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Georgia Republic Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +4.

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. The "Type C" Europlug with two round pins is standard.

Language

Georgian is the official language, but Russian and English are also spoken widely. In Abkhazia, a region in west Georgia, the Abkhazian language also has the status of an official language.

Travel Health

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 malaria medication.

There are no required vaccinations for Georgia but travellers should ask their doctors to recommend some or all of the following vaccinations, depending on what they are planning to do in the country: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, and rabies. Visitors should 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 visitors have travel health insurance.

If travellers need prescription medications, it is best to take them along, as well as a copy of a doctor's letter explaining the medical condition in question, and what has been prescribed. That way, visitors can avoid having difficulties with customs.

Tipping

Tipping is generally expected in at cafes and restaurants, as well as for taxis. The tip is usually between 10 and 15 percent, but visitors should take note that a service charge is sometimes added to bills.

Safety Information

Holidays in Georgia are generally trouble-free, with the most common forms of crime against foreigners involving petty acts of theft and pickpocketing. That said, visitors can minimise risk even further by using hotel safes to store valuables, and by dividing cards, money and travel documents between various bags. They should also avoid flaunting their wealth and walking alone in quiet areas at night, and should remain vigilant when using public transport.

Travellers should not visit the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as they clash sporadically 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.

Local Customs

Georgians are generally friendly, hospitable, and gregarious people. They're known to offer complete strangers drinks at bars or restaurants, and routinely invite foreigners into private homes for dinner.

Tourists should wear suitable clothing if visiting churches. (Shorts are inappropriate and women should cover their heads.) Homosexuality is legal in Georgia, though not widely accepted.

Business

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 are often followed by a meal or drinks. If invited into a private home, a small gift of chocolates, flowers, or alcohol is appreciated. Business hours are usually 10am to 6pm, with a short break taken over lunch.

Communications

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 in coastal regions, but signal strength is not as good in rural areas. Landlines are widely available and internet access is available in cities and at major hotels.

Duty Free

Travellers are allowed 400 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, 4 litre of any alcohol, and a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use without incurring a customs duty.

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