Georgia Republic Travel Information
- Republic of Georgia: safe to visit?
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Local time is GMT +4.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. The European round two-pin plugs are standard.
Georgian is the official language but Russian and English are also spoken. In Abkhazia, a region in west Georgia, the Abkhazian language also has the status of an official language.
Travel to Georgia is usually incident-free from a health point of view so long as visitors go prepared. Preventative health measures should be taken for malaria when travelling to Georgia; there is no risk in Tbilisi, but visitors to the southeastern areas should take prophylactics before travel. Speak to your doctor about the best kind to take. There are no required vaccinations for Georgia but your doctor may recommend some or all of the following vaccinations, depending on what you are planning to do on your trip: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, and rabies. Avoid drinking untreated tap water; bottled water is widely available. Medical care in Georgia is limited, especially outside Tbilisi. Many doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance. If you need medications it is best to take them along with you, making sure you have a copy of a letter from your doctor explaining your condition and what has been prescribed so that you don't have difficulties with customs.
For restaurants, cafés or taxis, the bill is usually rounded up to the nearest 10 Lari, making tipping unnecessary.
To ensure personal safety in Georgia be advised that travel to to the separatist regions of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the upper Kodori Valley is not advised at present. These regions have sporadic clashes with the national government. Another area of concern is Pankisi Gorge where national armed forces have occasionally conducted operations against suspected international terrorists, Chechen fighters and criminals who have taken refuge in the area. Robbery in Georgia has increased, so travellers should not carry large amounts of cash on them or flaunt their wealth. Walking alone in quiet areas at night is also not safe and visitors should be vigilant when using public transport and watch their belongings. The most common forms of crime against foreigners are petty acts of theft and pickpocketing. Make use of hotel safes to store valuables and divide money, cards and travel documents between various bags and people to minimise the risk. Having said all that, holidays in Georgia are likely to be trouble-free if you take the necessary precautions.
Georgians are friendly, hospitable and gregarious people. Visitors should not be surprised if offered drinks by complete strangers while dining at a restaurant or sitting at a bar. If visiting a church, suitable clothing should be worn. Shorts are inappropriate and women should cover their heads.
Suitable business attire for men is a suit, while dresses or suits are appropriate for women. Business cards are frequently exchanged. Georgians pride themselves on being good hosts, so meetings could easily be followed by a luncheon or dinner. Expect that many drinks will be bought and many toasts will be partaken in. If invited into a private home, a small gift of chocolates, flowers or alcohol is a good gesture. Business hours are usually 10am to 6pm.
The international dialling code for Georgia is +995. The outgoing code is 8-10 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 8~1044 for the UK). Area codes exist, such as 32 for Tbilisi. Mobile phone coverage is good in the capital and along coastal regions, but signal strength is not as good in other areas. Landlines are widely available and Internet access is available in the city and at major hotels.
Travellers are allowed 250 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, 1 litre of spirits or 2 litres of wine, and a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use without incurring a customs duty. If importing more than 20kg of goods, a tax of 1 Lari per kilo will apply.
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