Travelling Georgia To Turkey (On A Bus)
Chaos At The Border...And Torrential Rain
Tbilisi Georgia – Hopa Turkey
495KMS / 12 Hours
In a perfect world we would have taken a direct route from Tbilisi to Kars our destination in Turkey through Armenia, however relations between Turkey and Armenia are tense to say the least and the borders are all closed. So we had to trek the long way around travelling to the Black Sea then down the coast to the main Georgia – Turkey border crossing a 2 day journey with an overnight stop at Hopa just over the Turkish border.
We had two options to get to Hopa.
- Train Tbilisi to Batumi on the Black Sea, mini van to border, walk across border, taxi to Hopa. This type of border crossing is fairly normal but can be long and tedious with loads of waiting around.
- Direct bus (big bus) from Tbilisi to Hopa. Bus drops us at the border, we take our luggage and cross through both border control and the bus picks us up at the other side. Sounds simple and much easier…
We chose option 2.
The bus ride from Tbilisi was pretty uneventful, although they do stop for an awful lots of cups of tea! We passed through some very pretty countryside that was quite green and lush ans again we saw many many huge abandoned factories and buildings left over from Soviet.
There also was a large military presence on the road with any tanks and army convoys travelling along the roads, which just highlights the on going tensions between Georgia & Russia.
We arrived at the coast at the same time as a huge rainstorm, the first rain we had seen for weeks.
Eventually we got to the Georgian side of the border got off the bus and joined the scrum of people trying to get into the building, it was mad, everyone was pushing and shoving to get to the front. We survived the madness and quickly passed through border control before heading outside to collect our bags before heading into the Turkish border control, by now the rain was absolutely pelting down.
We passed through Turkish border control quickly and returned outside on the Turkey side to wait for the bus and wait and wait and wait. In the pouring rain with no shelter. We rummaged in our packs for rain coats which helped a little.
The bus turned up 2 hours later, by this time it was dark we were wet, our main packs were wet our day packs were wet and I had water dripping into my shoes.
We did consider ditching the bus and getting a taxi but they were few and far between as were minivans so we were stuck with the bus.
The bus dropped us in Hopa and we trudged 1.5kms to our hotel still in the rain.
Hopa really is just a border town, somewhere to spend a night, change buses and keep going.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny and we had a stunning view of the Black Sea from our hotel room.
We trekked back to the Hopa Bus terminal and got on our bus headed for Kars
Stories - Asia To Europe (Mostly) Overland
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