Crossing into Georgia from Azerbaijan-Georgia Border near Balakan

Got ready in the morning, drank tea at the chaikhana, it was raining in Sheki, checked out from hostel. I had to cross the Azerbaijan-Gerogia land border near the town of Balakan.

Walked to the Sheki Bus station, I wanted to take the first marshrutka from Sheki to Balakan which departs from Shekin in the morning at 10:10 AM. I reached around 9 AM at Sheki Bus station, kept my heavier backpack in the marshrutka, bought some food items from the shop inside the Sheki bus station and waited for marshrutka to leave.

After some time a lady from America, an old couple from South Korea and a girl from China joined, they all were going to cross the border. The marshrutka left on time, the scenery along the way was very beautiful, small towns, sheeps, cattles, horses, rivers along the way, and you can see the mountains in the back.

We passed Zaqatala and reached Balakan town, the driver took us straight to the border gate, each one of us paid 8 AZN for the entire ride from Sheki to border gate.

The border crossing was easy, first I passed from Azerbaijan side, the officer stamped the exit sticker on my passport, next I walked on the bridge across the river to reach the Georgian side, Georgian officer checked all my documents, I had all the documents, after 15 minutes and basic questions about my purpose of visit, they let me pass. The officer stamped entry sticker on my passport and said welcome to Georgia.

I took 100 Georgian Lari (GEL) from the ATM at the Georgian side, with 4 GEL as commision. Walked from the Georgian side to the taxi stand, I wanted to reach the Lagodekhi marshrutka station, which was just 5 KM ahead, the driver asked me 10 GEL, since none of the drivers were willing to bargain and it was raining , so I agreed to pay 10 GEL, the taxi driver dropped me at Lagodekhi marshrutka station.

I had booked my stay for the night in Sighnaghi, but there were no marshrutka for Tsnori (the nearby town to Sighnaghi), I waited for more than an hour, a taxi would cost me way too much, good thing was since I was close to border my Azerbaijan Bakcell sim was still working in Georgia. I messaged the hostel owner and told her that I will go to Tbilisi, since there was no transportation to reach Sighnaghi, she understood my situation.

I paid 15 GEL and got into the marshrutka for Tbilisi, the drive from Lagodekhi to Tbilisi city was around 3 hours. Reached Tbilisi around 7 PM, since I didn't had Georgian sim I didn't have internet connection. I wanted to book a Bolt ride to reach my hostel, two boys from Pakistan who were studying medicine in Tbilisi helped me with hotspot, I booked a Bolt and reached my hostel in 20 minutes.

Checked-in to Tbil Home Hostel, it was in good location, very close to city center. Ate food, drank tea, took rest and had a good conversation with a girl from Malaysia, she came from UK and was going to Kutaisi in the night.

Some of the photos that I took that day