HOW TO ARMENIA | PART 1
My first travel of the year goes to Armenia! My sister wanted to travel for her 18th birthday and she can't obviously go alone by herself just yet, so this became a long-weekend side trip with friends too. I will be dividing my #HowToArmenia series into 4 to give you a deeper view of what this country offers, what to do, where to go, etc. First of all, what is Armenia? Armenia is a sovereign state in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Yerevan is the capital city which is also known as the "Pink City." Why? let's talk about that later.
Planning trips/travels are always fun. You get to learn about your destination while researching. This time I got to plan this trip from scratch. We originally planned to avail a Holiday Factory offer but thank God for that kind lady who I spoke on the phone telling me about all the "extra charges" on top of that AED 999 offer (includes flight, hotel, and breakfast for 4 days; tour excluded). Itineraries are usually not listed on their website so don't misunderstand their offer and always double-check. Upon hearing that, I decided to look for regular flights online and a friend from church shared her contact person when she visited.
*bookings, prices, and details below were based on my travel. Ticket prices vary closer to travel date so the earlier you book, the better.
Airline: Fly Dubai, DXB International Airport, Terminal 2. Ticket: AED 1149 (return ticket) Luggage: 7kgs carry-on / 20 kgs check-in luggage.
The ticket going back to Dubai was comparably higher because it was a holiday but on a normal travel date, it should range around AED 350 to 400. We did an online check-in via Fly Dubai website to lessen the hassle of queueing. You can choose your seat number way ahead for AED 25 but be smart; if you are flying on an evening, better not reserve a seat since you really don't have a view outside. I also didn't purchase food as it was only a 3 and a half hour flight. I believe you can bring food (our seatmate was eating Mcdonald's so...)
Conversion rate is 1 USD = 485 AMD
Passport: PH Passport Holder Visa: Upon arrival | 2000 AMD *make sure to exchange your money to USD before leaving Dubai.
Philippine passport holders are qualified for visa upon arrival so that means you don't have to apply online. Once you arrive, exchange your USD to AMD first as you need to pay in Armenian Drams for the visa. After that, you will be filling up the visa application form; you don't need to attach a photo but make sure you have the full address of the place you are going to stay. Fill in the important details and get ready to line up for visa validation.
Wifi: There's wifi everywhere around the city called U!Com plus restaurants offer free wifi, even KFC! Phone data: Before you go out of the airport, there is a telecom booth inside where you can apply for data up to 10GB. I got the 5GB data for 5500 AMD (11 USD). It's super cheap, fast, and worth it!
Where to stay? House: AirBnB for 4 days and 3 nights with early check-in We paid $220 for 5 people and that's around AED 160 per person for 4 days! If you've seen my instastories, y'all know how nice our apartment was!
You will be out the whole day so your place is technically there for you to just rest and refresh. I'd suggest you look for an Airbnb rather than booking a 3-star or 5-star hotel. Our friend, Aram, told us that everything was walking distance from our place. The weather in Armenia is beautiful, and people prefer to walk to places like every day is leg day. If you are not a fan of walking, taxi costs about min. 600 AMD (AED 1 for 9 KM).
To give you a breakdown of our transportation tour (5 pax): Day 1 - 33000 AMD | AED 50 per person Day 2 - 38000 AMD | AED 58 per person Day 3 - 30000 AMD | AED 46 per person Airport Transfers - 11000 AMD to and from | AED 17 per person The total price of transportation for 4 days = AED 171 - you get the best Armenia experience from the city all the way to the province!
There are a lot more to talk about in details regarding where to go (entrance fees), what to do, and what to eat in Armenia. I'll keep that for Part 2, 3, and 4. For now, here are few extra things to keep in mind that will definitely help you when you visit:
- Learn basic Armenian language: Hello Bahrev ; A lot of them speak Russian too. Most vendors/sellers barely speak English so it would be great to learn few words with a few hand movements. 😜
- Armenians stand very close when talking to each other. Don't freak out when they are super close to you.
- Greet them with a handshake.
- They barely use spoon since rice is not very common.
- Toilets don't have bidet so wet wipes are your best friend.
- Pork and Bread are their common food but they do serve chicken, beef, lamb, and vegetarian meals.
- April and May are the best time to visit Armenia; you get to experience summer, spring, and a little winter all at the same time.
- People prefer to walk.
Armenia is worth visiting this year! If you're not convinced yet, read again... I got a ticket to Armenia + tour transportation + apartment for AED 1500. All you have to think about is food! You don't have to spend a lot to get the best experience. I hope this post was helpful!
If you are planning to visit and you want to get in touch with our contact person, Aram, and stay on our cutest AirBnB, message/call me and I will refer you to him. He's a great guy, works as a Software Engineer and have traveled 35 countries so far.