Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia, and Georgia is a country located at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Don’t be confused with the US state Georgia, that’s a different place and Georgia-country is a different place with the same name. I arrived in Georgia on 26 November 2016, and stayed there only for one day and two nights. Let me explain what actually happened there during my stay.
How to Obtain Visa to Georgia?
If you are from any of these countries listed on this page then you don’t need a visa to Georgia for up to 90 days in any 180 days of the year. And there is a very easy interface for Georgia eVisa which you can use to obtain your visa to Georgia. On the eVisa platform, simply enter your country name and you’ll get information on whether you are eligible for eVisa or not.
However and importantly, there are many countries which’s citizens are neither listed in “no-visa list” nor they are supported by the eVisa system. And among them is Pakistan. but with a Pakistani passport, you still don’t need a visa if you have a valid visa or residence visa from any of the following countries: USA, Canada, EU (Schengen), Australia, Japan, Chili, All GCC countries (UAE, KSA etc). The visa/residence from these countries must be valid for at least 6 months prior to your arrival in Georgia. I luckily had a valid US visa on my passport, therefore I didn’t need a visa in advance. The immigration experience at Tbilisi Airport was a nightmare, but I’ll write a different post on that later.
In case, you don’t fit in any of the above circumstances, and you are in possession of an ordinary Pakistani passport then you’ll have to go to a Georgian embassy/consulate which doesn’t exist in Pakistan. so in this case, you’ll have to travel to Iran in order to apply for a visa to Georgia (that can take up to 7 days for processing).
The Flight to/from Tbilisi Georgia
I went to Tbilisi from Ankara (Turkey) via Azerbaijan Airline with a stopover in Baku (Azerbaijan). That was the best flying experience of my life. The one way ticket cost me $105 using Azerbaijan Airline. For returning flight, I used FlyDubai which cost me $310 for a one way ticket from Tbilisi to Karachi via Dubai. Qatar Airways has recently started direct flights from Doha to Tbilisi, and that can also be very economical for passengers from anywhere.
Taxi from Airport: cost me $20 from Airport to city center, which was a bit surprise for me, as I thought it would be $10 or less as written on the official website and on many forums online.
Accommodation & Food
Georgia is not an expensive travel destination. It’s relatively cheaper than Turkey and Azerbaijan. I got a hotel room (in Tbilisi near freedom square) for $25 which had all the basic facilities. And the hotel was located near the city center, so I could go to anywhere in the city easily.
I usually use Agoda for hotel bookings, and I find very cheap options there and it always works the best. But in Tbilisi, I didn’t find my hotel which I booked online, so I had to book another hotel directly. And that was very nice experience. Georgian people in general are very friendly and welcoming (except immigration officers :D).
The food options in Georgia were perfect for me as I’m used to eat Central Asian food and South Asian food as well as Arabic Cuisine. I had tasted the Turkish food in Istanbul, so a mixture of these all can be easily found in Georgia. And there are fast food chains available such as McDonald, Subway & KFC etc. I think you can find other popular cuisines as well, just Google it ?
Popular Places to Visit in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is not the only tourist destination in Georgia, there are other cities such as Batumi & Adjara. Batumi has beaches which is more popular than Tbilisi for many tourists. However, since I was on a short visit and only explored Tbilisi, so I’ll be giving the list of places I personally visited and experienced.
Tbilisi Old City
The old city area in Tbilisi should be in your list. That place is a great place to remind yourself the history of old architecture of Tbilisi as well as some very interesting points & symbols. It’s easily accessible from city center, and is located by walking distance. I took a taxi which cost me $2 but later I realized that I could go there by walking.
Tbilisi Cable Car
There is a cable car down in the old city area, very professionally managed and tickets are super cheaper. It costs only 1 GEL (Georgian Lari) for a return ticket which is equal to 0.40 USD. The cable car takes you from the downtown to the top of the city, where you’ll see most of the Tbilisi city from the mountain.
Apart from seeing the city, the highest statue (symbol) of mother of Georgia called “Kartlis Deda”. That was another amazing attraction to see on the top which I didn’t now before (my lack of research :-P). There are other beautiful destinations beyond that point which you can explore by taking a taxi tour available on the top.
Find some of the interesting places and tips in the videos at the bottom I recorded while in Tbilisi.
City Bus Tours
I didn’t know that Tbilisi also offers city bus tours (like the ones we see in US, UK, Dubai & Istanbul), but when I was in the old city area, I saw city sightseeing buses carrying tourists. So I’m 100% sure that you’ll get city bus tours in Tbilisi. If you don’t believe me then visit this website.
Rest, please watch the videos below to see in reality how Tbilisi look like, and accept my apology for low quality videos, as I got extremely ill in Tbilisi, therefore was not able to use my other camera.