Tiraspol is the capital of Transnistria, which in turn is a country that doesn’t actually exist. It is recognised by only a handful of places around the World, namely similar break away nations within the former USSR. Taking a day trip to Tiraspol will reveal a unique experience into a country stuck in time, with its own government, laws, passports and currency – none of which are internationally recognised.
Tiraspol railway station
Here are my tips on making a day trip by train from Chişinău (or a one-way trip whilst travelling between Moldova and Ukraine)…
Tiraspol has a very limited train service and the only two services that stop at Tiraspol at the time of my visit were Train No. 342 and 065/066.
Unfortunately neither train from Chişinău to Tiraspol operates daily, however the more useful outbound journey is on Train No. 642 which typically operates only on weekends. On the return journey, Train No. 065 and 642 both provide practical connections back to Chişinău – the latter of which departs normally on weekends only.
Tiraspol railway station departure board, although nowadays most services are cancelled ("отменен") indefinitely
Train No. 642 is the Chişinău to Odesa direct service and therefore this train provides a connection to either Chişinău or Odesa. The train operates normally on weekends only.
Train No. 065 is the Chişinău to Moscow direct service, normally operating every other day (check the official Moldovan Railways website for departure dates). This train travels to Chişinău in one direction, and Kiev / Moscow in the other.
Waiting to depart Tiraspol station
Here is a rough timetable of train arrivals and departures from Tiraspol…
To / From Chişinău (71 km)
Train No. 066 Chişinău 23:23 to Moscow arriving Tiraspol at 02:00 (+1) – check dates (but I think it departs Chişinău on “even dates”…)
Train No. 642 Chişinău 06:57 to Odesa arriving Tiraspol at 08:21 – check dates (but I think it normally operates on weekends only)
Train No. 065 Moscow departing Tiraspol at 17:12 to Chişinău 19:38 – check dates (but I think it departs Tiraspol on “even dates”…)
Train No. 642 Odesa departing Tiraspol at 21:04 to Chişinău 22:27 – check dates (but I think it normally operates on weekends only)
To / From Odesa (120 km) and Kiev (627 km)
Train No. 642 Tiraspol 08:25 to Odesa 10:46 – 120km – check dates (but I think it normally operates on weekends only)
Train No. 642 Odesa 18:45 to Tiraspol 21:00 – 120km – check dates (but I think it normally operates on weekends only)
Train No. 066 Chişinău departing Tiraspol 02:07 to Moscow arriving Kiev at 13:00 – check dates (but I think it departs Tiraspol on “even dates”…)
Train No. 065 Moscow departing Kiev 06:16 to Chişinău 19:38, arriving Tiraspol at approximately 17:05 – check dates (but I think it departs Kiev on “odd dates”…)
Ticket for Train No. 642 from Chişinău to Tiraspol on 21.04.2018
Ticket for Train No. 642 from Tiraspol to Chişinău on 21.04.2018
Ticket for Train No. 066 from Chişinău to Tiraspol on 21.04.2018
Train No. 642 Chişinău to Tiraspol – 21 Moldovan Leu = approx 1€ (seated)
Train No. 642 Tiraspol to Chişinău – 21 Transnistrian Ruble = approx 1€ (seated)
Train No. 066 Chişinău to Tiraspol – 102.20 Moldovan Leu = approx 5.20€ (platskartny / 3rd class)
Train No. 066 Tiraspol to Kiev – 611.50 Moldova Leu = approx 31€ (platskartny / 3rd class)
What was the train like?
For further information on Train No. 065/066 visit my “Chişinău to Kiev travel journal."
Train No.342 has three classes available – 1st, 2nd and 3rd. All three classes offer only seated accommodation and on the day I travelled the train was almost empty meaning that you would end up with several seats to yourself anyway – 1st class was actually the busiest.
Modern air conditioned carriages on Train No. 642 - left: 2nd class & right: 3rd class
Entering & exiting Transnistria by train
On arrival, you will probably find one Customs Official at Tiraspol station who will check your bag (if you look foreign) and direct you towards an immigration desk* inside the station – most other passengers (who were probably Transnistrian residents) just walked straight out the side gate without any questions being asked. Saying that, there isn’t much stopping a foreigner walking into the station building and straight out the other side without passing through immigration either (but its best to abide by the local laws to avoid any unnecessary penalties). Note: I arrived by bus.
*I have recently read a report online that states that if you arrived by train you don't get 'stamped' in and therefore you will need to leave by train, or go to the local immigration office in Tiraspol.
On departure back to Chişinău, I was not required to show anything (I did ask) – no customs or passport check required but again, please ask locally to avoid any unnecessary penalties.
Making the journey by Bus from Chişinău
Minibuses to Tiraspol depart from behind Piaţa Centrală – search Gara Centrală Chişinău on Google Maps. The buses depart relatively frequently as it is one of the most popular domestic routes within Moldova so there isn’t much need to check schedules in advance.
The company I used (but there are many others) had departs at 06:30 and 15:00 for 36.50 Moldovan Leu (approximately 2€). This is more expensive than the train but as the buses are more frequent than trains and depart from the city centre, it is a much more convenient option.
Gara Centrală Chişinău and the Moldovan / Transnistrian border
The journey takes around 2 hours with a 20 minute stop at the ‘border.’ You don’t technically leave Moldova but you do enter Transnistria and you will receive a ‘receipt’ of your entry valid up to 24 hours (or less if you tell them that you’re leaving earlier - they are very specific - if you say 8 hours, they will permit you to stay for 10 hours and this will be clearly shown on your 'receipt'). They do no stamp your passport. If you are intending on staying longer, you will need to visit the local immigration office in Tiraspol.
In Tiraspol, just keep Google Maps open to see where you are and tell the driver when you want to be dropped off. The bus passes through the centre and everything is within walking distance.
The official Moldovan Railways website and my “How to travel by train in Moldova” guide
There are always more photos to be shared, but sharing them all on this journal page will just make it look cluttered so if you want to see more photos for inspiration, check out my Flickr “Moldova–2018” album.
Chişinău station - customs checks are carried out at Chişinău station when Train No. 642 arrives
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