It all started with an invite – to come with to Georgia just to see the place. I thought they’re talking about the state somewhere in US, I’m not even aware that there’s another Georgia elsewhere.
Holiday promos to Georgia are everywhere, but as you’ve seen in my past blogs, I tend to avoid the packaged tours, so I started planning, with my notebooks, stickers and all. But if you prefer the packages, you can check Holiday Factory as they have good packages.
We were supposed to visit the country during February to celebrate our anniversary. However, I learned it’s winter season during this months, with temperature going down below 0 degrees. I am not a “winter season” person (though I dreamed of seeing snow) I am not yet ready for a snowy trip. And seeing the place from thousands of my google searches, I would really love to visit it during autumn/fall, being it a mountainous region, we decided to wait until September – October to pursue this plan.
Booking a Flight:
We booked our flight from FlyDubai for September 22 to September 25, 2016.
As per my booking date, they only have 2 options each day, a 1:00am flight and one later, like 11:00am (I can’t remember the latter). We chose the 1am flight on September 22, then leaving on September 25 at 3:00pm flight.
Cost for each plane ticket is 1,169 AED with additional 20 KG check in baggage.
Before the flight, we have exchange few of our dirhams in dollars as it is better to exchange in USD. There are exchange centers once you arrived in the airport, and their rates are almost the same as outside so I recommend you do the exchange there. Save some dollars for pocket allowance.
Booking a Hotel:
For the hotel, we booked from AirBnB. Pikria, the host we chose is renting one whole studio space. The room looks nice and neat in the pictures, it has good reviews and the place is near Tsereteli Metro Station so it was a good choice for us. AAANNNDDD, it was only 184 AED for the 4-day book.
You can check her room in AIRBNB: (Pictures of the room are there as well)
When we arrived in Georgia, Pikria is very accommodating and the place was what is shown in the picture. The only downside part is that there’s no elevator and you have to climb 6 floors before reaching the place. But once you enter the room, everything looks good and nice and we have the place all by ourselves. It is also fully furnished, with a fridge, gas stove, water heater (for bath), towels and she even set some coffee for us. Oh! And there’s WIFI of course, how would I Forget 😀
Tsereteli metro is not within the busy city, it really gets dark in the area when late as there’s not much street lights, but the area feels safe and we do not worry that much going home late. But it’s just 1 transfer and 2 metro stops away so it’s not a big deal for us.
If you prefer to be in the heart of the metro, I recommend to look for hotels near Freedom Square or Rustaveli Metro, but the cost will be much higher for sure… 🙂
Booking a Tour Guide:
Beforehand, we have decided to talk to a tour guide for our trips. There are lots of places to go to Georgia, but as we are staying there for 4 days only, we decided to see below:
Kazbegi – Where the famous Gergeti Church is (this is the church usually shown in posters) which is located at the top of the hill. The town more known now as Stepantsminda.
Kakheti – Wine Capital
Tbilisi – the city and Old Tbilisi
Mtshketa – The old capital of Georgia
Kenneth’s officemates have gone to Georgia before and recommended their tour guide for us. His name is Shoti, his details are here:
Whatsapp Number: +995 598 00 49 49
Facebook page: Arbab Pogi (Oh yes, this guy was definitely influenced by Kabayans in Dubai.. lol! )
He’s also offering airport pickup and transfers. If you decided to contact him, please tell him you got the details from me, this guy needs to know he owes me.. hahaha! Just kidding.
He also has rooms for tourists, please see link for his room. You can contact him for prices. This place has better location as well 🙂
He doesn’t even require reservation fee, pay when you get there. It’s all about trust and comfort of his clients, that I’m sure. Just please make sure once you confirmed, don’t back out at the last minute as no reservation fee is needed and he’s trusting you by word.
We are only 2 during the trip but he still accepted it for below fees per head:
Kazbegi Tour – 50 USD
Kakheti Tour – 35 USD
Mtshketa Tour – 35 USD
These are fixed price for everyone.
There’s always the option of doing it on your own. I’ve read you can take taxis to your destinations or minivans which is so much cheaper. However, as I’ve realized when we were there, a private car/tour is better as the tourist places are quite away from each other. And with Shoti who can speak Georgian, Russian and English well, we didn’t have much problems in communication. it will also be stressful negotiating prices with taxi drivers every time, so I recommend to just book a tour guide or a private car for a hassle-free travel.
Other things to know
- For Philippine Passport Holder, visa is not required. However, when we were checking in, we were asked if we have 100 USD each per day of our stay, though they didn’t asked us to show it, better safe to have some cash in hand.
- Power outlet in Georgia is Type C, the one with 2 round prongs, so make sure you have this plugs or adapter just to be sure
- Currency in Georgia is Lari or GEL (Georgian Lari) which is 1 Lari = 2.35 USD
- Most churches in Georgia are Orthodox, if you enter the church, make sure to cover your head (for women) and remove your caps (for men). For me, I always bring a shoal with me to cover tie on my waist when I enter the church, sometimes they have cloth near the entrance to wear for women
- People there are not well-versed in English, so prepare yourselves for some hand signing, and if there are places you need to ask for directions, prepare some printed papers with the places in their letters.
- Downloading an offline map is also recommended or you can get some printed ones from travel guides in the airport.
- Timings: Time in Georgia is same in Dubai
- You usually start to see people on the street around 10am, early than that, not much. Lights are closing off starting 8:00pm but there are still some restaurants closing late or are 24/7 for the tourists.