Tbilisi. Beautiful Tbilisi. A city that gives out a very old town yet modern kind of feeling. Cobblestone Streets and Alleys. Modern Architecture Buildings. Charming Balconies with clothes hanging on a rope. The entire city is surrounded by mountains. A good blend of East meets West.
The trip was a total of 4 days long. That was more than enough at this time of the year – for me at least. The temperature in the city was between 0 to -3 degrees Celsius – brought back memories of the winters of New York. But, then again, it was a good change from the so-called “winter” we were having in Dubai. In this post, I will share my personal experiences, including where to eat, what to do, and most importantly where to stay.
FLIGHT AND HOTEL
Initially, we wanted to go with the Georgia deal through Holiday Factory but by the time we got around to booking everything, December was fully booked. Everything happens for a reason and for the best. Flight was booked via www.airarabia.com and hotel was booked via www.booking.com and after looking into many hotels, my sister ended up booking a 2* hotel.
Once we arrived to this hotel, we were totally amazed. The hotel is called Metheki’s Galavani Hotel. It’s located in Avlabari in Tbilisi City and is walking distance to the metro station along with other main areas, such as Freedom Square or Maidan Square. It has a total of 4 6-people family rooms and the basement has dorm rooms. A simple hotel with a breathtaking view. I fail to understand why they are just a 2* with a rating of 9.3. Super clean, friendly and helpful staff, basically all our needs were taken care of right away. They have a shared kitchen, where a lady would come every morning to make breakfast for all the guests, and you were also allowed to cook on your own.
We took the Hop On Hop Off bus On Day 2 – it cost 50 Lari and frankly, it was just not worth it. We could’ve visited all the attractions on our own, via bus, metro or on foot. Also, there is only one sightseeing bus running throughout the entire city of Tbilisi, so if we got off at one stop, we waited two hours for that one bus to come back. The whole experience was time consuming because of all the waiting, even though there were only 11 stops on that bus.
If you are traveling during the winter months, a trip to Gadauri is a must, where all the snow mountains are. The place where all the snow sports are happening, even though you don’t ski or snow board. Besides skiing and snowboarding, they have Paragliding and Cable Cars as well. The hotel offered to arrange that tour for us, Gadauri and Ananuri, these two places for 220 Lari (for four people) and the Hop On Hop Off was charging 58 Lari per person. We ended up not booking anything because we had dropped the plan. One morning, we left the hotel around 10am and started walking towards Maidan Square, and were stopped by David, a man who was was offering various tours with relatively less prices. He offered to take us to four places – Jvari (Monestary), Ananuri, Gadauri and Mshketa for a total of 160 Lari. Within minutes, we found ourselves getting in the van and driving off.
We didn’t have much of the Georgian cuisine, except for
Khachapuri, the Georgian Pizza. It’s available everywhere, but we ate mostly at Retro Cafe, located in Maidan Square. Quite a few Halal Restaurants and Sheesha Cafes can be found here as well.
Our first night in Tbilisi, we couldn’t find a place to eat in Avlabari,
so we were told that there is a McDonald’s two stops away on the metro in Rustaveli. Let’s just say it tastes quite different than the normal McDonald’s worldwide.
FYI, there is no Starbucks in Tbilisi. The closest cafe to Starbucks is a place called Coffeeista in Rustaveli. Instant Coffee is the way to go.
I had heard about Georgia from a friend two years ago, until then I did not know this place even existed on the map. Quite a few people have traveled to Georgia this year from Dubai, and that is because U.A.E residents (any nationality) get visa on arrival.
♥I have teamed up with this hotel and can offer 5% off the hotel charges. Ask me how!!
Happy New Year!! ♥
Until next time,