Hi all, I spent one month in tbilisi for business. I would like to share the safety tips I experienced. Night life: Two locations: under bridge and shardni street. Both are places for scammers girls and boys. Start in street: they will approach you to pay girls and their friends. Bodyguards will ask money or you will not pass easy. Inside, bar tenders will keep change or give your drinks to the girls working in club. Some girls and boys will take your drinks if you go dancing. Under bridge: group of organized scammers and workers. They will study you and try to get your personal info and play girls things or drink on your bill. Also, they will get your number to plan something next day. Bottom line, donot go ever there because its bad music, quality really dangers. Photo for scammer I met during one night.
To travel with the metro you need to buy a card for 2 lari. If you want to get your money back at the end of your trip you need to keep the ticket you receive when you buy the card. this card you can also use to go with the funicular to Narikala fortress.
Most guide-books don't advise hiring a car in Tbilisi - and, it has to be said, even being a pedestrian is sometimes a bit uncomfortable! Nevertheless, there are a number of places of interest which are near to the city (e.g. Mtskheta) and you might consider it worthwhile to drive to some of them. My personal opinion is that, although the traffic is heavy in places, driving is not impossibly difficult. However, if you have little experience of driving abroad, you might be wise not to start with Tbilisi!
Assuming you do opt for car hire, there is a potential problem before starting out. I booked a fairly cheap car online with Hertz. When I arrived in the office, complete with copy documentation, they claimed to have no knowledge of the booking although a larger and more expensive car - not yet cleaned - was available. To make this clear: there was no question of substituting another car; the alternative car cost more.
To be fair to Hertz Customer Relations - whom I contacted when I returned home - they were not pleased with their agent's actions. However, when I asked them for clarification about how I should deal with similar problems - and there was one, the very next time I rented a car from them! - I got this response: "Please do note however that we can only act when the rental has been closed, during the rental the location should be your first point of contact." Or, to put it another way, until the agent has finished messing up your rental, you're on your own.
If this doesn't actually put you off renting a car, it might be a good idea to call at the office a day or two before you want the car to make sure it is available.
When there is an advertisment on the forums than reporting it is only a click away. However abuse and advertising on a home page is not easy to repost.
Sometimes you have to give people the benefit of the doubt when you think that there might be a subtle advertisement but this has gone too far and this last one was the straw the broke the camel's back for me.
It is Irma's House in Tblisis Georgia
This owner has generated 7 tips under 7 different aliases. What gave it away was the fact that all 7 profiles have only one tip, in one location, one hotel in Tbilisi. They all have only good things to say about the apartment and place. There is nothing under these profiles except this apartment. By the way they disappeared after they place the bait or (tip) never to show up again. Please check the last log on date for each profile.
I have nothing against advertisement but it should recognizeed for what it is and it should not be disguised under a tip or a travel advice. Actually I tried to rent the apartment when I traveled to Tbilisi but some how I was uncomfortable and suspicious after I talked to the owner and decided against staying there
I suggest that these tips to be removed. What do you think
Hey...face it Americans are good at exporting death. First we want to sell you guns then we want to put the "Palace of Obesity" aka McDonalds smack dab in the center of your city. If our guns don't kill you......those quarter pounders with cheese eventually will.
Mc Donalds in Tbilisi..
pls read this.."great Temple of American efficiency and health,Mc Donalds came to Georgia in february 1999(georgiawiki)
an other one writes..."we have it" you have it????? God bless you..
My dear Georgians..Please do not super size yourself..
If you are in Tbilisi watch out for the following guys:-
* A guy who claims to be an architect from Holland called Hilke (please pardon me if I don't have the spelling correct)
* A guy who claims to be Georgian called Mika
* A guy from England who is known to his friends as Jonah
They will happilly invite you into the their group and go round a few bars. Then you are likely to be given a suggestion of a nightclub. After a few drinks in there they will do a runner and leave you at the mercy of the security staff and having to pay the bill for all the drinks that has been bought
Hilke claims to be from Friesland in Northen Holland before living in Amsterdam for 10 years. He claims he moved to Tbilisi in Spring 2007 where he says he now works as an architect. He is probably around 40 years old
Mika claims to be a big shot in the property world working for an English guy running a property development company out there. Mika is younger than Hilke
Jonah is a friend of the English guy who Mika claims to work for. Jonah says he is a real big shot as the Marketing Director of the Extreme Snowboarding association or something similar. He says he doesn't live in Georgia and was only there to visit his friend but while there he said he had a job interview for a position offering a salary of $200,000 US. Jonah is around the same age as Mika.
And how much money on the tab did these alleged high fliers of Tbilisi society do a bolt from the restaurant to avoid paying? The equivalent of $50 US
Pickpocketting still remains a problem though not as huge one as 5 years ago. Back then the whole groups of pickpocketters roamed the markets, streets, busses and police knew about them without interfering. As I have heard from one of the market employee the pick potters were warned by new government that they would face 0 tolerances if they continued their practice. Things improved... Though on some places this may again come up...
AVOID GÜLHAN TRAVEL! Bloody bloodsuckers... Scheming, rude, mercenary!
Dropped off at T'bilisi's Ortachala Vagzel looking for a marshrutka to Yerevan, Armenia. Someone spotted me and introduced himself and took me to an agency - GÜLHAN TRAVEL. I first checked around but no one else seemed to be leaving for Yerevan, Armenia. I was charged a ridiculous GEL35.00 (USD20.00) for the trip. I've met other travelers who've paid only half the price. The people (this white-haired unGeorgian-looking quite-old man and a loud Georgian woman and another smooth-talking Georgian guy) at GÜLHAN managed to suck me into shelling out USD20.00 for the passage. It might be a lot cheaper to look for the marshrutka and pay the driver directly instead of going through unscrupulous agents like GÜLHAN TRAVEL.
Went to Ortachala Vagzel again to look for a bus to Trabzon, Turkey. Someone waiting around the entrance spotted me, introduced himself and led me to GÜLHAN TRAVEL (AGAIN!). The same 3 people were there again grinning at me like they've seen an old friend. I wasn't so pleased to see them. They quoted me USD30.00 and wouldn't go lower. So I walked around and this old-man was following me. Went to his neighbor and got a much lower quote of GEL35.00. The white-haired guy from GÜLHAN spoke to him in Georgian, but the guy at the booth wouldn't have any of it, snapped back and shooed him off loudly. I guess he was just telling him to buzz off for poaching his customers. Mr. GÜLHAN gave me a dirty look and walked back to his office.
Returned to Ortachala Vagzel that evening to board my bus to Trabzon. Bumped into Mr. GÜLHAN who gave me the dirtiest look ever and as I walked past him, gave me a rude, dismissing wave of the hand. Then he turned to his colleague next to him and pointed at me and they started laughing. I waved the rival agent's voucher in the faces and their smiles disappeared.
The LP is off more than usual, not just for Tbilisi, but for Georgia as a whole. The prices are wrong, mostly they are about half of what you will pay, sometimes they are way off, as they are for the Stalin Museum in Gori. The hotel info is way, way, way off the mark, especially for Batumi. (See my tips on that.) The maps aren't accurate. And, the warning and danger section, especially regarding walking after dark, is so dire as to be laughable. In fact, I felt as though Tbilisi was a relatively safe place. It felt far less dangerous, especially after dark, than most US cities.
Ok. So, things change. But, in a rapidly changing place like Georgia, it's really important to get current info. Thanks to all the VTers who warned/advised me prior to this trip, so I knew what warnings were grounded in, well, reality.
So, if you're like me, and plan some of the day's activies with coffee, cigs, and a guidebook, you've been warned!
So... crossing the street is tough. No, actually that's an understatement. It's flat out dangerous. Streets tend to be very wide (8 lanes), and cars don't really like to stop at stoplights or for pedestrians. My method was usually to cross half the street at a time. That way, even though you have cars whizzing by you on both sides, there's really no danger in being hit. And try not to carry too much stuff with you while you're doing this, it can only make your life more difficult.
Groups of gypsies, generally female children, are a common sight. They aggressively go after anyone even remotely foreign looking, and will relentlessly badger you for money. We had 3 encounters with the roma children in 36 hours. They do not stop once you say no or if you try to ignore them. They follow, still chattering and begging for money, sometimes going so far as to pinch you or try and hold you back. One girl even tried to grab my boyfriend's crotch!
Walking along streets of the town does not seemed to me very safe. There are very few foreigners in the town and if you look different or dressed not like others you are an object of attention.
The most dangerous moment was using an ATM. There are very few of them in the streets and it looks like some people are watching for those who use it
Nov '04 - I base my safely considerations on conversations with other travelers, and it seems there are quite a few muggings (and violent) happening still in Tbilisi. One guy I met had a gun pointed at him, and his friend was robbed at knifepoint near downtown during the afternoon. Though it's basically safe here, be sure to find out what areas are dangerous, and be careful at night
Didube Bus Station should come with a health warning!!! I have never been anywhere so chaotic. It is not one bus station, but in fact is a cluster of about twelve small ones, all with specific destinations, and little or no information for those 'not in the know'! Between all these sub-stations is a huge straggling market selling everything you could possibly want for your journey, and a lot of things you wouldn't...this market also attracts people who have no intention of going anywhere and who come just to do their weekly shopping, so it is always heaving with people. There are ticket offices around the place, but finding the right one can be traumatic...'go to kassa 12' seemed to be a favourite response to whatever destination I asked for, accompanied by a dismissive wave and a slamming of the kassa shutter. Howcome Georgians are normally so helpful and friendly, yet put them behind a kassa, and they become unhelpful and rude to the extreme?!! Anyway, back to buying a ticket...sometimes you can find someone who is willing to help, however they usually end up being unhelpful, but in a friendly way. Once, my destination was Kazbegi, which also happened to be the name of the most popular beer, so after a few futile attempts at saying my well rehearsed phrase in Georgian, I gave up and screeched 'Kazbegi, Kazbegi' at the assistant...resulting in her leading me to the nearest bar!!! Borjomi, a mountain resort, and brand of mineral water, gets a similar response!