Divya Shetty shares her travel hacks and tips to Baku. You might wanna brush up on some info, hacks and tips if you’re planning to visit Azerbaijan.
I just got back from an epic 8-day Azerbaijan trip. Although Azerbaijan would not fall in the same league as some of the other places I have travelled to like South Africa or Thailand but I can easily say that I’ve covered everything worth covering here within a budget of AED 1600 (excluding flights) (USD 450)
If you’re a budgeted traveler and have a severe case of FOMO then you’re gonna find these tips really helpful.
Baku General Information
Currency: 1 Manat (AED 2.18 approx.) (0.59 USD)
Exchange: You get better rates at the airport. I’d suggest you carry USD or EUR as you can easily exchange them at Baku.
SIM: Get a 10 GB data pack for 10 Manat
Language: Don’t expect everyone to speak English fluently. Rely on google maps and google translate for directions and lingo.
One thing to note is that hotels are really expensive here. Since we didn’t properly plan our trip, we had to change three hotels. Also, Formula One was happening so most hotels were either booked or outside our budget. If you’re looking for quirky interiors and a cosy place to stay then I’d suggest Istanbul Hotel, Coffee INN and Baku Butik Hotel (HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND). We paid between 28-32 Manat p/night which is about AED 50-70.
Travel Tip: If you’re a solo traveller then pick a hostel but if you’re a couple or just a small group of friends then pick a hotel. Make sure you look for something in Nizami Street.
The local cabbies will dupe you into paying them an exorbitant amount but you’d rather use Uber or Taxify to move around. If you don’t have a SIM – BARGAIN cause taxis are super cheap in Baku. A trip from the airport to a Nizami Street should cost you nothing more than 12 Manat while Uber rides in and around the city will cost you about 2-7 Manat.
Places to Explore
- Martyrs Lane
- Carpet Museum
- Hayder Aliyev Cultural Centre
- Little Venice
- Seaside Boulevard
- Flame towers
- Icheri Sheher (Old City) – Check out the museum of miniature books, Marionette theatre (Did you know ‘Laila Majnu‘ was written by an Azerbaijani??!) and eat at Seherli Tendir
- Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower- This will take up an entire day
- Ismayili Forest
- Qabala and Sheki – This is a two-day trip
- Gobustan National Park – A three-member trip costs 50 Manat
- Burning Mountain (Yanar Dag)
Travel Tip: Ali Khan was our tour guide and you can reach out to him on 00994 55 266 17 83. I highly recommend this tour cause it cost us about 30 Manat and it’s great value for money. If you’re staying at Baku Butik then ask for Hikmat. He’ll hook you up with a tour that wont cost more than 50 Manat.
Nightlife in Baku
One of the most happening places are at Nizami Street. A beer can cost anything between 1.5-6 Manat. I would recommend checking out the Room, La Chateau Music bar, Old School (indie AF), Pivnaya Apteka (beer pharmacy), Shakespeare, the Brewery, Déjà vu bar for dark underground music and Sintetik for techno club. Energi and Pasifico is perfect for commercial music.
Women in Baku dress impeccably which would probably tempt you to do some shopping here. However, unless you have surplus cash remaining from your budget I wouldn’t really advise you to shop here as shopping is expensive. Head to this subway area below 21st May mall. It’s more like a bazaar and supposedly cheap. A pair of pants is about 25 Manat.
I regret that one whole day I spent at Dalga Aqua Park. Anyone who has been to waterparks in Dubai will have high expectations and go back home in disappointment. I recommend it for families though. Bear in mind that it costs 50 Manat p/person and took a major chunk off my budget.
Get more tips on budgeted travels in the Travel For Less section and start tripping!