Posted: June 9 2019
Read before you go. Transnistria for the backpacker
Transnistria or Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, PMR for short, is a de facto state in Eastern Europe that has declared independence from Moldova.
Transnistria is recognised by only 3 other non recognised states, Abkhazia, Republic of Artsakh aka - Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. The UN consider it a part of Moldova.
Where exactly, is PMR?
It's a thin sliver of land on the eastern edge of Moldova. The border with Moldova is 411km and the border with Ukraine is 405km.
From Tiraspol to the border just west of Bender is 13km and to Odessa it's only 99km.
I found this map on the side of the post office on October 25th street:
Getting there and away:
There is no passenger airport in Transnistria. The airport is for military use and cargo only. So you have to come in from Moldova or Ukraine.
Marshrutkas and regular buses run from the main bus station, which is behind the central market in Chisinau, to Tiraspol where the bus station is located in front of the train station.
Just before Bender, you'll get to the check point. We need to register with the authorities here. They ask in broken English, how many days you will be staying and the name of your hotel. I told them 3 days but they gave me a week. I said that I would be staying at the Like Home Hostel. They are not interested in your reservation, they just need to enter the name of the hostel in the computer.
Here's my migration card:
It goes without saying, don't lose it, you'll need it when you leave.
There is no need to register with the MFA in Tiraspol. Everything is done at the border. If you want to extend, you can.
On the way to my hostel I changed some money:
They use Transnistria Rubles:
The currency is de facto pegged to the United States dollar. The central bank determines each work day whether or not it is appropriate to devalue the currency against the U.S. dollar.
On 11 February 2009 the exchange rate was set to 9 rubles per dollar. It was changed to 9.40 rubles on 5 March 2010, 9.80 on 24 September 2010, and 10.20 on 14 December 2010. By 2013, the value of the ruble had dropped to 11.10 rubles per dollar. This was further changed to 11.30 per dollar on 16 March 2016. On 17 June 2017, the currency was devalued to 15 rubles per dollar. It was set to 16 per dollar on 12 January 2018. The most recent change was made on 5 April 2018, when it was set to 16.10 rubles per dollar. source: wikipedia
You need to bring cash. The ATMs in town only accept locally issued cards. But you can get money from some of the Foreign Exchange bureaus using MasterCard but they add on 3%.
Hostels will accept payment in any currency. Life is pretty cheap in Transnistria. A coffee costs 11 Rub, 1.5l of beer at the supermarket costs, 19 Rub.
And the people have Transnistrian passports. Most Transnistrians have Moldovan passports too as it make going anywhere a whole lot easier. Imagine if you only have a passport for a country that no one other than 3 other breakaway republics recognise. These being Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh.
They have their own licence plates:
The licencing system is as follows:
A – Bender, B – Grigoriopol, E – Dubăsari, H – Tiraspol (mopeds only), K – Camenca, P – Rîbnița, C – Slobozia, T – Tiraspol.
I stayed 2 nights at Like Home Hostel in Tiraspol and 1 night in Bender.
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Travelling the world solo, since 1992, as a low budget backpacker.