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Tbilisi, Georgia for Digital Nomads, Expats and Travel

 I was first introduced to Country of Georgia through its amazing food and wine while living in Ukraine. Then I heard about the 1 year visa on arrival and low costs of living, I was sold. But there was so little information about what life would actually be like here in the capital city of Tbilisi for digital nomads, expats or even long term slow travelers that it still felt a taking a risk coming here for the first time. I had no idea what part of the city I should live in, where to cowork out of, or even what gym to go to. But now that I've been here for almost two months and have explored the city, met a ton of long term expats and digital nomads who have settled down here long term, I'm writing this post to help those who want to come for their first time. I've been all around the world these past three years looking for the next Chiang Mai, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect as Thai visas have started getting more more and more difficult to get.

The fact that Georgia actually welcomes digital nomads and gives us 1 year visas on arrival and as you'll learn, even a free work space, you'll want to pack your bags and make the move. Not only will you want to #SpendYourSummerinGeorgia as they've been advertising, you might just want to spend the entire year here.

In this blog post/travel guide, I'll answer all of your questions about visas, taxes, starting a business, air quality, weather year round, the best neighborhoods to stay in, where to work or cowork from, how to meet other digital nomads, expats, what the social and dating life is like here, as well as the practical things like costs of living, travel, things to do, and other fun things. We'll be looking into the best Georgian foods to eat, my favorite wines, restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, coworking spaces, gyms, how to get a SIM card with data, which taxi apps to use, how to get from the airport into the center, wifi speeds, all of that good stuff. Plus I'll be introducing a section about dangers and annoyances just like lonely planet does, but more of the downsides catered towards digital nomads and long term travelers as a pros and cons list, rather than a list for weekend tourist. Lets get started as I really think Tbilisi is going to be the next Chiang Mai!






1 Year Visas!



The idea of a 1 year visa on a arrival is incredible and makes Georgia the best country in the world for easy long term visas for both expats and digital nomads. Up until now my favorite digital nomad homebase has been Chiang Mai, Thailand but with only 30 day visas on arrival this becomes a huge pain if you want to stay for a long time as it involves making border runs, begging for 30 day extensions or flying out of the country to apply for longer term tourist visas. Most long term nomads there are now resorting to paying thousands of dollars for shady 1 year education visas or shelling out $16,000 or more for the 5-year Thai Elite visa. It's still super easy to visit Thailand as a tourist, staying for just 1-2 months a year maximum, but it's getting harder and harder to stay long term.

Georgia on the other hand gives Americans, Canadians, Australians, Brits, Russians, South Africans, and pretty much everyone from these 94 countries a 1 year visa exemption on arrival, completely for free! Citizens of the EU and Ukraine can even enter with just their ID cards and don't even need a passport! It's as easy as showing up in Thailand and getting a 30 day exemption, or to the EU to get a 90 day stamp, but this time, you get an entire 365 days with no limits! Imagine if Thailand started giving 1 year, multiple entry tourist visas upon arrival for free, which also renews every time you step out and re-enter the country. It would be a dream, but here in Georgia, it's a actually a reality!

For me I wanted to stay in Europe for an entire 6 months this year, but my 90 days in the Schengen Zone was getting tight as I first flew to Spain in April, spending a month there, then and Portugal, so half of it was already up. Now I need to be in Prague again next month to speak at the Dropship Lifestyle Retreat which means I would have been over my 90 days in the Schengen zone if I hadn't come to Georgia. The only other reason I've been able to stay in Europe so far from April to August is because I spent 3 months in Ukraine. But if I wanted, I could have technically just been in Georgia the entire time and never had to worry about my days running out!

What's even more amazing is that every time you leave the country, even for just a day, you get another year stamped in as soon as you return. So if I had made Tbilisi my home base, I could have went on the Nomad Cruise in Spain, hung out in Prague, and basically did everything I wanted to do in Europe this summer while coming back to Tbilisi in between. The 1 year visa on arrival means that you can legally stay year round without ever filling out a single visa application form or doing a visa run for as long as you wish since all of us would naturally travel somewhere at least once a year anyways. Just take a look at the map below. If your home country is green, you're good to go. But even the ones in light blue and brown still can get 30-90 visas without too much issue. The only country that isn't currently allowed in Georgia are citizens of Taiwan due to political pressure and investments from their sugar daddy China.

Even with the travel ban, Russians can still come to Georgia by land with no issues as Georgians still welcome them, it's Russia that chose to stop flights into the country.





If your country is on the list, you get 1 year!


Costs of Living



Aside from the super easy visas, the biggest reason why a ton of expats and digital nomads are moving to Tbilisi is because the costs of living are such a good value and so incredibly low! Sure, there are cheaper places in the world, and even in Thailand if you live like a local. But when it comes to an expat style western standard of living, you can't beat Tbilisi. I've been all around the world and for being a capital city in Europe it is incredible!

The average monthly salary in Tbilisi is around 1,000 gel ($341usd) which is lower than both Chiang Mai, Thailand and Kiev, Ukraine, two of the cheapest cities in the world for digital nomads. That being said I've seen roommate wanted ads for $100 a month to share a flat just outside the city center, and a technically a cheap meal can be had for as 6 gel ($2). Most people won't actually just order 5 Khinkali or a pastry at a restaurant as they'd typically order more variety, but I see locals do it all of the time, especially during lunch or for an afternoon snack. Metro rides are 50 tetri (17 cents), and a fresh loaf of bread can be had for 80 tetri (28 cents.) You can also buy a kilo (2.2lbs) of fresh peaches for as little as 2-3 gel (.68 cents). The two haircuts I've gotten here so far have been 5 and 7 gel each ($1.71). So yes, it's possible to live like a local here $500 or less per month and plenty of people do. You'll see in the charts below that aside from cheap street stall style restaurants, which is something I do love about Thailand, almost everything else is more expensive there than in Tbilisi, especially things like beef, cheese, wine, beer, alcohol, bread, and modern apartments.

However, what I really love about Tbilisi is the fact that for about $1,000 a month, you can live an incredible Western lifestyle which is what most of us long time digital nomads and expats are actually looking for. I'm talking about living in a modern multi-room apartment in the city center, having a house cleaner come twice a month, taking taxis everywhere,  going out to restaurants whenever you like, and food delivered when you'd rather stay home and watch Netflix on your big flat screen TV while laying on a nice couch. A gym membership starts at $24 a month with no contracts, 20gb of 4G data will set you back $11 a month, and coworking spaces memberships will be $125-$145. So even if you live like a boss, drink a bottle of wine while dining out 7 nights a week, you'll still end up spending just around $1,200 a month or so which is cheaper than the same quality of life in Thailand where things like wine, cheese, alcohol and modern multi-room apartments are super expensive.



These are median ANNUAL salaries, not monthly!



Cost of Living Compared to Bangkok



How Much I Spent



Compare the costs of living in Tbilisi against Bangkok, two capital cities is pretty crazy to see as with the exception of street stall type restaurants where you can get a quick meal for 50 baht ($1.64) everything else in Tbilisi is actually cheaper. Also you actually can get a meal at a cheap restaurant for around $1.64 (5 gel) as those amazing Kinkali's that you'll see below are often .70 tetri each with a minimum order of 5.

But even though these online data aggregators such as Numbero and Nomad List are cool to look at and sometimes helpful, there's really no substitution for boots on the ground local knowledge of someone who's actually been and lived in a place. That being said, here's a breakdown of what I actually spent during my time living here in Tbilisi, Georgia, including the per item or per month costs.

Airbnb 1- 32 Days - Monthly Discount - City center in the Vera Neighborhood, 3 bedrooms semi-modern apartment with 42" flat screen TV, large living room, 3 balconies and a huge kitchen - $420 for the entire stay.

Airbnb 2- Nightly - This is where I moved into for 12 nights. It's also in the city center but near Fabrika (more on that later), it's an ultra modern 1 bedroom loft, with a 42" flat screen TV, nice couches, super high 15' ceilings all for $20.15 a night.

Gym - The first place I joined was expensive but really luxurious at $90 a month called World Class. Now I'm at also a nice place but more of a normal gym called Urban Garden which is just $24 a month if you do the daytime package or $37 for unlimited. I paid even less as the let me pay for just 2 weeks.

Coworking - Instead of spending $125 - $145 a month on a coworking space membership at Terminal or Fabrika's Impact Hub, I decided to work from cafes and home this month as i'm not currently in grind mode and have just been working 3 hours a day on average.

Internet Data - At the airport I spent $15.38 for a SIM card and 25gb of data for 1 month with Magticom. Normally I would have only bought half of that data, but their pricing structure was strange where it didn't make sense to get the next smaller option of 5gb. The second month it was only $10 to renew the package, but was a pain in the ass as I'll talk about later.

Coffee - I've been drinking a ton of coffee though and average around 2 cups a day. The prices have almost always been between 4-5 lari ($1.37-$1.71) for an Americano and the coffee quality has been actually pretty good at most places I've been including my gym and at Coffeesta cafe.

Wine - Georgia is known for their wine so I've been taking advantage of it while living here. The wine here is actually a bit more expensive than Ukraine for some reason, but still for between 5-10 gel for a glass of good house wine or 20 gel ($7) or less for a bottle it's a great value.

Beer - Surprisingly the craft beer here in Tbilisi has been really good and well priced. A pint of IPA or my prefered APA (American Pale Ale) is usually around 7-8 gel ($2.74) and is very good.

Bread - The destroyer of my diet, but the bread in Tbilisi is incredible. Fresh, hot loaves of their Shoti Puri bread, which is a bit similar to a French Baguette but more chewy and less crunchy, is 1 gel at most places which is 34 cents. I end up eating one of these almost everyday as they are so good, and locally available in every neighborhood on my walk home.

Pastries - Even worse for my health than the bread, but even more delicious are the cheese, bean or meat filled flat pies made of pastry dough. My favorites are the flaky puff pastries filled with either rice and mushrooms or the one filled with cheese and bacon. At just 2 gel (68 cents) each, I have to force myself not to eat one of these everyday for lunch.

Restaurants - The nice thing about going out to eat in Tbilisi is the fact that the food has always been incredibly good and you normally never spend more than $10 for a meal on average unless you're a best like me an order enough for two. More on my favorite places in the where to eat section below.

Massages - I've only gotten them at my gym's spa so far, but at 60 gel for an hour ($20.51) it's a great deal as the masseuse and the facilities are excellent and shopping around it's been the same price or less than most other nice spas. It's even open for non-members and includes use of their sauna. Make an appointment with World Class the day before, it's worth checking out.

Sulphur Baths - Another thing I love about Tbilisi are the thermal baths which are a bit similar although not quite as nice as big or nice as the ones in Budapest. But at around 10-15 gel ($5) to use the public baths or private room rentals for 40-80 gel for your entire group, it's great.

Total Costs - Read more about my costs of living, also compared to Kiev, Ukraine, in my July 2019 Expenses and Income Report. I spent $1,050 last month including travel which was a fantastic value for everything I did, ate, drank and enjoyed. Below is a tour of my $420 a month apartment in Tbilisi.







Things to Do



Here's where things get a bit strange when it comes to recommending Tbilisi or not as a homebase for digital nomads. On one hand, everything mentioned above so far, which are the basics of what we need in life seems great. Super low costs of living, easy visas, good infrastructure, great wine, beer, and food. Even cool things like the sulphur baths make it sound like Budapest, and it is. But kind of like Budapest, it's a good place to visit, and yes there are great bars and restaurants, but not somewhere everyone would want to live long term.

When you first arrive, definitely go on a free walking tour both by Tbilisi Free's Main Tour which shows you the city as explained by local Georgians, then go to one by Tbilisi Hack's Grand Tour which is actually the original and lead by foreigners who give you a totally different view of the city, especially on why the Presidential Palace sits empty, and other controversial political parts of the city. Both of the tours take you to similar places but it was different enough to have been glad I went on both. The alternative tour was a bit boring but that might have just been the guide or it could be that there just isn't that much more to see in the city.

The actual bar and nightlife scene in Tbilisi is good for groups of friends but not a great place for solo travelers as it's hard to meet people. The best nightlife spots are the local hipster hangouts of the bar alley inside Fabrika, which includes Shio Ramen, Pipes Burger Joint, and Moulin Electrique. The series of bars and restaurants just above Hard Rock Cafe, namely Wine Factory N1, Cocktail Factory, and Taqueria teko's tacos. Then there's craft beer bars such as the fancy 9MTA, or the not so fancy SMA or Crafted bars. But as you'll read the in Social Life and Dating section below, like much of Asia, the culture in Tbilisi is to go out and sit with groups of friends at tables so it's not easy to go out alone and meet people if you're traveling solo.

A must do while in Tbilisi is to visit one of the Sulphur baths. There are two baths you can go to without reservations, No. 5 Bathhouse, and a bit up the hill is Queens Bath. Both are very authentic experiences, but No. 5 isn't for the faint of heart, it's very local, and reminds me of a scene from Prison Break with a room full of hairy naked dudes standing around completely naked. However, it was a great experience and recommended. Get the entrance, rent a towel to dry off, but expect to go in naked, and get the scrub and tea afterwards for the full experience. All of the others are private rooms only so you need to go with a friend or two as it's expensive otherwise, and you need to make reservations at least a day or two ahead of time. The best bath is the one that looks like a mosque called Cherli-Abano in terms of looking nice from the outside, but the best value for private rooms was Bohema Bath for a good sized room with separate sitting room and Gulos which for as low as 70 gel ($24) an hour you can have both a hot thermal and cold plunge. Either way, make sure you book 1-2 days in advance to get the room and time you want.



Inside Sulphur Bath No. 5

Private room inside Bohema Bath





Coworking, Wifi and Cafes



If I was going to bet money, Tbilisi is going to be a huge digital nomad hotspot. It has everything that breeds a great place to live work and travel from. The biggest selling points are the super low costs of living while having good infrastructure, friendly people, good food, wine, and the best tourist visa policy in the world. Instead of getting the typical 30 day or beloved 90 day tourist visa on arrival for free when landing at the airport, Georgia stamps you in for an entire year! Best of all, everytime you leave the country and come back, you get another year on arrival! That means that as long as you travel at least once a year, which all of us do, you can pretty much stay in Georgia forever without worrying about a visa. This is something that a lot of us longer term nomads looking for a homebase have been dying for, especially for us Americans as the EU isn't an option with just 90 days every 180 days. 

As for staying year round, although Tbilisi gets cold in the winter, it doesn't get below freezing which means it doesn't snow and you also don't get the annoying slush. But really what it is that makes it so bearable is the fact that the climate is dry, which is a bit unpleasant during the peak of summer, but really good in the winter as it's never humid. Also the city is set up for the cold which means it's warm and toasty everywhere in doors, you have cheap taxis everywhere, and don't forget the thermal baths which would be amazing during winter. 

For infrastructure, wifi speeds are great at 39 mbps up and 37 down at my Airbnb and in many places. There are a few good coworking spaces, namely Terminal Vake, Terminal Vere, and Impact Hub. What's insane is that up until just a few months ago they allowed people to smoke inside the coworking space which is one of the reasons I didn't want to check it out, but luckily, Georgian recently passed a new law banning indoor smoking. Also since I've been in maintenance mode and only working 3-4 hours a day, I've instead been working out of cafes and coffee shops which have been fine. My go to spaces have been the coffee inside my gym, as shown in the video below, as well as the Coffeesta on Rustaveli. I've heard Prospero's Books is popular but I haven't been, as going to other recommended cafes such as Rooms Hotel or Stamba, I didn't see any power outlets which makes it impossible for me to work for more than a short time.






Free Coworking Space!



But probably the coolest concept I've ever heard of, which also shows how welcoming Georgia is to digital nomads is the fact that they just started the Work From Georgia program which is basically like free coworking spaces for travelers. It was started as a way for local companies to connect with foreigners by providing free desk space inside their offices. I've tried out the service a few times and met the founders and was really impressed. It's been a super cool way to meet locals and experience the local culture as well. Speaking with some of the hosts they said that they love it because Georgians have an innate need in their soul for hosting guests, it's part of their culture, but the young people don't want to just do it through food and wine as its old fashioned, so being able to host and connect in ways like this is the new way of showing hospitality. 

Now that I'm living on the other side of the river aside from going to one of the Work from Georgia offices, I've been working out of the lobby area of Fabrika and it's been perfect. It's super chill, the music isn't too loud, they have good 4 lari ($1.37) coffee, power outlets, big tables, natural lighting, and it's a super cool space where you can hang out all day. It's almost a free coworking space in it's own right. They even have some standing desk height spaces to work from. The only problem was at first I couldn't connect to their WIFI network on my Macbook Air for some strange reason, even though it worked for others and on my phone. Luckily after searching around for solutions, I figured out that if completely disable and delete my bluetooth network settings, it would work, and it did! There's even a Work from Georgia Space called Multiverse Architecture (MUA) so whether you work from the paid space Impact Hub, the cafe lobby, or the office space, it's a great place to be.


Inside the Fabrika Lobby and Cafe Area






WIfi Speeds at my Airbnb


Where to Stay in Tbilisi



This was a bit hard to figure out before I came, which is one of the reasons why I write these detailed guides whenever I live in a new city. I had read and heard about a few neighborhoods but without really that much information, I had to kind of get lucky with my choices just based off of google maps. One of the first things I search for are where the highest concentrations of coffee shops are, as that usually means it's a cool area to walk around and hang out in. Then I take a look at what gyms are within walking distance as I really love being able to walk to the gym as part of my daily routine.

Vake:


In cities like Chiang Mai it's obvious, the Nimmanheimin street and neighborhood has 20+ shops all within a few blocks and the photos show that they'd be great places to work from. However in Tbilisi, the recommended expat area of Vake seemed to just have a few, and even then they were pretty spread apart and didn't look that promising online. It turns out that my first impressions were right and that things really are very spread out around here and there isn't a huge coffee shop culture yet. Walking Vake, there are a ton of random shops, but mostly clothing stores and really not a ton of places you'd randomly go into hang out, grab a bite to eat, or other things that I like about walkable cities. I can see why long term expats like living there as it's flat, walkable, has a decent park, and is overall a nice place to be.

Many locals don't like Vake as there's no metro station there and that prices in that neighborhood are higher, including the shops.


The neighborhoods of Tbilisi

Saburtalo:



Just a bit north of Vake is the neighborhood of Saburtalo which is popular with both local Georgians and students. It's a fine place to live, especially if you're here longer term for more than a few months. There are a lot of gyms, more space, and it's cheaper. But that's really the main reason why people live there. I personally wouldn't want to live that far away from old town where a lot of restaurants, meetups and things to do are, but it's not that bit of a deal as it's just a 20-25 minute taxi to most places in the center or a 35 minute metro ride and transportation is super cheap in Tbilisi.

Vera:



For my first month's rental, I had actually decided to stay in the Vera neighborhood as it was exactly halfway between Vake and the touristy Old Town. No one had really recommend it directly but it seemed to make sense location wise and I'm glad I turned out to be  right. Vera is a cool place to live as there are small local shops, restaurants, and bars all around it. The popular Wine Factory as well as Rooms Hotel and Lolita are all within walking distance from each other. The only downside was that there was only one gym, World Class which is super expensive, and there weren't many coffee shops aside from an Entree. That combined with everything being uphill, makes Vera a decent place to live, and close to everything, but still not ideal.

Below is a video of my Airbnb which was situated in the Vera neighborhood.







Fabrika/Marjanishvili



While technically the neighborhood is called Marjanishvili, named after the metro station, most expats and foreigners refer to it as "near Fabrika" as everyone including younger locals know it. Also there's a big difference between the neighborhood going from Marjanishvili towards Station Square and the up and coming neighborhood just around Roses Park and Fabrika. With the combination of the area being very walkable with tons of restaurants, well connected by metro, and a very short taxi from the old city, plus being able to work from Fabrika makes it perfect for digital nomads. It's basically the Brooklyn of Tbilisi.

The large Davit Agmashenebeli street has a ton of restaurants and shops and on the smaller Kote Marjanishvili street there are lots of local shops, supermarkets, fruit stalls and bread shops plus a decent gym inside Roses Park called Urban Garden. There's also a CrossFit style gym called Champions Academy nearby as well.


Best Neighborhood in Tbilisi



If you're just traveling through for a week or less, then stay in Old Town. But as a longer term digital nomad or expat, my choice of best neighborhood would be a toss up between the neighborhood around Fabrika, Vera and Vake as all of them are good places, walkable, and in the city center. My suggestion is to first figure out where you'll be spending your time daily, whether it be a coworking space, coffee shop or gym, then figure out what best apartment or Airbnb you can find within a 10-15 minute walk.

For me, I really liked my actual apartment in Vera and didn't mind the neighborhood, but I'm much happier here near Fabrika as it's a more social working space, the gym is half the price, the streets are more lively and there are a lot more places to eat. Plus being so close to the metro station, I actually don't mind taking it instead of taking taxis. Below is a video of my Airbnb in the Fabrika neighborhood as well as my gym, Urban Garden inside Roses Park.







Social Life in Tbilisi 



Just a few years ago the digital nomad scene here in Tbilisi was non-existent. We're lucky that as of 2019 there are more English speaking groups, meetups, and events happening every week, at least now during the summer. The Tbilisi Digital Nomads group just started a few months ago and is growing everyday. There have been a few random meetups, but mostly put on by members like myself or others who just arrived and wanted to meet others, so nothing official or weekly yet.

The Tbilisi Social Calendar group just started literally this month as we had noticed that local meetups and events were getting deleted from the bigger Expats in Tbilisi group which has a hard time handling the amount of commercial posts disguised as events. It's a growing trend here in Georgia but also other countries that businesses will use facebook and couch surfing events as a way to promote their happy hour, package tour, or even their restaurant's steak and fish night. It's annoying and makes it extremely hard to look through the hundreds of "events" happening everyday on Facebook. Luckily, once you've settled in and get enough local friends, you'll usually only see events that other friends are going to or are interested in, which helps filter out the spam, but it's hard when you first arrive and don't know anyone yet.

For making friends, and meeting other digital nomads, I've been lucky to have already known some people who I met previously, some from Chiang Mai and others from Kiev, who happened to be in Georgia now. But even without it, there is usually one event per week, where you can meet others. Find them in the facebooks groups above, and make sure you make the initiative to keep in touch as unlike bigger cities, there aren't events every night so you could go a full week before another one. That being said, a few of the cool events I've been to included Craft Beer Crawls, Wine Tasting Night, and Standup Comedy Night, as well as a few private events and expat's apartments.

The downside is that all of these events, with the exception of the weekly comedy night were put on by people who just happened to be in town, so once they're gone or get busy, you may have to host your own! Luckily, it seems really easy to get people together here as it seems everyone is in the same boat and are all looking for things to do, but you'll often have to be the one to organize the event if no one else took the initiative!



With digital nomad friends for dinner at Loita

At a wine tasting event meetup



Culture, Language and Dating



It's a bit of a strange culture being here in Georgia. On one hand, as a tourist, it's amazing. People are super friendly, and the hospitality is one of the best qualities of the country. They are also super welcoming and overall very kind. I often get randomly stopped in the street by old Georgian men who are interested in talking to me for no other reason than genuine curiosity. Old Grandma's at the shops often try to start conversations as well as so many taxi drivers.

However, even though as a tourist, you'll be able to talk to most people in English at pretty much any hotel, airbnb, cafe, coffee shop, bar, restaurant, or anywhere in the main touristy city center. As soon as you do anything non-touristy, such as go to a market, barber shop, bakery, local restaurant, or anywhere outside the city center, it's a different story. While 90% of people in the tourist area, especially anyone 25 or under will speak English, outside of the center, most won't speak English at all and in general, anyone over 30 speaks Georgian and/or Russian. It makes it a bit hard to get to know locals or have a conversation, but a bit of hand gesturing and wine goes a long way.

As for the dating scene here in Tbilisi, its a bit strange. Even through Georgian women dress and look super Westernized, culture wise they are actually extremely conservative. Tinder and online dating isn't very popular, and a lot of girls are afraid to be seen on it so they use random photos of cartoons, animals, or the back of their heads. Tinder has been largely a waste of time and dating in Georgia is difficult, not only for digital nomads, expats and travelers, but also for locals as they have crazy old traditional views on sex, dating and marriage. So on one hand, yes, there are a lot of gorgeous Georgian women, and also some really attractive girls from neighboring countries such as Russia that now live in Tbilisi, but it's really hard to meet them or date. Even with 1 million people, it feels more like a small town where everyone already knows each other and anything you do will be talked about by neighbors.. Hanging out at local hotspot the Fabrika bar alley, you'll see plenty of attractive people, but they'll always be in a group and difficult to meet. I asked around and every guy I spoke to said they had the same experiences and the lack of a dating culture was one of the main reasons why a some of them weren't planning on staying in Tbilisi longer.

It's completely different from dating in Western countries where it's normal to go to a bar and meet other single people. Or in Eastern Europe like Ukraine or dating in Poland where things are really straightforward and uncomplicated and even just using dating apps like Tinder will assure you'll have someone to go out with. Overall, I think if you lived here long enough, you'll eventually meet someone and get into a relationship but Georgia definitely isn't a place to show up, go on a few casual dates to get to know locals or have fun. It's a great place to live for couples if you're traveling with your partner and are already in a relationship.

For language, yes, you can get by in English as both a tourist and as an expat. Just learn how to say hello "ga-mar-joba" and thank you "mad-loba" and you'll be set as no one will ever expect you to be able speak more and will be happy that you tried with even just those two words. If you plan on living in Georgia for many years then it's a language you should learn, but as a tourist you'll be fine in English most of the time. The only super annoying thing is that it's common for people and even businesses to write in Latin letters instead of ქართული / Georgian script, which means google translate doesn't work with it yet as it's not an actual language, and basically something made up and used locally. It'd be like if someone wrote "Ne ka nin kan bu dong" which is easily understood if you can speak Chinese but difficult to translate even with google if you don't, unless you use a 3rd party transliteration software like GE Translist first, then copy and paste that into google translate.

As for speaking Russian, it'll be extremely helpful here with anyone over 30 as that's what a lot of people speak as their daily language. But it's not 100% necessary and is becoming less and less useful as the younger generation often either never learned it or is politically trying to speak less and less of it. In Ukraine I'd be using it 20 times a day, while here in Georgia I'd speak English 90% of the time without issue. Only when I go to local places around once a day, or if I need to communicate with a taxi driver, i'm glad I speak a little Russian as it has been helpful.


At Fabrika's Famous Bar Alley

Having lunch at Lolita


Food and Restaurants



The best thing about Tbilisi and Georgia in general is how amazing the food as well as how affordable going out to eat is. I first had Georgian food in Ukraine where it's recently become super popular and was really impressed. It's super tasty, and unique as just like the culture and region, it's a mix between European, Asian, and Middle Eastern. You get amazing bread and pastries here filled with cheese, beans, meat, rice, mushrooms, you name it, usually for less than $1 at a shop or less than $5 even at restaurants. There is incredible meat dishes including grilled shish kebabs, stews, roast chickens, and meat filled dumplings called Khinkalis. They're similar to the Chinese soup dumplings the Xiao Long Bao, just much bigger and designed to be eaten with your hands. Just make sure you order a Georgian salad as well with tomatoes cucumbers and walnut sauce to top it off.

But as good as the local Georgian food is here in Tbilisi at places like Pasanauri, Keria, or fancier places like Terrace or Metekhis Chrdili, which were all incredible and very different from each other. But honestly most local restaurants here are not bad, especially if you go to places where the restaurant is situated inside the basement, as that's how local Georgians prefer to eat, wine cellar style. If you're new to Georgian cuisine, or even if you just get tired of ordering the same couple of dishes wherever you go, I'd recomend going to Machakhela near Marjanishvili which also has a location near old town as it's a good local restaurant similar to Pasanauri, but with a picture menu which normally I try to avoid, but in this case doesn't take away from its authenticity and allows you to try different dishes you normally wouldn't think to order.

Aside from Georgian food which is delicious, I've also had really good Indian food at places like Khushi Indian and even really good middle eastern food from random shops that would serve traditional Yemen, Arabic or Turkish food. There is decent Korean food at places like Seoul, good international food at Lolita. If you're looking for a great breakfast or brunch, try the Rooms or Stamba hotel for around $24 including tax, it's a nice fancy place to hang out. There's also the cheaper $7 breakfast buffet at Fabrika which is also pretty good and about 1/3 of the price, just not as fancy.

Another must have while you're in Georgia is the all of the amazing fresh fruit that is sold everywhere in the city. Right now during the end of summer you can have blackberries, blueberries, white and yellow peaches, grapes, and figs all for 1/3 of the price as it would cost back home. Another great snack is the "Georgian Snickers" Churchkhela which are walnuts dipped in grape juice thickened with flour. They usually cost 2-3 lari ($1) a piece and are quite filling as they were originally designed as a meal replacement bar to bring into the mountains on long journeys. The trick is to only buy the red or golden ones as they are the most natural without food coloring. Also avoid the ones that have whitish powdered sugar on them as those are no longer fresh. You can find them almost everywhere but a specialist shop is Badagi if you want some as souvenirs to bring home.

Listen to Travel Like a Boss Podcast Ep 228 to hear food blogger Nathan Aguilera from Foodie Flashpacker and I talk about our favorite Georgian dishes and all about the food in the country.


Listen to the Episode at Travel Like a Boss Podcast



Brunch Buffet at Fabrika


Shkmeruli Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce

Amazing Ribs at Terrace Hotel

Khinkali filled with meat 

The only country I can't finish $7 worth of food!

These are Churchkhela "Georgian Snickers"


Day Trips from Tbilisi



The good thing about Georgia is that the country is small enough where you can do a ton of day trips to pretty much anywhere in the country. The bad thing is that it's small enough where people will insist on driving 4+ hours each way to do a day trip to places that really should be a weekend trip or at least overnight. I've been on a trip where we left at 7am and got back after midnight. Luckily I just slept in the car, but it's still long days on the road. Also the other downside to going on most organized tours is the fact that even though they advertise very fair prices like $20-$50, in reality it's 10x that price unless you have a group of 8 people with you.

Asking around the companies that I've found who let you join a group include the people that post in the Weekend Travelers facebook group, as well as Envoy Tours which is a bit pricey and wasn't great from what a friend had said about his trip with them. I also heard about Spaceship Georgia but they hadn't had a new trip in over a year.

Being a bit brave, I organized my own solo trip to the city of Sighnaghi in the Kharketi region by booking a random guest house there and taking a local marshuka bus. But if it wasn't for randomly meeting a group of backpackers on the bus itself and renting a taxi with them to go to some wineries, it would have been hard for me to see or do much in the "city of love" by myself, especially since all the wineries were more than 25km/15miles away. They had all met each other the day before at the Art Gate Hostel so as an option you could always book yourself a night there and hope to meet other solo travelers, or risk it as I did and see who you meet on the bus itself.

Getting there was easy just go to the bus station next to Samgori metro station at 9am/11am/1pm/3pm look or ask around for the bus to Sighnaghi, wait till it gets filled up, then wait some more for them to fill up passengers to sit in the aisle, and about 45 minutes to an hour later, you'll be on your way on the 2.5 hour bus ride for just 6 gel ($2). Buy your return ticket at the bus station the same day you plan on returning. Or if you're in a group of 3+ people, just take a taxi, it'll only be around 90gel/$30 total each way and is much faster and more comfortable. It's a small walkable city so don't worry about getting lost in town. Eat at Pheasant's Tears Winery, and at the surprisingly good Pancho Villa for authentic mexican salsas and guacamole.

Other than that, I had went on the mountain hiking tour with the weekend travelers group the first weekend I was here, then on the Exploring Western Georgia tour with ArcheoTour after they reached out to me to take some photos for them. They're a good company that specializes in archaeology and history but only runs private tours so it'll be pricey unless you are in a group. Here's a video I made during my trip with them.







At Numisi Cellar Museum in Kakheti

Horseback Riding at Living Roots in Sighnaghi


Cash and SIM Cards



For cash, the easiest way to get money is withdrawing from ATMs which are everywhere including the airport. Just be careful to select "GEL" and not "USD" as the ATMs here can actually give you US Dollars as a lot of local landlords charge rent in $ and not Georgian Lari even to locals. Most places aside from really small mom and pop establishments like little bakeries or fruit stands will take credit cards which makes it super easy to pay for things.

You can even use contactless payments including Apple pay and Android pay anywhere credit cards are accepted, even on the bus and metro! However, for whatever strange reason transportation doesn't accept Mastercard, and only accepts some Visa cards, so it's a bit hit or miss depending on what card you have. It's literally the only place in the world I've ever seen a difference between having a Visa or Mastercard where they would accept one and not the other. Even though I ride the metro decently often, I never bothered to get and load up an actual 2 gel Metro card as it's one more thing to carry around and to be honest, the difference between the 17 cent and 34 cent fare to me, although literally double the price, isn't big enough for me to actually care. So I've been using contactless everywhere I go. But do make sure you always carry a few coins with you just in case, especially since many elevators are coin operated! I've had to walk up 7 flights of stairs on many occasions because I didn't have .10 tetri (4 cents) on me.

SIM cards are available at the airport and will cost you maybe 5 lari ($2) more than in the city but just get it as it's easier and less hassle than trying to find one of the very few shops in the center. I got the 25gb, 30 day option for around $15 (45gel) at the airport through Magticom which I had heard had the best coverage. However, they are also one of the most annoying companies as they basically sell your number to local companies to text spam you daily. Contacting them directly to ask as well as asking others, the only thing you can do is block each number individually which is annoying as they are always different. It makes me want to recomend Beeline instead as I heard they don't spam customers.

Luckily after 6 weeks of asking around and contacting Magticom support directly without any answers, I finally found a possible way of ending the spam with a single opt out. Just call *182# on your Magticom phone and select the "no" option whihc is "ara" in Georgian. The other downside with Magticom is when your data runs out, it's completely out and it's really hard to renew as even though you can top up credit at random kiosks around town, you can't use that money for data without signing up for another plan. There's no English option when you call or in or try to renew through sms, so you either need to politely ask a local to  send 10-15 minutes to do it for you, or you need to go into one of the few offices in town.



 Cars here are sometimes Left and often Right hand drive.


Taxis, Apps and Delivery


As for Taxis around town but also to and from the airport, the best company is the local version of Uber called Bolt (promo code JEMY73 for 5 gel off your first ride). There's also a local airport bus #37 that runs 24/7, costs .50 gel and stops just in front of the airport, but it's also super slow as unlike every other city in the world where the airport bus goes directly to the city center without stops, this one stops every block which means it takes over an hour to go the 8miles (14km).  It's much faster and easier to just pay the 18 gel ($6) to take a taxi.

Also worth installing is the other taxi app, Yandex (promo code l723epis) which is sometimes cheaper, especially for very short rides that don't hit the 4 gel minimum. Bolt however has better drivers with better English. Yandex is starts rides at 2 gel, which Bolt is at 4 gel minimums but tips are extra and you often get non-English speaking drivers who will insist on calling you to ask where you are and where you want to go instead of just looking on the app's map. That being said, I use both, but just use Bolt if you want to avoid the headache.

To get food delivered you'll want to download either Glovo (code KZXGG1W) and Wolt (promo code WMA8N). They're both very similar, like Uber Eats vs. Postmates or DoorDash, but some restaurants are only listed on one or the other service, so many people use both. My favorite order was getting a box of 20 Khinkali delivered to a dive bar I was hanging out at for 23 gel ($8).

Another popular service is USA2Georgia which allows you to order anything to a US address, including Amazon packages and have it shipped to a pick up office here in Tbilisi. The cool thing about Georgia is that there are no extra fees including zero import, custom duty or extra taxes for any item under valued at under $100 or 66lbs. 


Riding inside a local bus

The super long escalation down the metro


The Pros of Georgia



With everything you've read above so far you might be ready to pack your things and move to Tbilisi forever. Low costs of living, easy visas, free coworking spaces, great food, wine, craft beer, a growing digital nomad community, what more could you want right? Well the funny thing is, someone just asked me on facebook a few minutes ago if I plan on coming back to Tbilisi next year, and I had to think about it for a moment and say I'm not sure. When I first went to Chiang Mai, I instantly fell in love and knew that it would be a place I'd want to spend time in every year no matter what. With Georgia, the feeling is more, I could come back every year, and logically it makes sense to, but I just don't have that strong urge or burning desire to. It's hard to explain but I'll try to in this next two sections.

As most things in life you have the balance between annoying and awesome, plus and minuses, or costs vs. benefits. In places like Bali where it's super beautiful especially in photos, people often overlook the annoyances such as 1 in 4 people getting their ATM cards cloned, taxi drivers ripping you off, terrible roads, annoying Indonesian Visas, and things just in general not working very well.

With Chiang Mai daily life doesn't look as wow and you won't get as many likes on instagram, if that's what you're into, but in general the downsides are very few. Things just work, and life is easy. Ukraine, Colombo or Brazil is the other opposite where things aren't but there's a lot of strong emotion there and it's somewhere that makes you feel very alive.

With Tbilisi and Georgia as a whole, it feels very balanced, but almost dulled in a sense. Aside from the things mentioned above, other nice things about Georgia include very friendly and warm people, crime is super low with no common scams, pick pockets, robberies or things to have to watch out for. Taxi apps are super fast, easy and convenient, wifi and data is relatively cheap and fast, the tap water is both drinkable and actually tastes really good, the local sparkling mineral water, Borjomi, is excellent and very cheap at 44 cents a liter in shops and often less than $1 at restaurants. You can get anything you need at local pharmacies without prescriptions. You can buy alcohol 24/7 anywhere, yet there are quite few drunks, homeless or beggers around.

Service charge is included on most bills and you can pay for almost everything using apple pay or contactless which is super convenient. It's overall a very easy and comfortable place to live. You can even register a local bank account or business within 30 minutes even on a tourist visa. For non-americans Georgian is a good place to have your tax residency as they have a 0% tax rate for any income from outside of Georgia, and to qualify you just need to spend 183 days a year in the country and apply.

I also really love that all of the stray cats and dogs on the street are super well taken care of, vaccinated, neutered and tagged. If you're an animal lover, the cats and dogs of Tbilisi will warm your heart as they all seem to be super friendly and well fed. Overall,visiting  or living in Georgia and visiting Tbilisi is nice and actually really easy.


Smokers and stray dogs on every street.


Cons of Living in Georgia



But then there are the downsides...and to be honest there seems to be a lot of little, random things, some of which may annoy the crap out of you. While others you might think aren't that big of a deal, and you may wonder why I bothered mentioning them at all. But here they are for you to judge for yourself how much they may or may not personally bother or annoy the crap out of you.

These may not seem that big but they add up to daily annoyances and chip away at the upsides. First off even though taxis are super cheap and the city is quite walkable, things are actually really spread out and there are a lot of 1 way streets, so a lot of time people would rather just stay home and order delivery than meet up for dinner and go out, also there's not really a place you can go out and be social or run into friends without pre-planning to meet, so it can get lonely at times. But don't worry if you want attention, both as girls but as even as a guy you will get stared at a lot by locals, and I mean a lot, and they won't look away either when you notice. It's mostly out of curiosity and pretty often people will start talking to me out of nowhere, but usually it's just a lot of staring which some people may be uncomfortable with as it's not normal in Western culture.

When you are out, you'll notice that everyone smokes, as in everyone, it's impossible to walk or sit outside anywhere without inhaling second hand smoke and no one seems to care about the health repercussions or annoying others. Even though there are trees scattered around and a few parks, the air is quite dry and can sometimes get polluted as we're in a valley. On a map it may look like there are a lot of green spaces and parks in Tbilisi, and it's true that a few hours away there is plenty of amazing nature, but Tbilisi itself feels super dry and outside of the old city, a bit ugly and grey at times. Luckily, during my few months here, the air quality has been fine, and I was actually surprised when someone first mentioned how bad it can sometimes get, but maybe I just got lucky this year, or maybe it's improving with all of the Toyota Prius taxis they've imported.



Lots of cars, few crosswalks, this is Tbilisi.


Local Cultural Annoyances 



Georgians are also self admittedly lazy people and start work around 10:30 so don't expect to get anything done in the mornings or for them to be on time for most things. People wear way too much fragrance, with some women bathing themselves in perfume and men often fill the entire locker room with body spray. They are also quite flakey so don't make plans more than a day in advance without following up to confirm they haven't changed their mind or forgotten about your meeting, which has happened to me more than once with both guys and girls alike.

The lack of attention to detail is present everywhere, so if you like organization, things like gym weights scattered everywhere and things not being put back in the right place or even having no labels of where things should go in the first place will drive you crazy. Aircon is usually turned up to max and way too cold as people are afraid of sweating at the gym, which is good for sweatless selfies, but bad for your joints and leads to injury while working out.

Drivers are crazy and most big roads have no actual crosswalks so you have to dart across at your own risk. You'll also notice that most cars are left hand drive while others are randomly right hand drive. I've heard it was because these cars were cheaper and imported from Japan, and they've slowly being phased out as it's a terrible idea to mix them on the same roads and can lead to accidents.

Then there's there SMS spam, and other random annoying things like google maps usually being horribly wrong ost of the time. Another annoying thing are the flashing police lights always being on like there is some type of emergency. But really there is just a silly rule that they are not allowed to turn it off even if they're just parked somewhere having a coffee or driving around normally and not actually putting someone over or in a car chase.

Even the name of the country is confusing and hard to google anything about or talk about. I understand why they didn't want to keep the Russian associated name of Gruzia, or the Turkish association of Gurjistan. But they could have chosen the name Sakartvelo (the actual Georgian name) or anything else that wasn't already a popular US state when the Republic of Georgia was renamed to just "Georgia" in 1995.

But with all of the downsides and annoyances, more than that it's the thought process and mentality behind it all. Georgian people in mostly just don't care. They don't tend to think about the future and just accept what things are easy and pleasant now, the default is just whatever is easier and cheaper to do now, even though it'll be annoying for years to come instead of preventing potential problems in the first place. A very clear example is the fact that exactly half of the hot and cold water taps I've used in the country have been switched and labeled wrong, red is sometimes for hot, and sometimes for cold, but you never know which is which as whoever installed it didn't care enough to take the extra ten seconds to do it correctly in the first place.



georgia
Map of Georgia, or Georgia?


As for most things are very cheap, they are, but randomly some things are either hard to find or a bit overpriced for what they are. Swimming pools for whatever reason are quite expensive, especially on weekends at 35 gel ($12) or more for a day pass. Gyms are also relatively expensive especially for a 1 month pass at around $40-$50 on average, especially while the costs of everything else are super low in comparison. But I can't really complain as overall the costs of living in Georgia are so low that even with some things being a bit more, overall it's still fantastic.

It may seem like I was complaining, and on one hand, I kind of was as there are a ton of little things about living in Georgia that can be frustrating. But at the same time, if I didn't like the country I wouldn't have stayed here or wrote the longest blog post in the world about living here and would have left long ago. So it's one of those relationships where you you want to love a place but it's frustrating at the same time as you know that the annoyances could so easily be changed or avoided.


A typical night out in Tbilisi


Overall Thoughts on Tbilisi



Yes, it's not perfect, and there are some downsides. But it's also up and coming and if it was already perfect, it wouldn't be so cheap and their visa policy might not be so easy as it would already be overrun by tourists and expats. The fact is, the reason why Tbilisi and Georgia in general is such a great place is because it is literally still a hidden gem that hasn't yet been exploited. Things are also slowly getting better and more convenient. There are more and more coffee shops, coworking spaces, gyms, and other things that digital nomads and expats look for. And even though currently the country isn't that well connected with convenient flights, companies like Ryanair are planning new routes to both Tbilisi Airport (TBS) and Kutaisi (KUT) starting later this year starting with direct flights from Italy and France and connecting flights from Cologne, Germany.

This is actually the perfect time to come to Tbilisi and to Georgia. There's just enough infrastructure where everything works, especially if you put a bit of effort in, it can be relatively easy to get around, find information about things, meet other digital nomads or expats, and have a great quality of life. Something that wasn't possible in Georgia even just a year ago where it was still legal and normal for people to smoke inside coworking spaces and restaurants before they passed the law and started actually enforcing it. There weren't any digital nomads groups, meetups or even much information about neighborhoods, meeting people, or other things we look for until very recently, literally a few months ago before summer of 2019. But hopefully with articles and videos like mine, more and more people will not only think of visiting or moving to Tbilisi, but also keep up the self organized digital nomad meetups, international craft beer nights, dinners, and other events that has made this past month and a half here in Tbilisi feel like home.

I think I might, and can even see us having the next Nomad Summit conference here Summer of 2020 if there's enough interest. I recomend Georgia to anyone who's looking for a off the beaten track place to visit that combines nature with amazing food, wine, people and low prices. Also to any expats or digital nomads who are looking for a semi-permanent home base where they can stay for as long as they wish without issues. It's fantastic for couples, or those looking to settle down somewhere long term. It's also a nice gateway to other neighboring countries like Ukraine, Turkey, Armenia, or Azerbaijan as well as close by countries with cheap direct flights such as Cyprus, Greece, or Poland. That being said, if you're looking for the new digital nomad and expat hotspot where you can be one of the early adopters, get amazing rental prices even on Airbnb, and be one of the first to truly discover and experience this hidden gem formerly known as the Republic of Georgia.

Below is a video of other things to do outside of Tbilisi, a tour of wineries, the mountains, and the nature. Most can be done on a day trip, but I'd recomend staying overnight as explained why in the video below so you can see what else this beautiful country has to offer.






I hope everyone enjoyed this guide to Tbilisi and to the country of Georgia. If you have anything to add, or any questions, feel free to write them in the comments below!



Warm Regards,

Johnny FD





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  1. What is everyone's thoughts on Tbilisi and Georgia in general? Been here? Want to come?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comprehensive article. My plan is to visit Georgia sometime this year still. Seems like a great place to work remotely from. Are there consistent and well attended weekly networking events or meetups for digital nomads, especially software engineers? Would be great to have a heads up on that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Samir, I haven't met that many software engineers yet, but I'm sure they'll be coming soon. As of now there have been at least one or two meetups for digital nomads and expats every week since I've been here.

      Delete
  3. Any thoughts on race realtions there?I know this is a hard question to answer but do you think a black person could have a safe life and a good time there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to say as I'm not black myself. But for sure there are very few black people in Tbilisi. From what I've heard, Georgian people are generally racist against Black and Muslim people, but more because of the differences in culture and their negative experiences they've had with African and Arabic tourists than anything else.

      If you're African-American, British, or Native English speaker, you'll still get a lot of stares just like I do, but you can expect people to be very friendly and helpful once you open your mouth.

      Just don't waste your time going to nightclubs like Bassiani as they are generally super racist their with their "face control" similar to what you'd get at the techno clubs in Berlin such as Berghain. I hate going to or supporting places like that which is why I didn't mention them as a place to go in my guide, even though they are a world famous nightclub.

      Overall, in both Tbilisi and Georgia as a country, you'll be safe and won't be harassed or anything, but you may not get the warm hospitable welcome that Europeans get.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply man. Also just want to say you are an inspiration and your podcasts and blog have really helped me with my businesses. I sincerely thankyou for the work you do.

      Delete
  4. As a recent Expat who's lived here for the last 6 months after 20 years in Ukraine, I've come to many of your same conclusions. I may be able to add one or two, but have found this to be an excellent right up��.

    I'm currentlyl in Saburtalo and haven't been as socially outgoing as you have, since I've been holed up grinding away, trying to build and grow my websites. Actually, it's one of the main reasons I came. Great place for this kind of bootstrapping...

    Where's next on your journey? Are you planning on sticking around for a while? Do you plan to make Tbilisi a hub or home base? Thanks again for the fantastically thorough write up��.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks for your 2 cents, it's good to hear your experiences and agree that Tbilisi is a fantastic place to bootstrap and build businesses. The neighborhood of Saburtalo is actually perfect for that.

      I would have stayed longer than 2 months but I need to get to Mexico to plan the next Nomad Summit in Cancun. But Tbilisi is definitely on my top list of places to establish a semi-permanent home base.

      Delete
  5. Have been 6 times and my wife and I actually purchased a apartment/flat with plans to use it as a base for 4-6 months a year. Unfortunately family matters have changed that for a time being but we will be back. Overall we LOVE Tbilisi and Georgia. You did a Great job with this write up and I learned a few cool things I didn't know so thanks for sharing. Safe travels and keep up the quality writes ups!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow nice! I'm glad you like Tbilisi enough to have came so many times and that my article was detailed enough to even share a few things with a veteran of the city. Was it difficult to buy an apartment here? I think that even with low rents right now, there is a really good opportunity for appreciation in the next years as the city gets more popular.

      Delete
  6. I joined the gym Snap Fitness which has 3 locations. I pay 115 lari($39) per month and they charged 20 lari($7) for the card to scan when you enter the gym. The equipment is super nice and new and overall I'm happy with the price I paid. Gyms in Bangkok seem to be more expensive and require signing fees which this gym did not require. I do notice people staring at me and my girlfriend alot (probably because she is Thai).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks for sharing the prices, I was actually looking at Snap a well. One problem with businesses in Georgia are the websites are usually pretty bad and don't display prices, so getting it first hand is a great move. Thanks!

      Delete
  7. I may not really be a nomad but i think you nailed it and much appreciation for the detailed writeup. This is the first real contender for the next Chiang Mai and if we can't get this visa issue stuff worked out this year, no one should bother toughing it out in Thailand anymore imo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks and I agree that this is literally the first place I've found that can actually be the next Chiang Mai, especially for Americans. Lisbon is great, but only for residents of the EU, and Bali looks great in photos but their infrastructure is terrible.

      Delete
  8. Love this! So informative. Will have to share with any friends looking to move here. Like you mentioned, it's definitely an up an coming hub for nomads! Husband and I moved here in May and are loving it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh nice! I'm glad you're loving Tbilisi so far after these 4 months! Thanks for sharing the article with your friends!

      Delete
  9. That was a great, comprehensive country report Johnny. I appreciate you including the cons. I'd still like to visit someday, but everyone smoking and dry air (2 of the worst things for my sinuses) make it a deal-killer for a long-term stay. Despite Fathamburger's opinion, I'll continue to "though it out" here in Thailand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Terry! No worries! I normally don't include the cons as I don't want to dwell on negatives, but I think it's important when making big moves like this to get a balanced picture of what both the pros and cons are of a place and not just the instagram worthy upsides!

      Delete
  10. This was excellent. I'm in Vietnam till Christmas after which I'll pick a new place to live for 6 months to a year. Great write up, keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks David! I'm glad you liked the write up! Enjoy a Banh Mi and bowl of Pho for me, hope you like Georgian food just as much when you come!

      Delete
  11. Thanks very much for this detailed post. I'm currently living in Tel Aviv which is just way too expensive and have been looking for a better alternative. I've been reading lots about Georgia and the visa situation + cost of living and so much buzz within the DM community about Tbilisi has firmed up my decision to move there in the next couple of months. Thanks for writing the cons, it's important to get a balanced view, we can't go into a place with rose coloured glasses and need to know what to expect. Personally I like dry air, definitely better than super-humidity! Overall, from everything I've read, I agree that Tbilisi will quickly become the new DM hotspot and am excited to get in while it's still a hidden gem. Thanks again and safe travels! Hope to meet you if you come back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome Ellle! I'm glad you found my post and got a lot out of it. Fun fact, there's a city in Georgia, a 2 hour drive outside of Tbilisi called Telavi (თელავი) so it could be confusing when you move here and saw where you came from. =)

      I agree that dry air isn't that bad. And actually Tbilisi isn't really that dry compared to really dry places like Las Vegas. It's just drier than most of us are used to and with the summer heat is feels that way. But hope you like it in Georgia! Let me know what you think after you move here!

      Delete

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