How I Crossed Georgia from Armenia (With a Philippine Passport)

Armenia and Georgia are 2 countries that sit beside each other. They’re both beautiful in their own way and distinct from one another. Given the time, it’s best to visit them both. In this blog entry, I’d like to share my experience on how I was able to visit these 2 countries in a single trip.
I started the trip all the way from Manila. Since there's no direct flight to Yerevan (the capital of Armenia) or to Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia), I had to take multiple flights. A common route is Manila-Dubai then Dubai-Yerevan served by several Middle Eastern airlines, but this usually has a long transit in Dubai (19 hours when I last checked). To skip the wait, I figured out an alternate route by taking 3 flights to reach Armenia, namely: Manila-Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific), Hong Kong-Moscow (Aeroflot), and finally Moscow-Yerevan (Aeroflot).
Asked on which between Armenia and Georgia to begin the trip, I'd say it could go either way. In my case, I just chose to start in Armenia because the Moscow-Yerevan flight was cheaper than the Moscow-Tbilisi flight during my chosen travel date.


Armenia

As a Philippine passport holder, I had to get a visa to enter Armenia. I easily applied this online, but visa on arrival (VOA) is also possible.

Also read: How to: Apply for Tourist Visa to Armenia for Philippine Passport Holders

I'd generally describe Armenia as a country with a lot of beautiful old churches. Actually, the first spread of Christianity happened in this religious country. Aside from exploring the capital, Yerevan, a popular side trip is by going to Kotayk province where the Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery are at. I wrote a separate and detailed blog about it in my Armenia backpacking travel guide.
What’s good is that when in Yerevan, you can land travel to Tbilisi in 5 hours. There's a distance of 272 km between the 2 cities. The route is mostly on flat road and I'd say it's safe. The Armenia-Tbilisi route (vice versa) is very common, thus public transportation is also very accessible. While private transfers are offered, a cheaper way is to take a public vehicle, and it's a 12-seater van that's locally called a marshrutka.
In Yerevan, you can get a marshrutka to Tbilisi at the Kilikia Bus Stop located at Admiral Isakov Avenue. From Yerevan's main square, called the Republic Square, you can take a taxi to the bus stop that costs around AMD 800 (USD 1.65).

At the bus stop, I was greeted by several drivers but unfortunately none of them could speak in English. Despite this, a simple uttering of “Tbilisi" made them understand me, and I was pointed at the right marshrutka among the few ones parked inside. A one-way fare costed me AMD 7,000 (USD 15). I bought the ticket straight from the driver.
The bus stop is quite old and very simple. There's a small store if you wish to buy snacks and drinks. Also, toilet is available but you need to pay a small amount (AMD 100) to use it.
The 5-hour ride from Yerevan to Tbilisi was smooth. There was one stopover for snacks and toilet usage somewhere in Tsovagyugh where I glimpsed upon the snow-capped mountains of Armenia. I traveled in late March, a time when winter is still in season.

Reminders at the Armenia-Georgia border

A few kilometers before reaching Tbilisi, at the Armenia-Georgia border, the marshrutka stopped and all passengers were requested to go down, enter the building, and pass through the immigration. Luggage also need to be brought in for security checks, thus the process is just like in any other airport.
Holding a Philippine passport, I had to secure a Georgian visa, which can be either applied when you’re there (via VOA - visa on arrival) or ahead of time and online (via E-visa - electronic visa). I opted the latter since I feel more at ease knowing my visa is approved ahead. I wrote a detailed guide on this and you can check out how I applied a tourist visa to Georgia.

So after sliding the luggage through the x-ray machine, I went straight to the immigration counter.  If you have to get a VOA though, you have to fall in line at a separate counter, then go to the immigration counter afterward.
With my experience, the immigration officer wasn’t as strict as I expected. He only asked for my passport and the e-visa, plus asked how long I'll stay in Georgia. Even if the e-visa indicates health insurance is required (and I got one), I wasn’t asked to present it. Likewise, I wasn’t asked to show proof of accommodation, financial means, and return ticket. To be on the safe side, however, always have all these requirements ready.
That’s it! After all the passengers immediately got cleared at the immigration, the trip continued and in a few minutes, we reached the final stop in Avlabari, Tbilisi. The Avlabari Metro Station (line 1) serves as landmark and walking further up, the huge Tbilisi St. Trinity Cathedral is just 15 minutes on foot.

Georgia

Like in Armenia, I also had a great time in Georgia. They may be 2 neighboring countries, but the ambiances are very different. This is why they're both worth visiting because you get different experiences. Aside from going around the capital Tbilisi, I did a few side trips in neighboring Georgian towns like Mtskheta (the old capital) and Gudauri (popular place for winter sports). For detailed information, I wrote a separate Georgia backpacking travel guide.





How I Crossed Georgia from Armenia (With a Philippine Passport) How I Crossed Georgia from Armenia (With a Philippine Passport) Reviewed by Shelly Viajera Travel on 13.4.19 Rating: 5

9 comments:

  1. is it possible to cross the border of Russia to Azerbaijan with Phil passport ? then to Georgia and Armenia back to Georgia to cross border to Turkey..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Note that Philippine passport holders need visa to enter Azerbaijan, so make sure to apply online or when you're in Russia.

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  2. It's the excellent occasion when we might go back to the fine simplicity of our forefathers. If you are curious to know more about Camp Alibi, here you can get more information about it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi. Wanted to visit Georgia for the longest time! Do you have any tipid tips or budget breakdown that you can share with us? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I spent around 2500 PHP / day in Georgia including accommodation, food, transportation. I was able to go around Tbilisi then visited Gudauri and Mtskheta with that budget. Tipid tip: Accommodation and food in the east side of the Mtkvari river in Tbilisi city center seem cheaper than the west side (commercial / tourist area) :)

      More info in my Georgia blog: http://www.shellyviajeratravel.com/2018/04/why-you-should-travel-to-country-of.html

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