Wondering where to go for a short, easy snow experience near Dubai? If you are currently a resident of UAE, then you can go to this country without the need of obtaining a visa beforehand .
Instead you can get a visa on arrival (perks of having a residence visa in UAE) quickly . For more information , you may refer to this link to check your eligibility for a visa in georgia. But for me, since I am currently residing in UAE, I only need a visa on arrival and just present my return ticket, confirmed hotel booking, print out of visa on arrival eligibility from the above link and travel insurance. As per my last checking, Georgia is a destination which requires no visa for Philippine Passport holders residing in UAE. Just make sure to present a valid travel insurance as usually the Georgian immigration asks for it. During my time though, i wasn’t asked. Although, I believe it is better to be safe than sorry, so I strongly advise to still buy a travel insurance. Further, it will act as your security blanket during the course of your travel. So, it will be beneficial to you one way or another.
There are variety of all in tour packages to choose from especially if you are travelling from UAE. There are Holiday Factory, HolidayMe, Arooha Tours and even you can just book directly your flight with FlyDubai, the budget carrier in UAE and just make your own personalized package. It’s what we did actually, so we can explore privately in our own leisure. We just prehired a personal driver / guide (which is an acquaintance of my sister as she has been to Georgia already). If you need his details, please do not hesitate to message me in the comment section below and I’d gladly share the details.
We went during the last week of February, hence, it is very cold and even experienced a negative degree weather not just in the snow ski resort but in the city proper itself! Overall, my budget of around AED 1700+ seemed to be enough for our 4 day trip as follows:
Air ticket including travel insurance – AED 1100
Accommodation with breakfast, Airport transfers and 4 day tour driver – AED 600+ (USD 500 for 3 persons)
Disclaimer: This breakdown does not include the Entrance Fees, Lunch & Dinner, Tip to Driver, Souveneirs and others. Nothing to worry though, they are all cheap, and in case you get short in cash, there are a lot of atm machines and money changer shops in the city. (1 USD = 2.61 Georgian Lari/GEL as of April 6, 2019)
Our itinerary for 4 days include:
Arrival day: Airport to Sighnaghi (afternoon) – Sighnaghi Town – Sighnaghi Fortress Wall
Day 1: Sighnaghi Town – Bodbe Monastery – Zegaani Monastery – Chavchavadze Estate – Khareba Winery
Day 2: Dashbashi Canyon – Algeti Water Reservoir – Mtatsminda Park
Day 3: Ananuri Fortress – Gudauri Ski Resort – Jvari Monastery – Bazaleti Lake
Day 4: Old Tbilisi Town (Abanotubank) – Narikala Fortress – Ancient brick bridge – Leghvthakhevi Waterfalls – Tbilisi Peace bridge – Sabaduri Forest – Departure to Airport
Must try foods: Kachapuri, Khinkali, Ojakhuli, Churchkela, Dolma
Georgians are polite and approachable. They talk swiftly in their language but if they see you as foreigner they will try to adjust to you. That’s what sets them apart from other locals in other countries, as they are very accommodating.
If you are a rice person as myself (Thanks to my Asian blood), you will have to adjust with their food here. They do not eat rice, as their staple food is bread. You can find only few restaurants which serve rice in their menus. Good thing that our driver/guide, who has been the previous guide and driver of my sister during her first time visiting Georgia, managed to know of our rice – sick tummies. Hence, he canvassed for two restaurants during our tour in which we can eat our fill from missing out rice.
I just got a bit disappointed as I was not able to try out the paragliding due to bad weather in the ski resort. It’s not that bad, as we can still go skiing in the slopes, however, the weather is not advisable for paragliding. As much as I wanted to, we decided to heed the advice of our driver/guide since he knows what is the best. And mind you, I did see while we are in the cable car that it is indeed very foggy and it is almost zero visibility which will be difficult not just for first timers but the experts as well.
There are still many places to check out in this serene country. I’ve heard that Batumi, Kutaisi, Mtskheta, Borjomi worth visiting as well. If opportunity permits it, I will definitely come back to Georgia and explore all the other locations.
Georgia E-Visa Eligibility