Armenia - Nighttrain From Tbilisi to Yerevan


Initially, I planned to visit Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Easter weekend. But as flights to that area are not yet that developed from western Europe, I had to cut down the itinerary to Georgia and Armenia. After two days in Georgia, I took the night train from Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia) to Armenia and spent one full day in the capital Yerevan.


March 29 - Overnight in a Soviet sleeper train

When I arrived in Georgia two days ago, I immediately went to the train station "Tbilisi Central" for buying a ticket in advance. It was not possible to buy a ticket online and in advance, as the system was down and also for most nationalities it is required to show the original passport when buying the ticket. Also its only possible to pay in Georgian Lari and they do not exchange currencies at the counter. The night train leaves every odd day from Tbilisi to Yerevan (i.e. March 3, 5, 27, 29) at 20:20pm and arrives at 6:55am.

There are about three different train station in Tbilisi, but the one with the night train to Yerevan is "Tbilisi Central".
Nighttrain to Yerevan departs from here


Buying ticket

Tbilisi Central is a more modern building than I expected, the ticket office is on the top floor and they even have a line with queue ticket dispenser.
A queue ticket dispenser - nice - as in Georgia queues are built on anarchy, this is a great feature for a tourist.
At the counter, I asked for a first class ticket but unfortunately, they were not available. They say they first class is sold out, but in reality, there wasn't any first-class wagon and I wonder if there is a first-class wagon existing at all :). So the second class ticket was around 60 Lari (around 25 USD). 





Amenities in the train

Yesterday evening I was at 19:45pm at Tbilisi Central and the train was already there, with some staff standing outside of it. They take a look at the passport and ticket and showed me my compartment, handing over sheets and linen which have to be put on the bed by the passenger itself. Each compartment in the second class consists of 4 beds. Each wagon has two toilets, no showers available. No restaurants, no minibar.

The second class wagon was almost fully booked, as I saw when walking through the wagon. But don't know about the other wagons, as it's not possible to walk out of the wagon. In my compartment were to other passengers from Alaska. The couple were bear attack defense trainers and it was interesting to hear some stories about how to use pepper spray in case of being attacked by a brown bear :) 



The train shakes along

Simply said there is no noise protection, except the thick layers of steels of which the train was made of. The train is a few dozens of years old and therefore, obviously, is no USB phone charger or any power socket available to charge a notebook or phone. Noise is one factor to consider when reducing the expectations in having a calm night, but also the shaking of the wagon itself is not trivial, as every inconsistency of unaligned rails effects in a shaking within the wagon in a way not to underestimate when trying to sleep. The train ride actually didn't feel like a train ride, but more like a boat ride through waves :). And there is plenty of it. So I was glad having at least the earplugs with me and therefore was able to sleep. 

Georgian Border

At 22pm the train stops the first time and Georgian immigration officers enter the train. All passports get collected and 15 minuter later handed over again with a Georgian exit stamp in it.

Armenian Border

At around 23pm the train stopped again. This time two Armenian soldiers entered the train. They came to each compartment and checked the passports of each passenger thoroughly page by page. They were looking for Azerbaijan stamps and didn't like them. One passenger of another compartment had one in it and she had to answer lots of questions from the soldiers. As I didn't have any Azerbaijan stamp, the whole procedure only took about 2 minutes passport checking and entry stamp was provided with a: 

Welcome to Armenia!

Doors closed, soldiers gone, train continues :)


As of March 2018, no visa fee anymore and simplified process

Actually, I expected the Armenian immigration a harsh process. I read articles that every passenger has to get off the train and being put in a queue for a long time somewhere in an immigration office outside of the train. Also, I read that it is required to pay the visa fee of about 6 USD which HAVE to be paid in Armenian Dram. Based on that information I went buying Armenian Dram back in Georgia but was surprised when the officers didn't ask for any fee to be paid at all. It seems they abolished the Visa fee in the last few weeks or months.

Arrival in Yerevan

The train arrived right on time at 6:55am in Yerevan. From there, its an easy metro ride directly to the Republic Square in the middle of Yerevan and the ride can be paid in cash. At least here I could take advantage of my pre-bought Armenian Drams:)



March 30 - One day in Yerevan

Back home I pinned down each place to see on google maps and it made it easy to simply walk from A to B and C. The sites are not too far apart and also there is not too much to see within Yerevan. But the few things are nice to watch and walk through. Especially the Cascade, a huge staircase, from where its possible to see the whole city from above.

In the middle of Yerevan is the "Yerevan" Sign in front of the History Museum. Im glad I had the chance to make a photo before some chinese tourists were starting to climb on it and broke the letter V :). The tourist somehow tried to fix it but it didnt really work and not two minutes later already some police officers came along and took the tourist aside where they kept them. Probably they wanted to get a bribe :D

Only have one day in Yerevan and tomorrow early morning I will fly back with a 30 minutes flight to Georgia, from where the journey continues back home. Therefore I did not have much time to visit all the places in things I wanted to see. For example the Erebuni Fortress or the Garni Temple, which both are a bit outside of the center.



The City Hall


View towards Victory Bridge


The Cascade Complex has some weird monuments and statues in the front. On the top is a huge obelisk placed on a balcony. Somehow I didnt find out what its name or purpose was.


View from the Cascade Complex Stairs torwards city center.


Cool apartment building. Looks like an A in the middle for Armenia.


Saint Gregor the Illuminaty Cathedral. Was here in the morning and the sun was just to bright right behind the cathedral. Incidentally I passed by the church right before sunset again and there was the cathedral standing in a nice sunlight.





Sightseeing in Yerevan


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