Legendary Trail in Tbilisi
Georgia is a country located on the famous Silk Road and also known as a transcontinental country of Asia and Europe. It is on The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range by the Black Sea. Georgia used to be a republic of Soviet Union. The country has a long history over 2,500 years. Georgian language is also one of the oldest languages in the world and it is still spoken. Moreover, Georgian tourism is famous for its attractive natural beauty, and charming ancient architecture :). The capital city as the central of tourism in Georgia looks pretty much like Europe. On the other hand, you can find destructed buildings that have been remained from Soviet times in the suburban area. Locals don't really care about how their houses look from the outside. That's why sometimes you may think that there is no one living in there anymore but actually these houses are very well designed and decorated on the inside.
❉ Visa : Maximum stay is 1 year without a visa
❉ Currency : Lari (GEL) 1 GEL = 15 THB (Convert via : https://goo.gl/ONHBSZ )
❉ Official Language : Georgian and Russian (Most of the new generations can communicate in English)
❉ Climate :
Winter (Dec - Apr), Average 2 - 4 degree Celsius and -5 to -20 degree Celsius in the mountain
Spring (End of Apr - Jul), nice chill weather
Summer (Aug - Nov), warm to hot at the average of 25 - 35 degree Celsius and nice temperature at 10 - 20 degree Celsius in the mountain
❉ Local Time : 3 hours behind Thai Local Time
❉ SIM Card : Recommend Beeline (Please check for the promotion)
❉ Transportation :
In the capital of Tbilisi : Metro is pretty much cover the whole town, Taxi Meter is also convenient, but you may avoid the van since you need to communicate in Georgian mostly.
Outside the capital : Train (Please check timetable and reserve the ticket) and van
Tbilisi has a charming ancient architecture and it is surrounded by beautiful nature.
A. Tbilisi AirportB. Avlabari Metro Station
C. Holy Trinity Cathedral
D. Liberty Square Metro Station
E. Freedom Square
F. The Bridge of Peace
G. Europe Square
H. Metekhi Church
I. Sulphur Spring Bath
J. Narikala Castle
K. National Botanical Garden
L. Ghrmaghele Metro Station
M. Tbilisi Sea
N. Lake Lisi
❉ To travel from Bangkok to Tbilisi
There is no direct flight from Bangkok to Georgia. You can fly to neighboring countries to transit such as Russia with Aeroflot to Moscow, Turkey with Turkish Airline to Istanbul, and so on. If you have plan to travel in other countries on the Silk Road or neighboring countries, you can fly there and come to Georgia later which you will save a lot of money this way. :)
❉ To travel from Tbilisi International Airport to Downtown
It is about 16 kilometers to get to Downtown Tbilisi from Tbilisi International Airport. There is a shuttle bus from the airport to the downtown available 24/7. The shuttle bus will drop you off at 3 stops including Freedom Square, Heroes Square, and 26 May Square. You can take the subway (Metro) right away at these 3 stops. The ticket costs around 150 THB per person per trip.
You can also take the Taxi to go to the downtown. It is about 25 - 30 GEL (375 THB) during the daytime and 30 - 35 GEL (450 THB) at night.
❉ To travel around the downtown
I would say that traveling with the Metro is the most convenient in the downtown because it covers almost the whole town. You can get a Metro card at 2 GEL (30 THB) that you can top up your balance later. A ride costs only 0.5 GEL (8THB) per trip.
Taxi is another choice which is pretty convenient as well. They normally charge around 5 GEL (75 THB) per trip to both near and far destination.
❉ Freedom Square/ Liberty Square
The name of this place has been changed for numbers of times from Pashkevich-Erivanskaya to Beria Square, then to Lenin Square when the country was ruled by Soviet Union before changing to Freedom Square until today after being freed.
This neighborhood is very shady and beautiful full with restaurants, cafes, bakery shops, florists, and so on as it is known as a central of tourism in Tbilisi. The buildings are in European style mostly.
➟ Metro Station : Liberty Square
❉ Old Town
This is where you can find a lot of classic houses and old buildings built since the 5th Century. Some houses are destructed before the country being freed from Soviet Union but you can see it clearly that they have been restored from time to time. You will enjoy your walk here a lot, and will get excited to find old-style architecture (don't change it please ^__^).
❉ Holy Trinity Cathedral
Most Georgians are Orthodox Christians. As a results, there are many spectacular Orthodox Churches. Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi is the main Orthodox Church in Georgia. It is in Georgian cross-dome style. The construction of this church began in 1995 and it was completed in 2004. Moreover, Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi is the third tallest Orthodox Church in the world.
It is not only the interior that is simply beautiful but also the surroundings of the church. There are many cherry trees around the church and you can see cherry blossom all around during spring. It is so pretty.
➟ Metro Station : Avlabari, then walk for about 1 kilometer. You will enjoy the scenery of local atmosphere along the way for sure. ^^
The Bridge of Peace
The Bridge of Peace is interestingly wonderful especially in design. It is designed by Italian architecture named Michele De Lucchi over Kura River. The bridge is 150-meter long and it was completed and opened to use in 2010. One end leads to the Old Town and another end leads to Rike Park where it is popular for a picnic, and weekends' activities.
➟ Metro Station : Liberty Square, then walk for about 1 kilometer.
❉ Metekhi Church
This is an old Orthodox Church called Metekhi Church. It is located on the hill by Mtkvari River. King Vakhtang Gorgasali used to live here. That's why there is a monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali next to the church. Metekhi Church was destroyed after that and it has been restored many times.
➟ Metro Station : Liberty Square or Avlabari, then walk for about 1 kilometer the same. You can also walk from The Bridge of Peace on Rike Park side, then walk through Europe Square and you will see Metekhi Church from far away.
❉ Sulfur Bath
There is an old lore stating that during the 5th Century, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was up for a hunting in the forest with his favorite falcon. His falcon was fighting with a wild chicken and they both fall into a hot spring and died. He thought that this is a good omen. Then The King ordered to cut down the trees in the area and build a town here. After King Vakhtang I Gorgasali passed away his son, Dachi I Ujarmeli, who became the King later had move the capital from Mtskheta (25-kilometer north) to here as his father wanted. Tbilisi has been the name of this capital since then and it means a warm location because of that hot spring.
Sulfur Bath was found after the falcon and wild chicken died here. This sulfur bath is a mix of Japanese hot spring (Onsen) and Turkish bath and it has been here since the Middle Ages. There are many forms of the buildings used as the sulfur bath but this one is with dome roofs. It is very popular for the tourists to come over here and take photos. The sulfur bath here is downstairs separating for male and female.
➟ Almost opposite Metekhi Church on the other side of Mtkvari River
❉ Viewpoint of the town from Narikala Fortress
You can go to the foot of the Narikala Hill for the panoramic view of the town using the Metro card at normal price.
➟ Cable Car Station is close to The Bridge of Peace on Rike Parkside.
❉ National Botanical Garden
National Botanical Garden covers more than 2,500 acres, you can't really walk throughout the area within a day. You will be very refreshing here among all the greenery surroundings. There are children playground, unique ancient trees, small waterfalls, bridge over the falls, and so on. This is a perfect place for those who like to walk, chill, and enjoy the scenery.
➟ Walk down behind Narikala Fortress
❉ Tbilisi Sea
Tbilisi Sea is a huge reservoir (9 km x 3 km) located not far from Downtown Tbilisi. It does look like a turquoise lake in the middle of the mountains. So it is like a heaven for local Tbilisi people especially in summer, this place has turned into a sunbathing venue and grand swimming pool.
➟ Metro Station : Ghrmaghele, then walk for about 1.5 kilometers.
It is about 2 kilometers from Ghrmaghele Metro Station according to the map. This path will take you on a little tour through old buildings along the way. Even though the outside of these buildings look absolutely old, it is very well designed and decorated on the inside.
The scenery will change into mountains and green scenery before reaching Tbilisi Sea. This is another highlight of this path.
It is very hot here at Tbilisi Sea in summer but it is very beautiful during this time. This place has not been developed to be a top tourist spot. As a result, it is very peaceful here. You can find your favorite spot for sunbathing, and swimming along the shore.
Lake Lisi is a lake in a valley near Tbilisi. It is very shady and refreshing here. I would say the atmosphere at Lake Lisi is better than Tbilisi Sea because there are many tall trees around the lake. Locals like to come here on weekend for picnicking and sunbathing.
➟ Metro Station : Delisi, then walk for about 1.5 kilometers.
It is not that easy to get to the lake from the metro station but it is a good fun. You need to walk through a village where they have vegetable garden, duck farming, and turkey farming. In addition, you need to walk pass a cemetery but this should be fine. :) Lastly, you need to walk through the forest sanctuary where it is very shady before approaching the lake. If you drive here, you can park your car in front of the forest sanctuary or go another way to get closer to the lake where you can also park your car there.
This is the atmosphere by the lake. It is very quiet and shady here. If you walk further to the left, you will find a sunbathing area.
Accommodation in Tbilisi
Hotel/ Hostel/ Guest House are available throughout the town. Guest House for 2 people with a private bathroom is about 50 GEL (750 THB) and of course shared dormitory will be much cheaper.
If you plan to stay and travel for a long period of time, a good condition apartment near metro station would be about 300-500 USD per month. Most of the apartments here are 1 bedroom with 1 bathroom and they come with a living room, kitchen, refrigerator, washing machine, and TV.
It seems to me that the food here are pretty mixed between Asian and European cuisine. Spices are commonly used in cooking such as boiling, stir-frying, frying, soup, salad, steaks, bread, and rice.
One meal is around 15 GEL (225 THB) per person.
It will be cheaper in a simple restaurant similar to Curry and Rice Restaurant in Thailand. It is around 7 GEL (100 THB) per person per meal.
Khinkali, this is a local food that is known for a must-try when in Georgia. People said if you don't try it when you are here, it is like you have never been to Georgia at all. You can order Khinkali in every restaurants normally or you can buy them and cook it yourself by boiling them. Mushrooms and herbs are stuffed inside generally but you can also find Khinkali stuffed with beef, lamb, and pork. You don't need to eat it with any sauces because it is already flavored but it is not bad with the mayonnaise either. Anyway, people like to eat it in different ways so you have got to try it yourself!
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candy. It is made from walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and raisins covered with whole-wheat flour dipped in thickened grape juice and sugar. I have tried it and it is nicely sweet. I would say this is another must-try item when in Georgia and if you don't try, it doesn't count that you have been here before.
If you want to cook by yourself, it is very easy to find all the flavorings and spices here. You can cook your favorite dish on your favorite way. :)
The highlight in Georgia during spring and summer couldn't be nothing else but the variety of delicious seasonal local fruits at a very cheap price.
➽ If it is possible please come to Tbilisi in spring or summer (beginning of May - end of October), then you will find this town even more beautiful with all the highlight tourist spots.
You can follow my journey here http://www.FB.com/wishmewings
VISIT : www.wishmewings.com