Located in the Caucasus region, Armenia creates a name to tourists and travelers from all over the world because of its beautiful sceneries and historical attractions. Those who intend to visit this country should, at least, know few important things that would help eliminate hasles and troubles.
Armenia is a Christian country. It is also known as the first and the oldest in the world.
The only medium of payment accepted is the AMD (Armenian Drams). Bring USD (United states dollars) with you when you visit as you can only buy AMD at the airport with your USD. This is a very important note to make. We suggest that you buy only AMD 10,000 that would cover necessary expenses at the airport and buy the rest of AMD you need when you reach the city.
There is also a good news for those who have AED on hand. You can exchange this with AMD in SAS Supermarket which is located in Yerevan near the Republic Square. USD 1 = AMD 483. AED 1 = AMD 128. Of course, exchange may vary at times.
Depending on one’s nationality, visas are granted. Filipino nationals qualify for a visa upon arrival. Visa cost is AMD 3,000 per person.
If you booked your hotel or hostel, you may contact them for airport pickup and transfer. Others offer it for free while others offer it for a minimal charge. In our case, we were charged AMD 3,000 for pick up from the airport plus another AMD 3,000 for drop off. Taxi within the city normally costs AMD 600 to AMD 1,000. They don’t normally use their taxi meters!
Most Armenians only speak in Armenian and Russian languages. And very few can communicate in English. So it is always better if you have a guide with you when visiting places. Though you can manage to walk around the city center without getting one.
A lot of hotels and hostels are found within the city center. Some of them, such as Marriot and Best Hostel Republic Square, are located just outside the Republic Square. Booking a place to stay totally depends on your budget and level of comfort. For hostels, private room with bath normally costs AMD 12,000 – AMD 15,000 per night and dormitory beds with shared bath costs AMD 2,800 – AMD 3,500 per night.
Restaurants and food chains in Armenia offer good pork, beef, chicken, and lamb dishes. Pork is a best seller for those who are coming from countries which do not allow it. And it is deliciously cooked like no other. Two of the best pork-serving restaurants are Karas and Giboie Mod.
There are 4 seasons in Armenia. Winter is from December to February. Spring is from March to May. Summer is from June to August. Fall is from September to November. For those who loves to play snow balls and enjoy skiing, winter is the best time for you to visit. For those who wanted to enjoy a cold weather and watch the flowers bloom, spring is the best season to come. For those who wanted to do sightseeing under the heat of the sun and scenic viewing of what Armenia has to offer, wait for summer before planning your trip.
Museums and parks are just walking distance from the Republic Square. Among these are the National Museum, Cascade, Opera House, North Avenue, Lover’s Park, Mother Armenia Park, Vernissage Market, Matenadaran. The Genocide Memorial and Museum and the Sergei Parjanov Museum are a few minutes taxi away from the city center which should not cost you more than AMD 1,000.
10. English-speaking Guide
For monasteries and distant iconic places in Armenia, we strongly suggest that you book a tour with English speaking guide. Amongst the popular destinations are Sevan Lake, Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple, Charents Arc, Tatev Monastery, Wings of Tatev, Khor Virap.
Groceries and supermarkets selling sausages and hotdogs, pork chops and loins, are found within the city center, near the Republic Square at very affordable prices. There are those who chose to cook their own food, especially for those who are staying for a week or more. Others bought these mighty meaty Armenian favorites and brought them home to their loved ones.
12. Drinking fountain
There is no need to worry about getting thirsty while on the road. Armenia is one of a kind. Whether in parks or outdoors, one can always find drinking stations, with natural water coming out. These are free sources of potable water.
If you are too tired walking or if you just wanted to get some relaxing stop somewhere, the benches that can be found everywhere is of big help. That is one of the things we noticed getting around the country.
Almost all restaurants in Armenia are “smoking”. Whether you eat inside or outside, you can always see people smoke. We are not smokers and it wasn’t easy for us when we dine.
15. Winter clothes
Fall and spring seasons do not require winter clothes. However, it would be beneficial to bring at least one for safety. High places, such as the monasteries located in the mountains, are much colder than expected within Yerevan. It was noted that there are still other places that are snowing during these seasons.