Baku is a small place, basically you can walk anywhere. But if you need to take a taxi, you need to bargain well as there is no taximeter. Drivers ask you more when it is obvious you are a foreigner. Normally, taxi rates are low and you may not need to bargain but i paid 10 Manat (12 $) to go to restaurant but in return local friends arranged me the same for 3 Manat (3.5$)
Unique Suggestions: Bargain or let locals bargain on your behalf.
Fun Alternatives: If you are staying in a hotel, main area Fountain Square, I bet is only walking distance from you.
- Road Trip
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
Carpets: Some of the most world’s carpets are made in the area of the greater Azerbaijan. During the Soviet era the carpet making diminished significantly as the process was mechanized and carpet were churned out of big factories using inferior dyes and little imagination. Currently the Azerbaijan State Art Institute maintains a faculty of “carpets skills”, and Baku now has at least one excellent private carpet factory. Carpets generally cost between $100 and $300 per sq-metre. Beware of old items: any carpet considered antique (over 30 years) can not be legally exported. Even new carpets need an export certificate. Start the application procedure at least two weeks you leave by visiting the Carpet Museum.
Wrap your bags before leaving?
When entering the checkin, a mashines that wraps your bag in plastic are located. The location of this machine, with its crew makes it very officiall, and you might think this is some kind of reguirement before check in. Well, it is not! If you feel the need for wrapping, then do it, they will charge you about 5 USD.
Fun Alternatives: Just say no, and pass by.
How much to pay a taxi
Once you've made it into town from the airport, the taxi fares are pretty affordable, IF you know how much to pay. The locals will pay 2 manats for just about any taxi trips around town (example: from the Hyatt to Fountain Square or vice versa). To be nice, the expats usually pay 3 manat because then you are including a 1 manat tip. But inevitably the taxi driver, spotting you as foreign and assuming you don't know the cost, will tell you it is 6 manat. Laugh, hand him 3 manat (4 if you are super generous) and get out of the cab. You can't blame them for trying, but you also don't have to be a sucker.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't argue with them... they'll keep saying "6 manat!" if you do, so just hand them the 3 or 4 manat you feel the distance warranted, and get out. Of the thousands of times I've gone through this scenario, they always just drive away because they know they were lucky to get what they got. Especially since it is much more than they would have gotten from a local for the same ride!
Fun Alternatives: Distances aren't really that far if you have on comfortable shoes (ie the sidewalks are shocking), so you can always just walk. Walking from the Hyatt area to Fountain Square usually takes me about 20 minutes and it is a pretty walk. Just watch out for cars because they WILL run you down... there is no "yielding to pedestrians" in this country. They have some underground pedestrian crossings that help with this problem.
- Budget Travel
Not the Sydney Opera House
don't be fooled - you are not in Australia .this is a restaurant on the waterfront and there will not be any singing . Resonable local food and a great outlook over the Caspian sea and the prominade though.
Don't let the cabbies fool you!
When you arrive at the airport the best and only way to get to town is a taxi cab. Ask for the price before they put your luggage in the trunk. The real price is around $20 but unfortunately you won't find a cab driver that will agree to that price. Try not to pay more than $30 - anything above that... is paying out the nose.
Unique Suggestions: Well, the only thing I can suggest is that you try to share the cab and the cost with one of the persons who flew in with you and is also going to town.
Fun Alternatives: Most of the times cab drivers agree upon a standard price among themselves and let's say none of them will offer you a ride for less than $50. Your best bet is to check out the departure times for different airlines. The chances are, you'll be able to take back a cab that just drove in with a passenger who's flying out. Those guys will agree to a price around $20-$25 if you're going anywhere downtown Baku.
- Business Travel
- Study Abroad
careful with carpet buying
Any of the trinket-laden store windows or huts.
Unique Suggestions: If you have your heart set on buying a carpet in Baku or Azerbaijan, bring someone who knows how to buy them. There are good items available but you have to know what you're buying. Never buy any carpet on which you can't see the knots on the reverse side.
Fun Alternatives: Maybe ask a contact or a local where they think it best to buy a carpet. The best deals (and merchandise) are often at the carpet 'factories' themsleves, before carpets have been sold off to a shop seller.
- Arts and Culture
One cas easily be spotted out as a tourist since the local Azeri people have very typical looks. Although Baku is not a famous tourist place there are a few tourist traps. As a universal phenomenon Taxi drivers will charge you more than double. So before starting off, negotiate & finalize the fare you are going to pay. Even in the Rinok (Bazaar) you'll be charged much much more. So pay the money what your brain says & not what the seller says.
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