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Never been to Baku, advice needed.

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chicago
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Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Hi,

I'm thinking about traveling to Baku. How safe is it for women to travel alone? How is the average temperature in July and August? Any rain fall? Where can I find nice furnished apartments? What places are recommended besides Baku? Any beaches or mountain places? Are visas issued upon arrival for US citizens?

All advice appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Montreal, Canada
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1. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Coco, I was in Baku with my friend, i.e. 2 young girls in the city. It is safe, but be ready for male attention - compliments, attempts to get acquainted, to spend time together, but if ignored, it does not lead to anything bad. Just use your common sense and you will make a lot of friends in Baku! There was one thing that we were not aware of before coming to Baku: night life is close to 0. WE visited one Irish pub in the city center (Finnigan's) on Sunday evening and found only 2 foreigners and a few prostitutes. We did not dare to go to a night club then.

There is an interesting place to visit outside Baku: fire comes out straight from the hill, you may want to plan a half-day visit there (we took a taxi as public transportation option was too complicated).

Here are some of my photos from the trips to Baku:

flickr.com/photos/…

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

I agree - women travelling alone in Azerbaijan do attract a LOT of attention. I'm from the US and am living in Baku for the summer, and at least once a day I get approached by some man who very insistently wants to "get to know me better." Outside of Baku it's much worse. Nobody is used to seeing women traveling without men, and they can be VERY pestering. And be very careful with taxi drivers - always sit in the back and don't be too friendly. I've been inappropriately touched or propositioned by several of them.

But on the bright side, there are many polite people in Azerbaijan, and sometimes sexism works to your advantage. Men in shops or restaurants often give me things for free! And there actually is some good nightlife here, although they don't have dance clubs (anything called a "club" probably will have prostitutes there). But there are a lot of good bars and restaurants in the center of the city, mostly frequented by expats.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Oh, and for some of your other questions - weatherwise, expect hot. It's quite warm and humid all summer long, without much rain. Sometimes it can get very windy - Baku is famous for its wind.

You can get a visa at the airport. The system is weird - you wait in line for the immigration official to stamp your passport, then go over the the visa salesman in the corner, give him the form, 2 photos, and $131

I've been to a lot of places in Azerbaijan, but my favorite place outside of Baku is definitely Sheki. This town is pretty easy to get to, and has a beautiful palace, friendly locals, and is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains. There is a hotel built in an old caravansarai that's wonderfully atmospheric and has a great restaurant. The other place I would recommend is to go up into the northern mountains to a little village, like Laza or Hinaliq. This area is breathtaking, and you'll probably stay with a traditional Azeri farming family, which is also fun.

I don't know about apartments - most people I know just find them through friends or other contacts. There are definitely furnished apartments available - they seem to cost around 500-700 manat a month. There are cheaper ones in the outskirts of the city, but the quality is much worse.

Have a great trip!

Doha, Qatar
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4. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Furnished apartments are everywhere. Expect to pay at least US$400 for a 1 bedroom anywhere near the centre.

As for stuff to see and do, i lived in Baku for a while and travelled around a bunch, check out my blog

…blogspot.com/search/label/Azerbaijan

Montreal, Canada
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5. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Joe, thanks for sharing! I read the article on Baku, so true!

Dubai, United Arab...
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6. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Hey Joe - your blog is brilliant! So much info, which is great because I'm researching a trip to Baku at the moment.

Thank you very much !

Lyon, France
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7. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Can you guys, I mean, ladies, recommend what you should wear in Azerbaijan? Is it like India in that you should stay away from wearing anything that reveals too much skin, like shorts or tank tops?

Thanks!

Montreal, Canada
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8. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

Azerbaijan is not as extreme as India in respect of women dress code. Yes, it is a bit conservative, but you won't be considered as "exposing too much" when wearing a tank top. I guess you should consider dressing up moderately when visiting the country but if staying in Baku, you can wear whatever you are used to in your country, though you will definitely attract male attention but for different reason: you are a female foreigner (see post from Marywhotravels above :) )

Bristol, United...
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9. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

I have never been to Azerbaijan, but someone contacted me about working there for a year! I can't tell you how excited I am about such a prospect, so I came on hear to figure out if I'd want to live in Azerbaijan.

I went to India for two months and noted that the accepted dress code varied hugely for different locations and for men / women, partly down to the huge size of India and its different cultures. I would say common sense (as noted before in this Baku Forum) is key. In the big cities / tourist areas things are tend to be more relaxed in India, in Muslim Kashmir its a must to cover up, although I did see the odd guy with shorts, on the other hand there were very few women with berkers. It sounds like Baku is more liberal than many parts of India. Although I did meet a few women travelling on their own too.

Happy travels

James

10. Re: Never been to Baku, advice needed.

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