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Getting There

Romania is easily accessible, served by buses, trains and planes galore. There are plenty of scheduled flights to Romania from a dozen or so Western countries, and, with a single plane change, from a great many more. Most flights arrive at Bucharest's Otopeni international airport. There are also flights to Timisoara, Constanta Arad, Satu Mare and Sibiu.

With an unbeatable train service linking Romania to Western Europe and Russia, there is little reason to travel to/from Romania by bus. Romania's public bus system is virtually nonexistent while fares offered by the numerous private bus companies operating buses to the West rarely compete with the inexpensive comfort offered by trains. The exception to this rule is Istanbul. The bus (12 to 14 hours) is substantially cheaper and faster than the train (17-1/2 hours) - and they've banned smoking on it, which is just as well since most Romanians and Turks smoke like the proverbial chimney. There are plenty of trains from Western Europe, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey, and Moldova, Ukraine and beyond.

There's no departure tax when leaving Romania, but there's a decent chance that you'll have to show your exit card - that's the wee piece of paper they may have placed in your passport when you entered the country and which you've probably lost by this stage.

Getting Around

Romania's national airline Tarom flies at least four times weekly between Bucharest and the other major cities. A single fare is usually around US$50, and returns are exactly double the single fare. Buses are dead cheap and dead slow. It costs about US$2.50 to travel 200km (124 mi), but buses are infrequent and only one or two buses a day service most routes. Buses are generally used only for outlying villages and more rural areas.

Train has long been the most popular way of travelling around Romania. Trains provide a frequent service to most cities, towns and larger villages within the country. There are five different types of train: personal are so slow that they generally travel with the doors open so passengers can leap on or off when the train is in motion; accelerat are faster, more expensive and less crowded; rapid and expres trains travel reasonably quickly and serve international as well as domestic routes; and Inter-City trains are no faster than the others (apart from personal trains) but are twice as expensive and twice as comfortable. Seat reservations are obligatory for all trains (except personae) and this is included in the fare.

Most Romanian roads are best suited to 4WD. They are in poor, potholed condition. Other hazards include horse-drawn carts piled high with hay, cows, pigs, drunkards and playing children! Similarly, if you want to cycle, the potholed roads makes the going tough for anything less than a robust touring or mountain bike. Boat is the only way of getting around much of the Danube Delta. Most towns within Romania have local buses, trams and trolleybuses, and Bucharest has a metro underground system. Taxis are available in all cities and towns, but can be more expensive for foreigners.

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