I have just one thing to say about taking a minibus from Odessa (Ukraine) to Chisinau (Moldova):
Oh, sure. It only costs $10. And it runs multiple times a day, versus the train that only goes once a day and gets you there at 10pm, a really inconvenient time to be stuck in a strange new city where you know nothing of the language and (if you’re anything like me) your debit card doesn’t work for withdrawing money.
There are full-sized buses plying this route which have got to be better than this 6-hour hayride from hell. Get someone (maybe from your hostel) to check which kind of bus it will be for you, because you really don’t want to be stuck on this bus.
This one left at 2:45 pm from Odessa. I had to take it because I missed the 10:00 bus. If you’re stuck on this bus, take Dramamine. You’ll need it.
If you think I’m exaggerating, or being a wimp, and you long for a minibus adventure on the backstreets of Moldova, look no further than this actual footage of my ride: (mute the sound)
I rest my case.
I took night train #105K from Kyiv to Odessa, Ukraine. It cost 124 Ukrainian gryvna, or about $15 for a second-class sleeper, and it took about 10 hours to reach Odessa.
It was a hot evening in Kiev, even hotter inside the train. So hot that I had to get out and wait on the platform just to get air. Our wagon was old and had no windows that opened.
Inside had red-leatherette bunks, fake wood paneling and funny old Russian switches and light fixtures. Unfortunately I was too hot and tired to take any photos.
It was a four-berth compartment, but I shared it with only one other person: Vesna, a Ukrainian flight attendant who worked on corporate jets and spoke good English. My bunk was facing backwards so she kindly switched with me. We talked about travel and about Odessa, where she lived. Unlike me, Vesna loved Kiev and said she found something new every time she went there.
Bedding was the usual inadequate mattress pad and sqooshy wonderful pillow.
The toilet in this old wagon was not nearly as nice as the one in train #92, but it was adequate and not too disgusting, and there was paper.
Once again I didn’t sleep well on the hard bunk, but all the same it didn’t seem long until we reached Odessa.
The first thing I saw when stepping out of the train was this, the Odessa train station:
Odessa train station