Land trip to Baku and Georgia
Motivation to travel
It was the middle of August 2017 (this year) when we decided to travel to Baku together with two of my friends.
The purpose of this trip was to check the direction of starting a business with my other friend in Baku, as well as some banking related to my foreign currency account.
At the same time, my cousin, who had been living in Georgia for some time, after learning about our decision, sent a message that he had checked work matters in Georgia and that he was busy and living.
Therefore, it was decided to visit Tbilisi after Baku and learn about the recent changes there.
I, along with Hossein and Salman, prepared the travel plan and decided to travel by car.
From the frequent references I had to the Automobile and Tourism Federation to renew the international car license and booklet, I had noticed that the Republic of Azerbaijan refuses to accept cars lower than the 2011 and Euro4 models, as well as the blue 3 international driver’s license. be a member of the international treaty of November 8, 1968.
On this basis, traveling with my car was ruled out due to the fact that we did not meet the above conditions, my Nissan Murano 2008 car, as well as my one-year license of the treaty of September 19, 1949, which was still valid and was not worth canceling and replacing it with a 3-year-old one. .
On the other hand, I had gone to Turkey two months ago, and therefore, I was not included in the 3-month fuel exemption for leaving the country by car, and I had to pay a fuel fine.
Note: Because the federation does not give a discount on a 3-year certificate, so I have never had the desire to pay and issue a 3-year certificate.
Therefore, we decided to travel with my friend Hossein’s BMW car, which was new and much more fuel-efficient than my car.
to get visa
Obtaining a visa was done by visiting the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in person at: Tehran, Pasdaran, Nistan Som St., Rastvan Alley, Plate 16, Ehtashamieh St. and presenting the necessary documents, and it took about 5 days. .
List of documents:
- Download, print and complete the visa form on the embassy website.
- 2 personal photos size: 3×4.
- The amount of 20 $.
- Travel insurance policy.
- Hotel and plane ticket reservations.
Note: The embassy does not want to give a label visa and insists that you get a visa online through the “asan visa” system. For this reason, he may resist a little, which of course can be solved with persistence. To get a visa, go to the small window below the main door of the embassy on the wall next to the car door, not the main door you see in the photo below:
I was preparing travel plans and coordination with friends in Tehran and my friend in Baku, and I had bought some orders from Tehran bazaar for my friend in Baku. Unfortunately, Hossein announced that he had a problem and could not come with us.
In such a situation, since I decided to go, I inevitably decided to follow the status of the bus.
Therefore, I did a search on the internet and found Safar 724, and through Sima Safar Gharb company, I found a ticket to Azerbaijan from the origin of the Gharb Terminal in the amount of 150 thousand tomans per person.
After consulting with Salman, an agreement was made to travel by bus and I immediately bought 2 VIP tickets for a total of 300 thousand Tomans.
The start of the journey
The journey started on 29/05/2017 at 10:00 PM from the origin of the West Terminal (Azadi) to the destination of Baku Terminal.
Because we had checked the route for the land trip and had seen the map, we were relieved that it would not be a problem, and also considering the short distance, we will reach Baku the next working day morning and we can do our work by going to the bank.
Bus travel problems
Unfortunately, the bus’s purpose seemed to be everything but passenger transportation.
With slow and frequent stops, the bus finally reached the border with Baku. There, we encountered an incident where one of the passengers was denied entry due to exceeding their previous visa’s duration of stay. We had to go through administrative procedures and pay a fine, which took about 2 hours. (This delay occurred behind the Iranian border and after receiving the exit stamp, and we hadn’t reached the entrance of the Azerbaijani border yet).
As we approached the border, both the driver and border officer announced that all passengers, along with their luggage and belongings, had to disembark the bus, leaving nothing behind.
After disembarking from the bus for inspection, I saw several other Iranians at the border. Two groups were families who had come in private cars by chance, and the rest were on foot (probably having taken a taxi to Astara). I was surprised to see that their cars were Tondar 90 (Iranian-made) and Hyundai Tucson. Considering that their car models were low-end and their driving licenses were gray and one year old, I asked one of them, “How do you plan to pass?” The driver expressed ignorance, and I didn’t say anything further. I thought to myself that I shouldn’t make a fuss about it since I had come this far without being informed, and I should be patient to see what would happen. Since they had arrived earlier, their matters were resolved, and to my utmost surprise, they entered Azerbaijan without any problems.
It was at this point that we regretted not coming in our own car and falling for the false information from the federation. Of course, I don’t want to pass judgment. Perhaps it is a regulation communicated by the Republic of Azerbaijan, and in this particular case, the border officers wanted to avoid causing any problems for those families and disrupting their journey.
Move to Baku
Finally, after inspection and visa checks, and receiving entry stamps in our passports, we boarded the bus again. Unfortunately, due to the issues I mentioned earlier, the bus deviated from the main route and highway and passed through old roads with numerous potholes. Eventually, in the afternoon, we arrived in Baku, but unfortunately, the banks were closed.
I contacted my friend Behnam in Baku, and he came to pick us up and took us to his home.
I told him about the incident of not reaching the bank and asked him if we could go together the next day. Unexpectedly, he gave us some surprising news and said, “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow are official holidays due to the Eid al-Adha, so the banks will be closed for two days!”
As a result, we had to stay in Baku for a few extra days and engaged in exploring and researching about business and investment opportunities. After the holidays, I went to the bank and completed the necessary banking tasks. However, due to the unpleasant experience we had with the bus, we decided to travel to Georgia by train.
Decided to travel by train
One of the important metro stations in Baku, which was also connected to the train, was called 28MAY. We went there and bought two international train tickets from Baku to Tbilisi for a total of 50 manats. The train was scheduled to depart at 21:50. With peace of mind, we resumed exploring the city and finally returned to the station with our friend from Baku, Behnam. We bid farewell to him and boarded the train.
Moving to Tbilisi
The train was from the same series of Russian trains, which is a little wider than our own trains, and it is actually similar to our 4-bed compartments, but it does not have a compartment door, and there are 2 upper and lower beds next to the corridor.
That is, in front of the four beds that are inside the doorless compartment, there are 2 beds on top of each other next to the corridor window.