncomfortable. Maybe if that doesn’t help a bribe does (yes, there is still corruption).
And then my luggage. Normally I wear my passport, money and my phone close to me. Like under my sweater, in a small bag under my clothes or in the pockets of my jacket. The rest of my stuff I just put in my bag and I lock it. I use the bag then as a pillow or put it under my feet. Of course they can still try to take the whole bag, but I don’t make it easy for them. And this way at least they can’t steal one thing out of the bag.
12. How do you pronounce Chisinau – the capital of Moldova?
So I always thought it was pronounced as “Sisinau”, with a s-sound. But the Romanians actually pronounce the “chi” as “ki”. So it’s pronounced as “Kisinau”. And if you wanna do it the Russian way you say “Kisinev”. Hope this helps!
Also read: 11 cool things to do in Chisinau, Moldova
Travel Movie – night train from Bucharest to Chisinau
I hope this information is useful to you if you’re planning to take the night train from Bucharest to Chisinau. If you have any more questions about this train trip or both countries, just let me know in the comments or by email. I love to help!