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We took a train from Tbilisi to Batumi and paid only 23 GEL for a second class place. The train is air conditioned. It leaves at 22.40 from Tbilisi and at 7.00 you are in Batumi. Instead of Batumi they call it Makhinjauri at the traffice schedule, but it is Batumi.
Written Jul 20, 2012
Plenty of buses dashing around town, perhaps the useful ones for tourists are #9 & 10 which go to the airport. #10 is particularly good as it travels along the seafront first. Hold your hand out to stop the bus, we didn't find too many official bus stops and they always stopped for us!
Buy a ticket (0.5 lari May 2012) from the driver, or in supermarkets, and don't forget to stamp it at the start of the journey.
Written May 17, 2012
Small and efficient airport just a few Km from the town centre, easily reached by buses #9 & 10.
Flew in from Tbilisi with Airzena (Air Georgia) spotted several other departures to Turkey and one to Moscow while we were there.
A small and fairly reasonably priced cafe to pass the time as well.
Written May 17, 2012
While I classified this as a bus, that is merely for lack of a better term. The best way to travel around Georgia is generally via Marshutka, which is basically a rather large van that operates rather like a taxi. That is to say, people get on anywhere and get off wherever they please. We took one of these from Didube bus station in T'bilisi on a 5 hour drive to our hotel in Bat'umi. About two or three hours into the trip, the driver also stopped at a local restaurant and we were able to order some delicious, cheap food before proceeding. I should warn the prospective traveller, however: Marshutka drivers often drive quite dangerously by western standards. On one occasion, I remember the driver passing a truck while going up a hill with very limited visibility. If there had been another car coming right then, I most likely would not be here to this story. Also, as with most places in Georgia, smoking is permitted wherever and whenever. The driver must have smoked about 4 packs during that ride. Overall, I would say it was a very culturally shocking experience, but definitely rewarding. And they are often quite cheap. We paid 20 GEL (app. 10 USD) for the whole 5 hour ride from T'bilisi to Bat'umi.
Written Sep 14, 2006
Arriving or leaving by ship sounds a lovely idea, but finding information about boat schedules is nothing short of a nightmare. There is definitely a boat between Batumi and Sochi in Russia (the only way of crossing into that part of Russia, as the Georgian-Abkhazian border is shut), as I have seen it leave the harbour. I imagine you'll need a Russian visa in advance, and a lot of luck in finding a ticket office willing to sell a ticket to a foreigner.
In the Georgian Times, there was a big feature about the government trying to encourage tourism, and one of their new projects was to start a sea connection between Batumi and Trabzon. It was supposedly launched in May, and everyone in Tbilisi recommended I take the boat. People in Batumi had other ideas. Maybe it is a state secret...whenever I mentioned taking the boat, people averted their eyes, ignored me, or lied and said there was no boat. I traipsed round the various offices, some of them even advertising the boat, but to no avail. The customs' house was deserted save for a lone painter up a ladder who found my question so taxing he had to ask me to leave adn shut the door very forcefully behind me. At the entrance to the port, I was eyed suspiciously at the mere mention of travelling by boat. At the ticket office for the "Batumi Express", I was told that the boats don't go to Trabzon, despite the huge advert in the window for such a service. All very strange...I gave up and took the minibus instead!
Written Sep 11, 2005
The border post at Sarpi is just twenty minutes or so south of Batumi. Getting there from batumi is easy....just board one of the minibuses marked "Sarpi" in Latin script that wait for passengers in the "square" east of Gamsakhurdias Kuchas. The cost is 1 Lari 50 tetris, and they leave when full (frequently in summer, as Sarpi has one of the cleanest beaches).
Arriving from Turkey, you may be lucky and find a marshrutka ready to make the return trip into Batumi, but more likely you will be surrounded by taxi drivers...not as fierce or as streetwise as their counterparts on the Turkish side, the price seems to be a reasonable 9-10 Lari, and most of the drivers can hold a conversation in Turkish (if that is any help!)
The border takes about half an hour to cross...the Georgian side is easy, but the queues for visas on the Turkish side can be tiresome, especially if you are stuck behind bus passengers. Nobody asks for bribes, nobody asks for "presents". Buses spend hours at the border, which is why I don't recommend taking a direct bus between the two countries...far easier, cheaper and quicker to do the trip in stages
On the other side in Sarpi, you are at the mercy of the taxi cartel. Official prices are posted on the wall, but nobody takes any notice of those. Dolmus are prevented from waiting for passengers at the border, so you have no choice but to take a taxi as far as Hopa. You can argue about the price, but it makes no difference really. Look around for locals to share a lift with... might prevent being ripped off.
Changing money is a problem. There is a small exchange booth on the georgian side, where you can change Turkish lira into Georgian lari (a bad rate of YTL1 = 1 Lari), but nothing on the Turkish side...try to get hold of enough Turkish lira to get you to the nearest bank (in hopa), as although the taxi drivers will accept US dollars, they will claim not to have any change.
Updated Sep 11, 2005
Batumi's bus station is a fair walk from the centre of town, so if you have any amount of luggage, take a taxi. Buses head off for Tbilisi and towns en route early morning, while faster marshrutkas (minibuses) take those travellers like me who are not such early risers. The resort of Kobuleti is over an hour away, while the journey by marshrutka to Kutaisi takes 3-4 hours, and to Tbilisi, an uncomfortable 6 hours. Buses are slower, but marshrutkas are a mixed bag of comfortable and crushed...it just depends on what seat you manage to grab and how many passengers are picked up along the way!
Be warned that the road out of Batumi is possibly one of the worst roads I have travelled on anywhere...to be fair, that is because of a massive road-surfacing project, but the going is slow, bumpy and very dusty for at least an hour.
For an idea of price, the six hour trip by minibus to Tbilisi costs 16 Lari...
Written Sep 11, 2005
1 Review and 52 Opinions The newly built Sheraton Batumi offers comfortable surroundings with direct beach access and...