If you’re keen on history and easily captivated by differences in culture, or just simply wanting to travel in an unusual place – Armenia should be included in your list. We can simply know that Armenia is the first Christian nation in the world but the struggles that come with it to attain what it has now is what makes their history rich and one-of-a-kind. It’s not all about Churches and monasteries but the wondrous stories behind it. You can learn it by yourself or you can rather 1) book a ticket, 2) get yourself an awesome tour guide, 3) get around Yerevan afterwards and 4) try their authentic local food that goes with a Kilikia beer. You don’t have to be all religious to convince yourself to hop on a plane and go around Armenia and I’m sharing why you should consider.
Here’s a list of reasons why:
- Visa-free. Let’s all be honest, we once in a while look at the list of places Philippine passport holders can visit without the hassle of going through applying for visas. One of the strong reasons why I looked into it and boy, did I have any regrets? No. Philippine passport holders can apply e-visa or visa upon arrival for 6USD (+1USD for paying thru paypal). I personally recommend that you apply prior to your visit. It only takes 2 working days to have it approved for as long as you comply with the requirements and declare proper information in your application. Here’s how to check whether you’re eligible for an e-visa or VOA depending on your nationality, http://www.mfa.am/en/visa
- Armenians are downright welcoming. This is a fact even Armenians aren’t ashamed to admit but most of the younger generations are more of English-speakers rather than the elders, which somehow gave us a tough time communicating with them especially when riding the taxis. Nonetheless, it was not hard to overcome and made it a point we get to our destination. The native language of Armenians is the Armenian language and most locals know Russian and Greek as well. Drivers give way for pedestrians, some make an effort to utter a few Filipino phrases to make you feel at home.
- Spirituality. I’m not a religious person myself to the extent that I would go to Church as often as how you would perceive a religious person does. But I believe in God and all His works are the reason we experience life. I thank Him for everything and trust that all things happen for a greater reason He has for us. If you book yourself in one of the “enlightenment tours”, you learn more about Christianity and have the benefit on a spiritual level. Here’s where we enjoyed a group tour with Envoy hostel, Enlightened Armenia. For only 40USD pp we had a full day (10 hours) of visiting different Churches and got to know about each history that contributed a lot to Armenia as a whole.
- The breathtaking views. You should know by now that Armenia is in high altitude and most of its spots being thousands of feet above sea level. Most churches are situated on the mountains leaving you with no words to speak when you see the greens around you.
- Yerevan. If you want to skip all the tours and long hours of traveling from north and south of Armenia, staying in the city won’t fail you either. There are churches situated in the city, museums that hold a lot of evidence of the rich history of Armenia.
- Food and Beer. I would put this first on the list, but I don’t want you to be thinking I am that type of person, who I actually am. I’m a foodie. It doesn’t take much to make my tummy happy. But Armenia really did a good job at leaving a mark on my taste buds that’s going to haunt me and giving me more reasons to come back.
I’m leaving this here for you to ponder on. My next posts will surely convince you of what you’re missing out if you still don’t book a ticket to Armenia A S A P.