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How to go Yenokavan from Yerevan on a budget: Ziplining in Armenia

These tour agencies annoy me. Their exorbitant prices are seriously not worth it. I’m talking about the group tours. Private tours are another hole-in-the-pocket kind of story. I get it, if you are short on time, lazy to research, or just want a relaxing vacation with family, tour agencies simply do the work for you.

But, while you are trying to reduce costs and backpacking your way around, it makes total sense to skip these tour packages and find a DIY route to the attractions.

My friend and I really wanted to do Ziplining in Armenia. There are two Ziplining opportunities here. One is located in Tshaghzdor but the best one (according to locals and foreigners we met) is in Yell Extreme Park in Yenokavan.

Yenokavan is around 150 kms away from Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. Renting a car would be expensive plus running the risk if any accident happened was high (Let’s not discuss insurance policies and claims here, lol).

So, here’s how we did our Ziplining day trip on a budget:

In the early morning, we took bus 259 from the bus stop near our hostel (Rooms hostel, pashtos Byzandos street, Yerevan) towards Northern Bus Station. Bus 47 also goes to the same bus station but the driver told me otherwise. Bus 259 is a purple/green colored bus charging 200 AMD per person for the journey and has free WiFi inside the bus. Bus 47 charges the standard 100 AMD but rely on 259 since that is tried and tested.

It takes 30 minutes to reach the Northern bus station as it is on the outskirts of the city centre.

Do note that none of the destinations or instructions are in English. You will just have to ask and confirm. Use Google translate and type your message in English and get it translated in Russian. And when the person replies back, use the voice feature and translate Russian back into English. There’s no other way to get around. I did get my hostel’s receptionist to write down the station’s name in Armenian language just in case.

I asked the driver to inform me when the bus station arrives as I won’t be able to figure it out on my own. The bus makes way too many stops.

When we finally were told to get off, we saw a line of marshrutkas (private taxis are known by this name in the Caucasus region) lined up, some of them having English language written down on them while most of the others had Armenian signs of the places they take the passengers to.

None of them had Ijevan written down. There is no direct bus to Yenokavan. So, we had to reach Ijevan and then find a way out from there. I asked some of the drivers which private van goes to Ijevan and they pointed towards a marshrutka number 654/655.

We paid 1500 AMD per person and the marshrutka departed at 12pm. They run every 1-2 hours. It was a 15 seater old van. Not too comfortable but not too bad either. The marshrutka passes through Lake Sevan on the way and stops in Ijevan after a good 2 hours.

This is Ijevan. Small little town
From Ijevan, we took a private taxi and paid 2000 AMD one way to Yenokavan, Yell Extreme Park. You will have to negotiate the price as our driver started the price at 3000 AMD. GG Taxi app showed a rate of 1400 AMD approximately but it would take 15 minutes for it to arrive. Plus, we needed to get a taxi to take us back to the centre as well once we finished Ziplining. And we knew that the area is isolated and it would be difficult to find taxis there.

So, we agreed on 4000 AMD for a return trip to the Park and back. It is a narrow and uneven road going up the hill where the Park is located. After 20 minutes or so, we were at Apaga Resort. You’d have to walk down straight and then take a right to reach the little hut which is the base for the Ziplining activity.

The activity itself requires you to do advance booking either by calling them or booking online.

We booked our slots a day in advance for 11000 AMD per person at 3pm. This price is valid only on weekdays. Weekends are priced at 15000 AMD. If you go in groups of four or more, you pay 13000 AMD each during weekends.

Ziplining experience

The staff were really friendly and professional. The park map was first explained to us. We signed the waiver document and then got geared up with all the necessary equipments. We left our valuables at the base hut and only carried our mobile phones with us.

Tip: Carry a GoPro with you to record the experience. Or, a mobile holder around the neck would do the trick so you hold it safely during the Ziplining.

There are five Ziplines in all and quite a lot of trekking in between and at the end to reach from one Zipline to another. The total time taken by the activity from start to finish is approximately an hour.

Yes. Look below!
They asked “Wanna selfie?” I said yes. 😀
The instructors were really cool. They helped in recording videos for us and the experience was magical. I could try to write about how hanging high up a rope and letting go with the dense forest way below me was so ecstatic but it wouldn’t do any justice to how I felt. You should go and try it for yourself.

And no, it isn’t scary at all! The equipments are really of good quality and there was absolutely no pain involved.

Other things to do

  • Eat and drink: There are local coffee and juice stalls, a little overpriced though, where you can buy some drinks. They have a fast food restaurant too. Or, you can go to Apaga Resort’s restaurant and bar for some good (and expensive) food.

Time to hydrate myself 😉

  • Horse Riding: We didn’t see any horse riding activity happening around but they do let you ride for a charge for 20 minutes or an hour.

  • Zorbing: They have one Zorbing ball but unfortunately it was under maintenance at the time we visited.
  • Swing: They have a tall, yellow swing where you can enjoy swinging while watching the beautiful huts, mountains and greenery in front of you.

  • Relax: Sit on the benches to appreciate the breathtaking views of the mountains and Ijevan city. You can also watch flocks of sheep grazing the field. And the horses enjoying on their own.

Going back to Yerevan

We called the taxi driver who had dropped us to the Park at 6.30pm.

Last look at the beautiful place before heading back
He came to fetch us and 15 minutes later, we were back in Ijevan. He tells us through Google translate app that we won’t find any marshrutka back to Yerevan as the last one is at 5pm! I didn’t believe him. He insisted that he would drop us back in his taxi but I wasn’t ready to pay a fortune to go back to the city in a taxi!

We got down from the taxi and asked a nearby café owner. He confirmed the news. We were bummed! So, we stood at the side of the highway hoping someone would give us a ride back. I was super shy and nervous to stop a car and ask (due to a bad experience before 😶 ).

However, my friend saw a minivan pass by with a girl driving it and asked, “Yerevan?”

Luckily, they stopped for us and we hitchhiked back to the city with them and made some new friends. 😃😃

So, if you’re not planning to try hitchhiking, come back before 5pm to Ijevan and leave early in the morning to get enough time at the Park.

Total cost:

1. Transportation: 3700 AMD per person (exclusive of return trip to Yerevan)

5200 AMD per person (inclusive of return trip had we taken it and not hitchhiked)

2. Activity cost: 11000 AMD per person for Ziplining

Total: 14700 AMD

~ approximately 15K AMD (equivalent to 110 Saudi Riyals)

That’s super cheap! I told you, Armenia is really cheap. Didn’t I?

Happy me!


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