Firstly, here are a few tips you might consider for when preparing a trip to Armenia.
- When riding the taxi, be sure to have a picture of your destination ready or an Armenian translation so the driver will understand and take you there.
- For tipping, the minimum amount you can give to the driver is 1000 AMD (2 USD).
- Go with a group tour but also enjoy the rest of the day exploring the city on your own.
- Try their local food.
- Drink their local beer.
- If you’re visiting during the summer like us, wear comfortable clothes. They’re not strict at all.
- If you’re planning to go places max 2 hours away from Yerevan, you can stay in one hotel and just take a taxi to wherever.
- Go around the city and if you’re on a budget, limit your visits to places where there are no fees.
*If you wanna skip the talking, you can check my photo gallery through this link: ARMENIA ♡
So this is how we spent the first day. We booked the hotel for four days because we arrived in the morning of the 8th of Aug and our departure was in the morning of 10th. Basically, it was just a two-day trip but we made it sure they were spent well and not a minute went to waste.
We took a nap upon our arrival since we had a few hours before our tour starts. We made the reservation for the group tour in advance. You can check out the itinerary through this link: Enlightened Armenia. It was priced at 39 USD pp and I’d honestly say that the tour itself was more than what we paid for.
Before the actual tour, we took a quick peep at Pushkin street looking for a place to eat. So here’s another tip, a usual Armenian day starts at 9 so arriving early didn’t benefit us that much. We asked Envoy Hostel if there was a place we could eat around and here there’s a shop that opens at 8.
Right now, I’m having a dilemma why I’m blogging because fudge, I didn’t get the place’s name. But it’s a safe 150 meters right of Envoy Hostel. We waited a few minutes since we’re a little early from their opening time but it was all good because the streets around were easy to roam around. We had sumptuous bagels that I also didn’t take pictures of because we were 30 minutes away from departure time of the tour and so I hope these excuses are enough for you to forgive me 😛
From the tour name itself, Enlightened Armenia it’s goal was for us to embrace the rich history of how Armenians achieve being the first Christian nation in the world. It wasn’t an easy task having to set forth a belief. First stop was St. Hripsime’s church. St. Hripsime didn’t trade what she believed in even if the King tried to overpower her causing her torture and eventually death. The two other churches were Gayane and Echmiadtzin Church (known as the mother church of Armenia).
In Gayane, we were able to witness a church service but we didn’t stay inside that much because we didn’t want to ruin the service with a touristy act like taking picture of the inside.
This was just only the beginning of the tour and we didn’t expect there were more in store for us despite seeing the itinerary. Lol.
Here’s the view of the Khor Virap monastery with the famous Mt. Ararat behind. I looked forward into seeing Khor Virap because I did my little research prior and I personally chose this tour among the others. The view was exceptional. Upon arriving the place, there are a few Armenians handing you birds for 1000 AMD and you free them. We didn’t try it. The place was a little crowded with tourists and same with Gayane we didn’t interrupt the service because people come to churches for solemnity. But the story behind Khor Virap, being the place where St. Gregory the illuminator was held captive is one of the most interesting things we’ve learned in Armenia. You could google it but rather you can check the dungeon he was in for THIRTEEN YEARS. Thirteen years, people. And the fact that he was able to ILLUMINATE the minds of many to make known the Christianity… is outright amazing.
There could have been no better meal than what we had. Thank you to this Armenians for preparing us yet the besttttt lunch ever.
Down to the last monastery of the day but not yet the last stop, here’s our personal favorite – Noravank Monastery. The view was exceptional. The mere setting where it was. The mountains, greens and the clouds with shadows falling on the church itself. There’s a reason why they say, save the best for last.
Part of the tour (and one of the main reasons why it’s easily a yes for me) is the Wine tasting. All those bottles you see in that first photo, we didn’t miss one. And along with that are 5 bottles of cognac. This short Armenia visit for me was a short break from 6 months working straight and boy did I regret drinking all of those? Nope. The trip back to the hostel was a snoozer. No wonder.
And that’s it for the tour. 39 USD and nothing went to waste. Thank you to, Envoy for an Enlightening tour. Til we meet again.
As for us, it was 7pm and the sun’s still up. We’re in Yerevan so we did a little tour by ourselves.
We went up the giant stairway in Yerevan Cascade to see the view of the city with the Mt. Ararat, also with the hope of seeing the wonderful colors of the sunset. And yet another decision that didn’t fail us. It’s free. It has a wonderful view. It’s perfect.
At this point, I was already tired and wanted to go back to the hotel, take a shower and change. So after taking a few photos at the top, we took a taxi back to the hotel for a quick change for our dinner.
Dargett Craft Beer, it took us a few minutes of walking to find it. It was a touristy and crowded place. It was a Monday but there was a live bar in the basement. PORK RIBS. I regret making a post about it at 2:40am. Pork. Beer. If I remember it clearly, the bill only reached roughly 55USD. You’ve got to try their crafted beers. My personal favorite was Steppenwolf. A must-try I must say. ❤
Hope you learned about Armenia in this post. Wait for day 2 which will come out randomly when I’m in the mood. =))