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Payments Many of the bigger tourism facilities accept credit cards, as well as cash.
Occasionally people might refer at prices with many zeros, which are reminiscent of the old lei which had 4 extra zeros.
Exchange You get the current exchange rate at www.infovalutar.ro
You should do your exchange at authorised offices, such as those inside the banks, never in the street.
Even better it is done by withdrawing from your credit cards at the cash-machines.
The exchange offices in the airport have unattractive rates.
Cashing travellers cheque is done only in the banks, and could require effort that is not worth it - maybe it is better to avoid it.
Shops
Museums
Most of the shops close on Sunday and have short hours on Saturday. In the bigger towns you'll get shops and chemists (pharmacies) working round-the-clock.
Most of the museums are closed on Monday.
Language The Romanian language is a Latin one.
The rules and the commonly used words come from the Latin language. There is as well a considerable number of Slavic words, while the old Dacic words and those from the migratory tribes are quite less.
Nowadays the dominant foreign language is English, though not long ago it was French. Smaller perimeters in Transilvania, Banat and Bucovina would use German.
There are significant numbers of Hungarian-speaking natives.
Security Security depends on where and when.
You don't get much organised crime in Romania.
We might say that overall the situation is nor better, not worse than in the European Community.
Standards
Radio & TV TV standards: PAL, DK + BG.
Now they use the normal FM band (CCIR). The old communist one (OIRT) has almost been abandoned.
Electricity Home supplies feature alternating current (AC) / single phase / 220 Volts / 50 Hz.
Sockets are European - continental.
Measure system Metric system: metres, kilograms, litres.
Time Hour zone is GMT + 2.
The winter time is the same as the astronomic one just mentioned, while the summer one means +1 hour more (GMT + 3).
Access
Trekking Access is forbidden in the Retezat scientific reserve, if you don't have special authorization.
In the national parks access is restricted to approved paths.
There should be no other restriction.
Whatever the place you are, it would be proper to protect the environment and the scenery.
Motorcycle & ATV In practice there are no restrictions, but this doesn't decrease the impact on environment and the boost of erosion. You should, again, be the best judge of the reasonable limits of such activities.
Transport
Fuel Nowadays you get compatible fuel in a multitude of locations. Prices are just a bit lower than in the EC. Many stations have round-the-clock working hours.
It would be wise to use stations owned by the big companies, in the bigger towns. Always fill the tank before heading to secluded places, away from the main traffic.
Railways The network is OK, but the timetables usually are disappointing. Prices are reasonable.
Using the trains is comfortable and allows contact with the locals.
You get sleeping cars on long routes, such as between Bucharest and the north of the country. They leave late and arrive early in the morning.
You get information on the schedules at the railway stations, over the phone, or on the internet.
Buses Buses and minibuses are a tough competition for the railway, offering frequently better connections and prices.
You get some contact with the locals, as well.
You can get local information about arrivals / departures.
There is at least one specialised site www.autogari.ro
Roads There are only a few hundreds of kilometres of highway in Romania.
You get national roads (drumuri nationale - DN), county roads (drumuri judetene - DJ) and local roads (drumuri locale - DL). Some roads have an European name as well (E).
You get taxes only on a few bridges, and local and forestry roads.
As we have just mentioned the forestry roads, some are not fit for normal cars. Furthermore keeping them in a good state depends on economic reasons, so they get abandoned and destroyed by natural causes.
Driving Driving style is very "Latin", which means chaotic plus disregarding regulations.
Experienced drivers should have no problem, save for the bigger cities, where traffic can be nasty. I personally know experienced Romanian drivers that avoid being at the wheel in Bucharest.
In the country side beware of animals moving freely on the driveway, and even more, of wagons with animal traction, that frequently are not signalized after dark.
Foreigners might be well off if renting a car with driver, who might act as guide / translator, as well (see tours).
Rent-a-car You get rent-a-car in bigger towns, at hotels and tourism agents. There are the multinational chains, providing cars from renown manufacturers.
You also get cheaper Romanian companies, that are likely to offer Romanian cars.
Taxi You get them in bigger towns.
Authorised ones are marked clearly and have electronic devices which issue invoices.
Camping
Campsites There are just a few campsites with proper facilities.
Frequently you get just a surface surrounded by a fence, with a minimum of facilities.
Some offer bungalows ("casute") - each for 2-6 pax and minimum comfort. Sometimes you only get them, and there is no way to pitch up a tent or install a camper.
Wild-camping There is no specific limitation.
Before camping, make sure that you don't bother the owner, nor destroy his belongings - as grass for hay.
Emergencies
On telephone Single free emergency number on all the networks is 112.
Medical Medical emergencies are accepted at all the specialised facilities, free of charge.
Mountains The "Salvamont" teams operate in the mountains. You should follow their indications at any time since most of them are competent. On emergencies they can be summoned in the towns around the massifs.
Sea-side The "Salvamar" teams operate on the Black Sea coast.
Communications
Telephones The wire network reaches most of the villages. In remote locations it works on wire + wireless.
Public phones - well they have become extinct - due to GSM.
Mobile phones GSM networks cover most of the populated areas. There are several operators, that have "roaming" arrangements with partners abroad.
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