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Bucharest Quick Guide

http://wikitravel.org/en/Bucharest

http://www.romaniatourism.com/

Airports

Henri Coanda (OTOPENI -OTP) Airport

If you’re coming/leaving by air and not using a low cost airline, this will be your entry/exit point for Bucharest. Opened in the late 1960s, Otopeni is today Romania’s largest and busiest airport (http://www.otp-airport.ro); it has been substantially enlarged in the past few years in order to cope with the significant growth in traffic, but further development is still needed. This airport  is located 16 km north of Bucharest.

Aurel Vlaicu (Baneasa) Airport

If you’re using a low cost airline to get to/out of Bucharest, you’re most likely going to pass through this airport (http://www.baneasa-airport.ro/ ).

Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are standard.

Money: The Leu (RON) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 bani. Money may be exchanged at banks, international airports, hotels or authorised exchange offices called ‘casa de schimb’ or ‘birou de schimb valutar’. ATMs are available at large banks, airports and shopping centres in cities. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in the main cities. Travellers cheques, preferably in Euros, can be cashed in large banks, some hotels and certain exchange offices in Bucharest but commission is high. It is recommended to travel with some Euros in cash in case of difficulty using credit cards or travellers cheques. US Dollars are also accepted fairly widely.

Currency Exchange Rates : link la: http://www.bnr.ro/Cursul-de-schimb-524.aspx

Language: Romanian is the official language, but English will be understood in Bucharest and other tourist areas.

Entry requirements:

Entry requirements for Americans: United States nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals require a valid passport but no visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans require a valid passport and a visa to enter Romania. Visa exemptions include those travelling through Romania for a maximum period of five days and continuing their journey to a third country, provided holding a Schengen visa, or a visa issued by Bulgaria or Cyprus.

Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand nationals require a valid passport, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Passport/Visa Note: All passports must be valid for period of intended stay. Visitors must hold all documents required for further travel, onward or return tickets, sufficient funds for period of stay, and proof of reserved accommodation.

Travel Health: Medical facilities in Bucharest are good, but poor in the smaller towns and basic medical supplies are often in short supply. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free or low-cost emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but health insurance is strongly advised.

Tipping: Even if tipping is not common in Romania, except in large hotels and restaurants frequented by tourists you shoul know that the service charge is not included in restaurant bills and a  10% tip is expected. Though it is not always necessary to tip them, taxi drivers can be rewarded for good service.

Safety Information: Visitors should take normal safety precautions in Romania; keep valuables safe and be aware of pickpockets and scam artists in major cities. Visitors should be cautious of people pretending to be a policeman and demanding fines for spurious offences, or asking to see documents as a way of stealing cash. If approached in this way visitors should offer to go with them to the nearest police station before handing over any money or documents.

Local Customs: Homosexuality, although legal, is frowned upon. A small and still largely closeted gay scene exists in the Romania’s largest cities, particularly in Bucharest, which has a few gay clubs. Photography at airports is forbidden.

Business: Business can be quite bureaucratic and old-fashioned. The country adheres to an imbedded hierarchical structure and often it is the eldest who receive the most respect in business and social meetings. It is important to address each person according to their title followed by their surname; ‘Domnul’ for Mr. and ‘Doamna’ for Mrs. Romanians prefer a face-to-face approach and like to strengthen personal relationships. Appointments should be made in advance and confirmed. Although the visitor is expected to be punctual  a 15 minutes delay is considered “acceptable”.. Meetings are often quite formal and a general ‘Western’ set of old-world manners applies. Business suits are appropriate for meetings. Romanians dislike an overt display of achievement or exaggerated conversation. Business hours are generally 9pm to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.

Communications: The direct dialling country code for Romania is +40, and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). There are numerous area codes applying to cities, towns and villages, for example (0)21 for Bucharest. The country is well covered with GSM 900/1800 mobile phone networks. Email and Internet are widely available in the cities and larger towns.

Duty free: Travellers to Romania do not have to pay duty on either 200 cigarettes, 40 cigars or 200g of tobacco. 2 litres of liquor, 4 litres of beer or wine and gifts to the value of US$1000 are also duty free. Valuable goods, such as jewellery, art, electrical items and foreign currency should be declared on entry.