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Entering Armenia from Georgia by Road: All you need to know

After enjoying Batumi for 2 days (read what I did in Batumi here: Batumi Adventures: Top things to do), we took the train for 20 GEL per person to go back to Tbilisi. It takes around 5-6 hours and is super comfortable and has Air-conditioning for a second class seater train.

We had to come back to Tbilisi (read: how to explore Tbilisi all by yourself here) to be able to catch the marshrutka to Yerevan, Armenia. A marshrutka is a minivan that transports passengers as a private taxi from one place to another in the Caucasus region.

The train from Batumi which had departed at 7:30 am, arrived at Tbilisi Central Station at around 12:45pm which is within walking distance from Station Square’s metro station. After asking and doing my research online about ways to enter Armenia by land, I learnt that a shared taxi would be the best way.

Last day in Georgia with the Georgian Flag

Internet forums said that marshrutkas are available at three stations: Station Square, Avlabari metro station and Ortacala metro station. Being in front of Station Square station, I went out from the first floor’s door entrance to check up on the taxis. I was not sure when the last taxi would depart for Yerevan. Some said that the last marshrutka would be at 1 pm while others said it would be at 3pm. I just hoped that it wouldn’t be 1 pm as that would mean spending another night in Tbilisi.

This is how Avlabari metro station looks like

The area outside the station was lined up with yellow minivans with names of the areas all written in Georgian language and some in Russian. The drivers didn’t speak English. I went around asking, “Yerevan?” to every driver I could find and none of them were crossing the border. Nor did they know which bus will take me there.

I hurried up to meet my friend upstairs at the food court and quickly decided that we should try our luck outside Avlabari metro station instead as it was only 3 stations away by metro. My friend asked me to message Kate, our tour guide for Tbilisi from Tbilisi Free Hack Walking tours to confirm if we were heading in the right direction. Luckily, she immediately responded:

“When you get off the escalator in the metro, go out the exit to your left, then go right when you get outside and cross the street, there should be several vehicles with Yerevan/erevan written on them, if you can’t see one, you should be able to ask anyone and they’ll point you to the right spot. They’re usually parked as much in the shade as possible and drivers are often sitting on benches near the park behind them.”

The information provided by her was so accurate. We actually found them near the park with the sign board “Yerevan” placed on the car.

It was 35 GEL per person for a one way trip up to Kilikia Bus Station in Yerevan, Armenia. The car was a 7 seven seater Mercedes Van and it departed at 3pm from Tbilisi, Georgia. We had an hour before the trip. So, we just decided to explore the area one last time before bidding it good-bye.

Within an hour on the road, we reached the border. We all had to get down and get our exit stamps from the Georgian Immigration department. The officer scanned my passport for a long time looking at every visa page and stamp in my old and new passport. He then asked me where my Georgian visa is. I had to hand him my resident permit from Saudi Arabia and its translation after which he immediately stamped the exit stamp and let me go.

We hopped back on the car and after a few minutes, the Armenian border arrived. All our bags had to be carried along with us to the immigration department for a scan after clearing the customs.

The driver helping in taking out the baggage

After a good 5 minutes, our passport was stamped and entry was granted. We were officially in Armenia! Yahooooooo! 😄😄😃

Some important points at the Armenian border:

  • Have an address of the place you are going to stay at, ready with you. You will be asked for it regardless of your nationality.
  • Your visa must be printed out if you need one. I was eligible for a visa on arrival but I applied it online to quicken the process. It is only for 6 USD! You can apply it online (if you’re eligible for an e-visa) here on their official site.
  • Declare the truth if you have visited Azerbaijan. They will see the stamp in your passport anyway. You won’t have any issue to enter. It is just for their records.
  • Tell them how many days you’ll stay in the country. They just key in the details in the system.
  • Once you clear the baggage scan, you can still access Georgian network on the other side for 3-4 minutes of drive. Make all the calls and send messages at the border.

If you forgot to do so, don’t worry as these shared taxis do have Wi-Fi in the car. So, you’ll be connected throughout the whole journey.

Bidding good bye!

The Armenian landscape is equally beautiful as the Georgian one. The 5 hours of drive into the capital city will keep you interested and entertained. But, read your dua’as. As soon as you enter Armenia, the roads get bumpy and potholes are everywhere. The drivers drive like crazy as though their beloved is waiting for them on the other side. 😂

After 3-4 petrol and toilet breaks, we reached the station at 8.20pm. It was a cool and bumpy ride. You can take a taxi or a bus from the station to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb.

I was excited. I was in A R M E N I A, the third country in 10 days! Alhamdulillah 😍

We got dropped off at the hostel that was booked by my friend’s friend. And then, the nightmare started.

. To be continued…

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