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trip to baku 2013

County Antrim...
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trip to baku 2013

hi we are hoping to travel to azerbaijan next year and would appreciate any advice on places to see, and do, travelling within the country, any safety isssues, and ways to get there, ie overland or flights from the uk, also car hire if overland in uk registered car isno possible, cheers paul

London, United...
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1. Re: trip to baku 2013

I spent time in Baku a couple of years ago and I really wasn't a fan. Very industrial and restaurants/hotels are very expensive- no options for a budget traveller. If you still decide to go the the old town is probably the best thing to see- you can spend a day wandering around with the audio guide. I would also stay away in summer as the heat is suffocating- best to go early May.

I went to Georgia and that was much better!

Hong Kong, China
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2. Re: trip to baku 2013

Just got back from Baku and I found it fascinating. It's a real mix of old and new. The Old City is worth spendin time to wander around and the rest of the city is filled with brand new buildings and well kept parks and fountains. It's very pretty at night. If just sightseeing then 3 days is sufficient and you an take trip outside of Baku.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: trip to baku 2013

Omg just got back to Baku n left my heart there. What a beautiful, clean place n people oh so hospitable n trusting. They leave the cars unlocked n it is very very safe. Ability to speak azeri, Russian or Turkish is a big help. I was born in Baku but left when I was 6 and just returned for first time in 32 years. For tour assistance contact Zaur at Easy Travel Baku. We stayed five star at Kempinski Hotel in Budamdar. New hotel n pricey but not centrally located but only 5azn by cab from Bulvar. Try Hilton or Landmark if you want to be central. Feel free to email me for more contacts for Baku on dtars73@gmail.com. Best best best place I have ever visited and I have travelled extensively. Land of fire!

New York, NY
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4. Re: trip to baku 2013

Just got back from 1 week in Azerbaijan. Fly Austrian (from JFK viaVIE) to Baku. Stayed at Sheraton airport- see my review. Pricing for Eurovision was crazy (hotels starting at $600, tours $120 etc-- hope those prices will come down). Took a private car and driver (would not hire a car since driving is very aggressive) and went to Shek($160). From there took car and Meecedes driver ( arranged through hotel sheki saray) to telavi, georgia for $120. Continued through beautiful Georgia ( telavi, kazegi, Tbilisi, borjomi, then private driver to sevan, armenia ($250). Then on to Yerevan as base for daily excursions. 16 day trip, 5 star accommodations whereever available, private drivers $2700pp. Study some Russian. Beautiful Trip .

Perth, Australia
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5. Re: trip to baku 2013

Stayed the Eurovision week too - found it a fascinating and welcoming place.

Biggest danger as I see it is on the roads - use the "London" taxis in the city and a safe car with a sensible experienced driver for out in the country.

We did the northern mountain drive to Xinaliq. Fabulous scenery but don't attempt in wet or icy weather!

Can't wait for an excuse to return and explore more of the country.

Mercer Island, WA
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6. Re: trip to baku 2013

Be sure to allow several months to obtain a visa. After starting the process a couple of months ago, I was told Friday that it would take 2-3 weeks, "maybe more," to get a visa (to visit our daughter living in Baku). Because our trip will start in 2 weeks, I told the Azerbaijan consulate (in LA) to stop the process. We will meet her in either Tbilisi, Georgia, or Istanbul. The reason for the trip was to visit her in Baku, to which we added a cruise in the Adriatic. A couple of months ago, our visa service was told to have us fill out three-page printed visa applications. After we had done so, it was informed the visa applications are now "on line." We submitted three different on-line applications, being informed after each that we needed to sign and submit a "confirmation." We never received such a "confirmation." The person I spoke with at the LA Consulate had not heard of a "confirmation", and thought the original printed application would be sufficient to be a "confirmation." Yesterday, about 2 months after the original written applications were prepared, he said the application was appropriate for processing. Too late. I don't think Azerbaijan is too interested in having visitors. (We don't even need visas for Turkey or the Republic of Georgia, both of which we will be visiting.)

Ballygally, United...
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7. Re: trip to baku 2013

cheers for the advice, i think we will give it a miss

Dubai, Dubai...
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8. Re: trip to baku 2013

I can see many are anxious about the visas to Azerbaijan and cannot understand why these visa restrictions when the country is so desperate to develop tourism. The answer is simple. The country is suffering occupation and threat of terrorism. So it has to keep it's borders secured. This is why Azerbaijan wants to resolve the Karabakh issue ASAP, to afford border transparency. Until then, it will be a major hindrance for Azerbaijan's tourism. Yet it is NOT impossible to get the visa though and anyone should try. You will never regret. Another problem tourism has in Azerbaijan is lack of B&B, 2-3* hotels, motels. While many international hotels have branches in Azerbaijan, they still have to develop infrastructure for the middle class traveller as opposed to businessmen, I think it's going to happen soon. So far there are some low star but decent places and also it's possible to rent a flat/house/room - much cheaper (and they are clean).

Baku, Azerbaijan
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9. Re: trip to baku 2013

The government is wary of giving visas to visitors they can't track. It is sad. When my family in U.S. visits, I have to send them a certified letter that serves as an invitation to Azerbaijan. One thing I hope you'll take away from your trip is to serve as an ambassador to the west about how things work here. You'll see wonderful people, great sights, but you also will get a sense of the political oppression. President Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyev, and financier Samir Sharifov all practice corruption and kickbacks. The country would be much better if the international community helped us make free speech available. But it's a long road ahead...

Dubai, Dubai...
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10. Re: trip to baku 2013

Let's not turn this conversation into a political one but I cannot agree that we are oppressed! We have two problems - corruption (things are being done about it - i've experienced the improvements several times now. The second one is development of democracy which is although happening is very slow. The war and occupation slows it down and it is clear until one of the countries reaches the satisfactory level, the Democratic world is going to refrain from assisting either side in getting to the favourable for the side conclusion of the conflict. By not helping Azerbaijan - the just side in the conflict, the West is trying to force the government into developing the democracy. But by doing this they also create the vicious cycle of forcing the government to use non-democratic measures such as restriction of certain freedoms due to the security and compromised territorial integrity issue, the issue of the unhappy refugees which they have to control. In absence of Western support for freeing the lands, this will continue creating less than favourable for democratic development conditions on the other hand West cannot support Azerbaijan uniformly now because they don't want to support the less than democratic government who cannot afford democracy (they think, maybe they are right, we don't know the everything the government knows) in the conditions of the war and occupation. So, yes, it's a long and slow process. As the only way out of the situation is the ant-size steps towards improving democracy that we experience now. So we need a lot of patience and in the meantime common citizens of Azerbaijan can try harder to develop our civil society in non-invasive, non-revolutionary but in evolutionary manner. This will help to accelerate democratic development even under the conditions of occupation and with the current government. What our radical opposition and "pro-democracy" NGOs are doing now is still immature. And by the way this is exactly what you can here from the European structures towards us - we need to develop the civil society. And this means each one of us has to change. So, start using your civil rights. Use a lawyer. Pay them instead of paying bribes. Go till the end until you succeed. it's possible. Stop grumbling, start the changes from yourself. Walk the talk. Live the civil way. And you will see soon, we will see changes even in the government. Don't forget "every nation deserves the rulers they it has"!

PS: if post will be removed as it's too political, then pls remove the previous post as well :-)

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