We have provided some useful information below to assist you in planning your travel arrangements to Georgia and visiting Pankisi Valley. If you have any queries or questions which are not answered please feel free to write to us.
For foreign nationals please check the Ministry of Georgian Affairs of Georgia website for up-to-date information:
Many nationalities do not need visa for stays of up to 90 or 360 days. Visas can be obtained by those who need them on arrival at Tbilisi airport or road entry points into Georgia or from Georgian embassies or consulates.
00 is the international access code
995 is the international code used to dial to Georgia
32 is the local area or city code used to dial to Tbilisi
To check time zones visit:
Standard time zone UTC/GMT (London) is +3 hours
Latitude in degrees, minutes and seconds: 42° 10′ 17″ N
Longitude in degrees, minutes and seconds: 45° 18′ 22″ E
The currency used in Georgia is Lari (GEL).
One lari is made up of 100 tetri.
Coins used are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 tetri.
Bank notes used are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 lari.
To check your currency exchange rate online against the Georgian lari either go to Tariff section and use the currency converter or visit:
Examples of exchange rates (data from 23/03/2013):
1 USD, 1.65 lari
1 EUR, 2.15 lari
1 GBP, 2.52 lari
Money can be exchanged conveniently in Tbilisi, Telavi and Akhmeta. Passport identification is required. ATM machines are widely available and generally accept MasterCard, Visa, Cirrus and Maestro cards, but we advise visitors to exchange or withdraw money from Tbilisi or Telavi. There are two banks in Akhmeta with ATM cash machines, Liberty Bank and Bank Constanta. There are no opportunities to exchange or withdraw cash in the Pankisi Valley.
We advise that guests purchase travel insurance for health and accident cover especially if planning an activity based holiday. The closest medical centre is the Primary Health Care Centre in Jokolo village (1 minute walk from our guest house). The nearest hospital is in Akhmeta (15 km).
The main number to contact in case of emergency is:
112 for police, ambulance or fire service.
Mobile phone telecommunication coverage and reception in Pankisi Valley is good. Magti, Geocell and Beeline are the main companies providing service to this region. You can top up credit from shops in Jokolo and Duisi villages. In remote mountainous areas there is no coverage though a weak signal can be picked up on mountain summits close to Pankisi Valley.
In Pankisi Valley most people use a USB modem dongle to connect to the Internet. The connection speeds are generally slow but sufficient for general Internet use. Broadband and wifi connections are not available at this time though there are plans to introduce this service to the valley.
Clothes & Equipment
If you are planning to go on outdoor excursions we advise you pack a waterproof jacket, fleece, good walking shoes, first aid kit, water bottle, sun block cream and torch. If you are trekking in the mountains and want to camp out bring a suitable sleeping bag, ground mat and tent. Specialist outdoor equipment is only available in a small number of shops Tbilisi.
Pankisi valley has a number of small shops that cater for basic provisions. These include grocery, chemists and clothes shops, a hairdresser and a petrol station. It is advisable to fill up in Tbilisi, Telavi or Ahmeta.
The nearest airport to Pankisi Valley is Tbilisi International Airport (TBS), 14 km south-east from Tbilisi. It is about 157 km from Pankisi Valley.
Public toilets are rare, not well maintained and of the squat variety. Our bathroom provides western style toilet facilities and one outdoor privy (hole in floor).
Pankisi Valley is a safe place to travel to if you are alone. Because very few people visit Pankisi Valley your host family and local community will ensure you are protected and supported. Hospitality towards strangers is important to the Kist people. It is also safe to wonder around the valley and its villages, river and hills unaccompanied. We recommend guests use the service of a local guide to gain better access to the community and to explore local attractions, and particularly if you venture north into the gorge and mountains.
Pankisi Valley is a safe and welcoming place for women travellers. As with the local custom of protecting strangers and guests, women will find they are cared for and respected. Local people will know you are staying as a guest with a local family. We recommend female guests use the service of a local female guide.
Nazy's Guest House
Republic of Georgia