Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer

Trip Code: WMST

Why we love it

Discover the incredible biodiversity of Romania’s remote Danube Delta. Take a boat through this unique ecosystem to where the river meets the Black Sea, and observe the traditional daily life of its remote communities, Spend time in the least-visited corner of Moldova – itself the least-visited country in Europe – in a breakaway strip of land called Gagauzia that highlights the complex cultural and historical diversity of this region, Moldova is famous for its wine, so sample the local tipple during a guided tour of Mileștii Mici, sitting on top of 200km of underground cellar tunnels, making it the largest quality wine collection in the world, Become one of the few travellers to visit Transnistria, a breakaway republic in eastern Moldova, where Soviet values are still upheld and locals continue their fight for independence, Explore Ukraine’s atmospheric abandoned Chernobyl Exclusion Zone on a guided tour, wander the eerie streets and among the buildings of the ghost town of Pripyat. Since the devastating nuclear disaster of 1986, nature has taken over the city, and wolves, foxes and other wildlife have been seen walking down the main streets

Is this trip right for me?

Please remember that on the Chernobyl day tour you will be exposed to some radioactivity. Given the short amount of time you'll spend in the area, radiation levels shouldn't be harmful or unsafe (just don't go touching lots of stuff). Long-sleeved clothes and closed shoes are essential. Still, if this is of concern to you, you are free to opt out of this activity. Please also note that the army effectively regulates visits to Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, so last minute alterations can impact the itinerary.

The security situation in Transnistria is unpredictable as the region is not under Moldovan control, and tensions may be heightened reflecting developments in eastern Ukraine. Many Western countries do not have an embassy or consulate in Moldova. Usually embassies in Russia or Romania provide consular assistance to travellers in Moldova, however they do not have any recourse inside the territory of Transnistria, and will only be of very limited or no assistance in the case of an emergency. Medical care is almost non-existent in Transnistria, especially for non-citizens. Please choose carefully when shopping for your travel health insurance, and make sure it is valid in Transnistria. Please also be aware that international credit/debit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted anywhere in Transnistria.

Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited on this trip (over 40°C). It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. Please also note that some accommodation on this trip offer shared bathrooms rather than en-suite facilities.

If you have more time to explore the region you can extend your trip by starting your travels in Budapest, taking in the best of Romania before heading towards Moldova. Check out our trip 'Eastern Europe in Depth' (trip code WMSVC). Most departure dates are designed to create these perfect combination trips.

Important information

1. Please remember that on the Chernobyl day tour you will be exposed to some radioactivity. Given the short amount of time you'll spend in the area, radiation levels shouldn't be harmful or unsafe (just don't go touching lots of stuff). Long-sleeved clothes and closed shoes are essential. Still, if this is of concern to you, you are free to opt out of this activity. Please also note that the army effectively regulates visits to Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, so last minute alterations can impact the itinerary.
2. The security situation in Transnistria is unpredictable as the region is not under Moldovan control, and tensions may be heightened reflecting developments in eastern Ukraine. Many Western countries do not have an embassy or consulate in Moldova. Usually embassies in Russia or Romania provide consular assistance to travellers in Moldova, however they do not have any recourse inside the territory of Transnistria, and will only be of very limited or no assistance in the case of an emergency. Medical care is almost non-existent in Transnistria, especially for non-citizens. Please choose carefully when shopping for your travel health insurance, and make sure it is valid in Transnistria. Please also be aware that international credit/debit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted anywhere in Transnistria.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 4 (Comrat) and Day 10 (Overnight Train) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.
4. You don't have a lot of time in Bucharest at the start of the trip , so if you're keen to explore this underrated city in depth we recommend you arrive a day or two before the start of the trip.

What to bring/pack

PACKING
On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list., https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light., WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day., IMAGES FROM HOME
During our trip, there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos/postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country, etc.

Physical rating

 
2

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

EXPLORING EUROPEAN CITIES
One of the pleasures of travelling in Europe is the ease at which cities can be explored on foot. Your leader will take you on frequent orientation walks, and you will be able to further explore in your own time. We recommend you pack comfortable walking shoes for this trip. Many of our customers are surprised at how much they end up walking, however this is entirely up to you, and public transport to take you back to our accommodation is never far away.

Joining your group

Hotel Central Bucharest by Zeus International, 13 Brezoianu St, Sector 5, Bucharest, ROMANIA, Phone: +40 21 315 56 35

Hotel Central Bucharest by Zeus benefits from a premier location near Cismigiu Gadens in the centre of Bucharest, less than a 10-minute walk from the Old Town. The modern hotel offers free Wi-Fi access and each of the 62 rooms feature air-conditioning, a minibar, safety deposit box, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and private bathrooms.

Joining instructions

Hotel Central Bucharest by Zeus International is located 20km from Bucharest Henri Coanda Otopeni International Airport (airport code OTP). Take bus 783 from the bus stop underneath the arrivals hall. It departs every 30 to 40 minutes. At Piata Universitatii (University Square) change to any bus towards Cismigiu Gardens. The bus stop is right in front of the hotel. Alternatively it is a 10 min walk from University Square to the hotel. You can also travel by train from the airport to the main railway station Gara de Nord. You will need to take a bus from the airport to the airport train station. Please look out for the Bilete CFR sign in the arrivals hall to purchase tickets. Gara de Nord train station is located a 30 minute walk from the hotel, or you can take bus 85 to Cismigiu Gardens. The closest underground station to the hotel is Izvor, a 5 minute walk away.

Pre booked arrival transfer from Bucharest Airport (OTP): If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be waiting in the the arrivals hall, holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +4 0721 133 577.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Ukraine, Institutskaya 4, Kyiv, UKRAINE, Phone: +380 445905474

Hotel Ukraine is located right in the heart of the city overlooking Independence Square (the Maidan) and Khreschatyk, in a unique location where culture and history intersects. Many of the city's main attractions are within walking distance from the hotel. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with ensuite facilities, satellite TV and a fridge.

If you are making your own way to any of Kyiv's airports reception will be able to assist you calling a taxi. By public transport to the railway station take metro line 1 (red line) for 4 stops from Khreschatyk station to Vokzalna station (Main Railway station). To Kyiv Borispil International Airport (airport code KBP) you can catch an airport shuttle bus called Sky Bus. Buses depart from the main railway station and also stop at Khreschatyk near our hotel. The easiest way to get to Kyiv Zhuliany International Airport (airport code IEV) is to take a taxi.

Pre booked departure transfer to Kyiv Borispil International Airport (KBP): You will be collected at your accommodation 2 hours and 45 minutes before your flight departure time. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +380 980 675 694.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 11

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

VEGETARIANS
Vegetarians might find the menu selection in Europe less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

BREAKFASTS
There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER
Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

SHOULDER SEASON
In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8677 9186 657

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

FACILITIES
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS
Overnight trains in Europe are a comfortable way to travel from one city to another without losing valuable time to explore the destinations. Compartments usually consist of 4 berths (2 bottom bunks and 2 top bunks) with lockable doors, communal bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage (sink and toilet), and plenty of space for luggage. All trains have heating for the colder times of year, however they generally do not have air-conditioning, and windows can't be opened.

LONG TRAVEL DAYS
As we cover lots of ground on this trip, expect some long travel days on local trains and buses. This is an opportunity to mix with the locals and enjoy the scenery out the window. Travel schedules are known to change with little notice. Not all transport may have air conditioning.


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