Backpacking in Bender | Transnistria
Posted: June 11 2019
The town of Bender, despite being on the west bank of the Dnister River, is in Transnistria and not, as I had assumed, in Moldova. The border with Moldova proper is 5.7 km out of town, north-west up the R2.
The river would have made the obvious border.
Bender is the name given by Moldova. It is also referred to as Tighina. In Russian, it's Бендеры, Bendery.
On the way back to Chişinău from Tiraspol, I made a stop at the town of Bender.
This is a bonus post. Like when you buy a record and have a double 'A' side or on a DVD, you have those extra scenes at the end that didn't make the cut.
Bender is like that, cos who the f*** goes Backpacking in Bender. Which is a shame cos it's really a double 'A' type of place.
I even stayed the night! Cos anything less than a night is just a day trip.
After my 2 nights at Like Home Hostel in Tiraspol I headed out, once again. Having just a weeks vacation really does suck. But such is life when one is holding down a regular job in an effort to get some big money saved up for the next massive trip. I could have stayed a week in Tiraspol.
It was raining again. After a quick coffee at the Cafe Elegence, I took Trolleybus #19 which runs down October 25th Street to Bender.
Last stop in bender is on Lazo street. Fare for the ride is 3Rub and the journey takes about 30 minutes
There aren't any hostels in Bender. For hotels, you have the choice of the Hotel Prietenia or the rather expensive Hotel Starye Bendery but there are apartments for rent though for solo backpackers the cost is not so budget-friendly but if you are 2 or more, you will have a ball. I booked a night at the Apartment VIP. Check-in was at 2. Well, I messaged the owners, Vasily and Viktoria that I'd arrive at 2, as they don't live at the apartment, so I killed time, as I was as ever, very early, with a spot of lunch. My first taste of Chişinău beer hit the spot, purely to wash down the Transnistrian khachapuri I hasten to add.
Apartment VIP was a good choice. A massive living room with an equally massive sofa for about 10 people to watch Russian TV, with fully equipped kitchen, though I only made 1 cup of tea and 1 cup of 3 in 1 coffee. There were 2 bathrooms. My ensuite had a bath.
My bedroom was equally big with a double bed, just for yours truly:
And as ever, it's always time to go out exploring. Just round the corner I came across bullet ridden buildings.
Railway stations are always built with flair and creativity. Below is Bender-1 station. All traffic uses the Bender-2 station!
Lenin, he is everywhere.
Then I went passed the bus station. CCCP? WTH
Which turned out to be some small cafe.
And the inside of the bus station, is truly from the Soviet era. I guess it's used as a waiting room in winter as the ticket kiosks are no longer inside.
I couldn't resist this somewhat covert shot of the checkpoint just before the bridge on the road that continues to Tiraspol. This is where I would have put the main checkpoint, with the border, being the river, thus making Bender in Moldova proper. But what do I know? It's manned by Russian peacekeepers.
Then I walked up to the fortress.
Eternal flame and another Russian T 34 tank.
On the way back, I stopped at the supermarket. Bread, cheese, beer which I consumed down by the flooded river.
Then it was back to my VIP apartment. I stopped off at another little kiosk for some more beers. I needed to relax a little bit. So I filled the bath up and soaked myself. Had a great sleep.
Marshrutkas back to Chişinău leave from the central bus station, fairly regularly. Buy your ticket from the Kacca. The fare is 36.75 Rubles. You will be able to pay in Moldovan Lev if you want. I know that from Tiraspol to Chişinău, it costs 40Rubles or 50MDL (where as coming the other way, it's only 37).
The check point is just outside of town. Here is a sneaky shot.
The border guy will get on and just take a quick look at everyone's ID. I got to keep my migration card. Another nice souvenir. 50 meters down the road, you stop again. The driver has to open up the back and they have a quick look for what ever, then it's plain sailing back to Chişinău. Journey time was just over an hour.
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Travelling the world solo, since 1992, as a low-budget backpacker.