One of the most important questions that arise before travelling to any foreign country is the issue of travel safety. For your convenience, we decided to gather all the important information concerning travel to the South Caucasus in one post. Read the post and make sure that you have made the right decision by choosing Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan as your next travel destination.
Travel Safety in Armenia: Crime rate
Armenia is a country with a low crime rate. You can safely move around the city, go to public places and use public transport, as the country has very low statistics on street crime, pickpocketing, and theft. It is also important to note that unlike many other countries, where late hours are considered unsafe, in Armenia you can safely walk even late at night. There is an interesting explanation of this phenomenon: Armenia is a small country, where 96% of the population are Armenians, that’s why any kind of crime is quickly determined, and the guilty are punished.
In 2015, the Gallup Law and Order Index revealed the countries in which people feel the safest to walk home alone at night. Armenia is placed 9th in the list. The index is a worldwide measure of people’s sense of personal security in local areas, as well as their own experiences with law enforcement. The report is based on more than 142,000 interviews with adults in 141 countries in 2014.
However, despite these favourable indicators, minimal amounts of crime do exist in the country. Therefore, tourists are always advised to follow basic personal safety measures: not to leave their belongings or valuables unattended and follow all the necessary instructions while visiting museums, theatres, and other public places.
It is also important to note that you should be very careful when you take a taxi outside the airport. Some taxi drivers can approach to you and offer to take you to the right place, however at the end, they may cheat and ask a fee in excess of the required amount. That’s why it’s better to take a state taxi provided by the airport. If you want to know which one is a real taxi, just look at the number plate: if it is yellow or the first are 3 digit numbers than it is a taxi you can take. And keep in mind that on almost every taxi the first 5 km cost 600 AMD, and then each additional kilometre is 100 drams.
Travel Safety in Armenia: Low threat of terrorist attacks
Recently, one of the famous international newspapers has made a rating of the terrorist attack possibilities around the world, and Armenia occurred in the last places. And indeed: our country can be considered one of the safest countries in terms of the threat of terrorism. That fact is easily explained: as it was already mentioned above, Armenia is a mono national country where 96% of the population are Armenians, professing the Christian religion. For this reason, a peaceful atmosphere reigns in the country, and there is a complete absence of both ethnic and religious hatred. According to the regularly updated global terrorism index by 2015 Armenia is at the 116 places from 124. Thus, as shown by the statistics as a tourist destination the country is more secure than many European countries such as France(36), Germany(53), Greece(29), England(28) and many others.
Travel Safety in Armenia: Roads
The situation on the roads is quite stable. The country has a “National Council for Road Safety”, which aims to improve road safety. Pedestrian rights are protected too: many underground and ground crossings have been recently built, and drivers always give way to those who cross the road. Some time ago, pedestrian crossings were painted in yellow colour; that was done for improving road safety, as yellow is better seen by both pedestrians and drivers, especially in evening hours.
Surveillance cameras, which record traffic violations, have been recently set on the roads. Therefore, if you travel by car around the country, try not to break the rules of the road to avoid paying fines.
Travel Safety in Armenia: Medical service
In Armenia, Medical service is at a very high level. The country has a hotline ambulance. If for any reason, you need urgent medical attention, you can always call the number 103 or 911 (Emergency Service of Armenia) and you will be assisted in a very short time.
Travel Safety in Armenia: The situation in the city
Armenians are peaceful and good-natured people. You can very rarely witness fights or drunken fracases on the streets. And, probably, it’s not a coincidence that there have never been sobering-up stations in the country.
The capital is also staffed by special police units, called “guardian angels.” They keep watch in the country, and you can appeal to them on any issue. In case of need, every one of them is carrying a first aid kit.
Travel Safety in Armenia: Food and Water
The country is provided with safe and clean water. Here you can drink water straight from the water tap without fear for your health; however, it is not only safe but also delicious, as it comes from mountain springs. You can also find little fountains (“pulpulak”) where you can drink water for free.
Food industry corresponds to the highest standards. Any shops and markets always delight their customers with fresh products, fruits, and vegetables, which are abundant in the country.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located in the eastern part of the country. This region is known for its rich and beautiful nature. It is no coincidence that it attracts tourists from around the world. It is a well-known fact that about 25 years ago military activities took place in Karabakh, and then for a long time, the situation in the region was very difficult. Later, all the conflicts were adjusted and the authorities are involved in the development of the tourism industry and ensure full security for foreign visitors to the region.
Hotline in Armenia
||Emergency Service of Armenia
Travel Safety in Georgia: Crime rate
Georgia has perfectly developed infrastructure even in remote areas. According to statistics, a couple of years ago, Georgia was ranked fifth in the Crime Index as one of the safest countries in the world. Georgia is compared with such countries as Austria, Norway, Denmark, and Singapore. The crime rate reduces year by year and this is great news for the country as a tourist destination. The tourist centres are so lively that you can feel safe even late at night. There are always policemen patrolling around and controlling the roads.
To ensure the additional safety of tourists there is a hotline for tourists available for 24 hours (0 800 800 909). Tourists can get any information about tours, attractions, transport, restaurants and etc. As an additional warranty of safety and security, Georgia adopted a new government policy. They are absolutely transparent and open to the public and as a symbol of transparency, there are glass police stations in all cities.
Travel Safety in Georgia: Terrorist attacks
No country is safe from terrorist attacks and there is hardly anyone who could state otherwise. We can only consider past years’ history and statistics about terrorist attacks that happened or could have happened.
Previously there was a high risk of attacks on the border of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At present, the tense situation slowly quiets down. Still, tourists try to stay away from these two regions despite the fact that these two destinations have so much to show.
Travel Safety in Georgia: Roads
The roads in the country are in good condition. In the cities, the maximum speed limit is 60 km/h, the speed limit outside the populated locality is 80 km/h. In mountainous areas, heavy rains and snowfalls are common so cars should be equipped accordingly. Wearing seatbelts in the front seats is mandatory. Children under 7 years should travel in a special child safety seats.
The specific thing about roads and traffic in Georgia is the extreme drivers on the road. The crazy traffic is both on the highways and narrow mountainous roads. Still, the percentage of crashes is lower than expected.
Intercity transport is developed and links major cities and tourist centres. The minibus is the most popular and affordable means of transport. To rent a car international driving license is needed.
Travel Safety in Georgia: Medical service
Medical service in Georgia for both locals and tourists are of high level. The services IMSS, CITO, and MediClub are equipped with 24/7 emergency services and English-speaking doctors with an international qualification. These medical services are available in most touristic centres and large cities while local hospitals and emergency services are available in all regions.
Travel Safety in Georgia: The situation in the city
According to the latest investigation, Tbilisi is 92% safe for walking alone during daylight and 78% safe for night walks alone. Tbilisi is perfectly illuminated during the night and it is not only safe but also beautiful to walk in such a dream city. It is clean and neat. The stray dogs are chipped not only in Tbilisi but in most touristic cities and they are absolutely safe. And again, in the streets and on the roads there are policemen patrolling day and night to make you feel safe.
Travel Safety in Georgia: Food and Water
Georgia can be proud of having one of the best cuisines with colourful and spicy dishes, juicy fruits, and the widest choice of cheese. The only thing about national dishes is extra spicy seasonings this is why it is necessary to be careful with spicy sauces.
The locals don’t use tap water for drinking. Instead, they use boiled or bottled water. By the way, they have the best mineral and drinking water.
Hotline in Georgia
231 03 41 Airport directory
133 1 Railway station
118-09 Tbilisi directory
Travel Safety in Azerbaijan: Crime rate
Azerbaijan is rated as a country of the medium crime rate. One of the most serious problems in the country is robbery and pickpocketing in public transport. Tourist centres and tourist groups are the Hotpoint for thieves.
For female tourists, it is advised to stay away from night walks and bars. There has been a number of reports about tourists experiencing unwanted male attention and offensive behaviour. Overall, Azerbaijan will be safe for anyone if kept the basic principles of safety.
Azerbaijan is one of the countries that have no freedom of the media and freedom of expression. This is more about the locals yet for tourists, it may become a problem when communicating with locals. Try to avoid topics about politics and religion.
Travel Safety in Azerbaijan: Terrorist attacks
The borderс of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh are still of high risk. The border is closed and it is impossible to visit Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan. Terrorist attacks are possible in tourist centres. Luckily there are no attempts of terrorist attacks registered lately.
Just like in other countries, first of all, you are the one to be responsible for your own safety. Be aware of your surroundings. Get in touch with the latest news about the country and the region you are planning to travel to.
Travel Safety in Azerbaijan: Roads
To rent a car in Azerbaijan you should have an International passport and international driving license, the driver should be over 23 years. The maximum speed limit in the populated locality is 60 km/h, the speed limit outside the populated locality is 90 km/h. The speed limit on highways is 110 km/h. Safety belts are mandatory in Azerbaijan. Children are allowed to travel only in special safety seats. Highways and city roads of Azerbaijan are in good condition, the roads in remote areas are in medium condition.
The public transport in big cities is developed. Baku station is located in the city centre and it is really comfortable to take an intercity bus.
Travel Safety in Azerbaijan: Medical service
Baku is a modern European city with a wide range of services including medical service. Still, the situation is rather poor outside Baku and in remote areas. It is advised to have health insurance that will cover transportation to Baku or even to other countries (Turkey and Western Europe) if needed.
The temperature from May to October is very high this is why there is a risk of mosquito-borne diseases. If you are travelling outside Baku it is necessary to have the first aid kit.
Travel Safety in Azerbaijan: The situation in the city
Travelling and staying in Baku is relatively safe yet there are things to keep in mind and be aware of. It is advised to stay away from city suburbs alone regardless of the time of the day. Scammers are very common especially when it comes to tourist expenses. More often they manipulate with sim card and tariff prices so it is better to check the mobile operators’ tariff prices beforehand.
When paying a bill in a restaurant and cafe check the bill twice in order not to be charged. It is not a rare thing in Baku restaurants when the price of the items are charged higher than they really are, so be careful.
Tourists are often fooled by taxi drivers being extra charged for a drive. Uber is the best choice in Baku to be safe about the drive and the fare.
Travel Safety in Azerbaijan: Food and Water
Azerbaijani traditional cuisine is very diverse. The dishes with exotic names represent a unique blend of national cuisines of neighbouring counties. Still, every dish has a specific Azeri signature. Traditional cuisine is all about flavours and spices and the queen flavour is saffron used in most dishes. All traditional dishes and sweets are very tasty and filling so the only problem with food is overeating.
Tap water is not suitable for drinking. You need to use bottled or boiled water. If you want to cook for yourself, make sure meat is well cooked.
Hotline in Azerbaijan
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