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Transportation between Yerevan and Tbilisi

2011-12-20

The majority of tourists who travel to Yerevan or in the Caucasus, find it worth to visit Tbilisi, too and vice verse. There are several ways of transportation between Armenia and Georgia, so we have made a simple guide to point out the main means of transport from Yerevan to Tbilisi and the opposite combining our own experience with the fixed facts.

The Night Train

Almost a week ago we, ginosiks took the night train from Yerevan to Tbilisi for a business trip. It's worth saying that a lot has changed since last year and here are the updates: the costs have changed slightly. The cheapest class is now 8500 AMD (~23 USD) in case of which you get a berth without a room. You can secure your baggage under the berth. There are two sections, the upper and lower. I wouldn't advise to take a place in a berth though, if you are for real comfort. However if you do decide to take it, then consider that the lower is much more comfortable than the upper one, which might cause a little discomfort for those having claustrophobia, as the place is too narrow and the "celling" is too close.

The next class costs about 13.000 AMD (~30 USD) and gets you a berth in a 4-berth room. Here you can close the door and sleep safely. This is what we booked and it was just fine with a clean room and comfortable beds. The next level up is the "SV class" or VIP, which is a room with two berths and costs 16.000 AMD (~42 USD). The tickets are purchased at the kiosk in the train station.

The train leaves at 22.30 (10pm) by Yerevan time on every even day. It runs a little slowly but ensures you a good sleep. Once it's out of Yerevan, it gets quite cool at night. It is really pleasant to sleep, while you're being slightly shaken like waving on the sea. If you look out of window, there are high mountains all around, every now and then some spots of light peeping from somewhere between them. If traveling with a group of 3 or more people, the train can be a fun way of transportation. 

The staff is quite friendly and ready to solve any issues that may come up during the trip. You need to wake up at 5am at the Armenian border control and get your passport stamped, and another hour later by the Georgian border to get your baggage checked and receive the entrance stamp. The trip usually takes 7-9 hours (9 in our case).

Once in the station, taxi drivers will not let you search for long: there are always there offering a ride. The prices may be on "tourist level", so it's worth to come into an agreement before accepting any offer :) Usually 5-7 GEL is quite enough to get to the city center. 

As for the opposite way, the train leaves Tbilisi on odd days at 3.40pm at a cost of 12/16/24/45 GEL for the 4th/3rd/2nd/1st-classes from Tbilisi's Main Train Station.

Take a train if you want to travel at night and save the daylight for sightseeing.

Mini-bus

If the train service is not what matches your needs the best, a mini-bus service unveils a great alternative to it. Black or yellow Ford Transit mini-buses run from Yerevan's "Avtokayan" to Tbilisi's Ortach'ala station every day usually on 7.30 am and 10.30 am. However the time is constantly changing so it's better to check it a day in advance. The fee is about 9000 AMD, sometimes more, sometimes less. It's paid directly to the driver, instead of which you don't get a ticket (well, you don't even need it, anyway). The mini-bus ride will usually take 5-6 hours depending on the speed and the number of stops along the way. In this case, just like in the case of train, you'll need to stop for two times to get your passport decorated with stamps. The good thing about traveling by mini-bus is that it usually leaves during daytime and you can enjoy the beautiful sceneries of Armenian mountains.

From Tbilisi the mini-buses' station is Ortach'ala. The ride costs no more than 30 GEL.

Taxi/Car

For even a smoother ride travel by taxi or by car. This can have more advantages due to the fact that you'll have a personal approach: stopping whenever and wherever you want, going to the exact place rather than a station, reaching faster. The texi ride per person costs 35 GEL (8000 AMD). A taxi usually takes 4-5 people. Taxis move from Yerevan at 14.00-17.00 pm from Kilikia Station.

We were lucky enough to have a friend to drive us back to Yerevan. What a great saving of time and money! If you don't happen to be as lucky as we were, no worries, the above mentioned means of transportation will serve you well and according to your needs.

By Nare Mkhitaryan

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