Questions on Svaneti
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 2:35 AM Last Post By: mattyboy876
Jan 30, 2013 12:37 PM
Questions on SvanetiHi all,
I'll be going to Georgia in September, and have 5 full spare days extra before my tour begins, and was thinking about going to Svaneti for those 5 days.
1: Is it easy to get there and back in 5 days (from and to Tbilisi)? Want to visit Mestia and Ushguli
2: I saw a program on BBC recently (worlds most dangerous roads) and the perception I got was that Mestia is already very much changed, and a bit ruining, and that Ushguli was still very much like it was, is this a fair perception? I saw that the road was changing things dramatically in Mestia (hotels, resorts etc) and that the road was being built to Ushguli and the expectation was that this would happen there?
Any opinions on that?
Is it fairly easy to arrange myself to go there, and back, I know there are flights depending on the weather, but I'm thinking as 5 days may be tight, just to go for a bus or a 5 day tour...does anyone know of local tours you can join that do this area in around 5 days?
Cheers for any advice!
Jan 30, 2013 8:13 PM
Just because there's a couple new hotels in town and a new airport terminal? Hardly. The Georgian government has ambitious plans to make Svaneti a major summer and winter tourism destination, but the region's remoteness means these plans are actually proceeding very slowly. And the idea that a little economic development automatically "ruins" a place--because poverty and dilapidation is, of course, so much more "picturesque"?--is a First World perspective that I find particularly abhorrent. It'll likely be decades before one has to worry about over-development anywhere in Svaneti.
But, yes, at last report, the road to Ushguli is still mostly a miserable 1.5-lane rutted and eroded dirt track, so no danger of finding many changes there yet.
It's possible to take a marshrutka (mini-bus) to Mestia directly from Tbilisi, but the way most people go by public transport is by overnight train to Zugdidi, then an early a.m. marshrutka from there. Once you're in Mestia, you can hire a 4x4 and driver to take you to Ushguli...not cheap, but far less expensive than booking a tour with an agency in Tbilisi. Five days is a little tight, but is sufficient to get there and back and spend a couple days exploring the region.
Jan 31, 2013 12:41 PM
Jan 31, 2013 7:16 PM
3Public transport between Batumi and Zugdidi is by marshrutka. Unfortunately, I don't remember how often those marshrutkas run or how many there are per day. It's extremely likely you'd have to do the Batumi - Zugdidi leg one day and the Zugdidi - Mestia leg the next, so I'm doubtful you'd actually "save time" over taking the night train from Tbilisi.
However, September - October is the nicest time of year to visit Batumi (where I used to live) so it's not a bad idea to add it to your itinerary anyway.
Feb 1, 2013 2:35 AM
4Thanks Zashibis....hmnn....then I think I would be best flying into Tibilisi and getting a flight to Mestia....I heard they are weather dependent, but I guess they are more than likely to run if it's early September.
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
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