Azerbaijan Travel Notes

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Australian Embassy in Turkey

Australia does not have government representation in Azerbaijan, all consular assistance is provided by the Embassy in Turkey

MNG Building, 7th Floor
88 Uĝur Mumcu Caddesi
Gaziosmanpaşa, Ankara, Turkey

Tel  +90 (312) 459 9500
Fax +90 (312) 446 4827
www.turkey.embassy.gov.au

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

Azerbaijan is on Greenwich Mean Time +4 time making them 6 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. Azerbaijan does not operate daylight savings. To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

Azerbaijan use 220-240 volts. Plugs are of the two-round-pronged European type.
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

The Azerbaijan official currency is the Azeri New Manat (AZN). The Manat is divided into 100 gopik.
Manat notes come in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1
Gopik coins come in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 3 and 1

Credit Cards and ATM machines

ATMs are the easiest way to access your money, when available. They are becoming common, however should only be relied on in Baku, virtually all accept Visa and Master Card, other cards may not be accepted at all machines. ATMs sometimes run dry on weekends. Do not expect to find them in small towns, villages and rural areas.

Please note that using a credit card in foreign countries usually requires a new “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Cash

Foreign currency is not accepted. Azerbaijan remains mostly a cash-based society. Currency can be exchanged at banks and larger hotels (Euro and US). Do not change money in the street, it is not safe.

The import and export of local currency for non-residents is prohibited.
Travelers Cheques are NO longer accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones
Most mobile telephones work in Azerbaijan and coverage is good in most areas. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing  (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank as calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provider prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet
Internet access is widespread and available throughout large cities and resort areas of Azerbaijan. Many hotels and cafes offer access, some you need to pay while others have free Wi-fi zones.

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in Azerbaijan

Offices  09.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday.
Banks   09.30 – 17.30 Monday to Friday.
Shops   09.00 – 20.00  7 days a week in larger cities. Opening hours will vary in smaller towns.

Personal Safety
  • We recommend you drink only bottled water. Tap water is not recommended.
  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. And men, try to avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a rain coat or a water proof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable.

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest

  • Day pack- The site visits often involve walking on cobbled streets and uneven ground, up numerous steps and may be of reasonable duration.  You will want to have your hands free to hold rails or steady yourself as applicable and we recommend you carry a day pack for your ancillary items:  camera, torch, waterproof, sunhat, sun cream, bottled water (provided), sunglasses etc
  • comfortable walking shoes are very important (Hiking boots not required),  sandals or open shoes are only suitable for evening
  • sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • alarm clock or phone alarm
  • travel torch – this is essential!  In order to fully appreciate the frescoes and artwork you need a torch as the majority of monasteries are lit by candle only, the cave monasteries are dark and lighting in museums is often poor
  • folding umbrella and/or waterproof, windproof jacket
  • fleece or pullover:  It can be cold in the mornings / evenings and you do travel to medium altitude where the temperatures can vary considerably
  • toilet paper, wetwipes and  hand sanitiser (see note below – Toilets)
  • camera:  Please take all necessary equipment/spares with you as there are limited options to purchase additional supplies while on tour
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)

Toilets:   Once you have left your hotel, the toilets will be a mixture of Squat & European, with very little or no toilet paper supplied.  There is also no soap provided.

Travelling with Medication

  • Talk to your doctor or a travel medicine specialist and discuss both the prescription and over the counter medicines that you will need to take with you; take only those for personal use.
  • Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting to ensure the medicine is legal there.
  • Carry a letter from your doctor with your prescription medicines. The letter should include the name of the medicine, how much you are taking or sending, and state that the medicine is for your personal use.
  • All medicines should be kept in their original container displaying your name and dosage requirements, and carried in hand luggage to prevent their loss.

Because a prescription from your doctor here cannot be filled overseas, and familiar over the counter medicines may not be available in foreign countries, it is also important to carry an adequate supply for the entire trip plus some extra in case of travel disruption or delay. Some medications, such as those containing Codeine 30mg or strong painkillers, even when obtained on a legal prescription in Australia, should not be transported across international boundaries unless they are accompanied by a customs clearance from the country concerned. You must apply to the appropriate Consulate or Embassy for this.

Etiquette
  • No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone, they may try to obtain money from you.
  • Handshaking is the normal form of greeting between men.
  • As this is a Muslim country, foreign women should dress modestly, especially in the rural areas, and cultivate a certain coolness of manner. Women can dress in normal western-style modest clothing, although female visitors should avoid wearing short skirts (they must be below the knee) and shorts.
  • You must carry a scarf with you at all times – preferably cotton for comfort in the heat and not silk as they tend to slip off. You will find it easiest to start the day with the scarf around your neck ready to lift up and down as required as there are often a number of visits to religious buildings each day. A scarf a metre or so in length will be the easiest to manage.
  • Due to the nature of the terrain covered on this tour you will find it most comfortable to wear trousers during the day. This also applies to managing toilet facilities where squat toilets are common.
  • Men should wear long trousers only.

Tipping is expected in restaurants, coffee shops, taxi’s etc – the expected amount is 10%

Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)
Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress rules, women should wear a head & shoulder covering (ie a scarf) at all religious sites. T shirts are permitted apparel however they must cover your shoulders (No singlet type T shirts). Men cannot wear shorts and must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.

Useful websites

Azerbaijani Tourism
azerbaijan.tourism.az
Baku Tourism Information
www.baku.azerbaijan.travel

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com or www.weather-finder.com 

The climate in Armenia differs according to region.

Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Baku 3/6 3/6 5/9 9/14 12/16 17/18 22/26 20/26 20/26 12/17 9/12 5/8