Azerbaijan is a kind of rising locations that vacationers are lastly beginning to uncover.
Till 1991, it was a part of the Soviet Union, and ever because it grew to become unbiased, vacationers have more and more began to go to this lesser-known nation. The variety of overseas guests has almost tripled within the final decade, to nearly three million in 2018.
Whereas the sightseeing scorching spots won’t be well-known, there are many matters to see and do in Azerbaijan. The capital, Baku, has distinctive structure, together with a number of Parisian-style buildings from the 19th century. It is usually residence to some very futuristic constructions funded by the nation’s oil wealth, such because the three Flame Towers, that are coated in LED screens that show dancing flames.
Outdoors of Baku, you’ll be able to see mud volcanoes, go to 40,000-year-old rock work at Gobustan, or head to the hills to hike within the Caucasus Mountains.
However is Azerbaijan protected?
On the entire, Azerbaijan could be very protected. Because the nation is dominated by a strongman who needs very a lot to extend tourism to the nation, crimes towards guests are nearly remarkable.
As a result of, if somebody is caught committing against the law towards a vacationer, the punishments will probably be fairly extreme. Most crimes are often small and contain profiting from individuals in crowded locations, the place perpetrators are much less more likely to get caught.
With that mentioned, there are just a few matters to recollect and a few areas to keep away from. The guidelines beneath will assist make your expertise in Azerbaijan protected and pleasant.
Eight Security Ideas for Azerbaijan
1. Keep conscious of your belongings – Petty theft and pickpocketing are uncommon right here as the federal government (which is a dictatorship) punishes thieves fairly harshly. Nonetheless, petty theft does occur once in a while in busy out of doors markets in Azerbaijan, in addition to on the Baku metro and different public transport. Be extra conscious of your belongings if you’re in crowded locations and don’t flaunt something costly.
2. Look out for drink-related scams – There have been some stories of vacationers being robbed after having their drinks spiked, notably in Western-style nightclubs and bars in Baku. Don’t take meals or drink from strangers or individuals you’ve simply met, and at all times control drinks you’ve ordered.
There are additionally stories of scams concentrating on males at bars when ladies ask a overseas man to purchase her drinks. She finally ends up leaving him with a really excessive bar tab, and if he’s unable to pay, a gaggle of males would possibly use bodily power to insist.
3. Don’t insult the ruling Aliyev household – The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father Heydar in 2003, and his household, are to not be mocked or spoken about badly.
He has received 5 elections with round 80% of the vote, however there’s loads of proof that he and his New Azerbaijan Celebration are accountable for widespread corruption and an absence of democratic course of, together with jailing individuals who have criticized the household or the federal government. Play it protected and keep away from speaking politics whilst you’re right here.
4. Don’t go close to or discuss Armenia – Keep away from the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the place sporadic armed clashes nonetheless happen. Specifically, don’t go close to the Nagorno-Karabakh area, which is a disputed space the place armed battle is frequent. There are land mines in these areas as properly, one other good motive to steer clear.
The most secure matter is solely to not point out Armenia in any respect. There’s an ongoing, bitter battle between the 2 nations, and Azerbaijanis can get offended should you attempt to discuss Armenia.
When you’re of Armenian descent — for instance, you probably have an Armenian surname — this would possibly trigger issues for you in Azerbaijan so be ready.
5. Watch out on the roads – Most of the roads in Azerbaijan are in poor situation, and drivers usually pace. You additionally have to be careful for individuals on foot and livestock in rural Azerbaijan.
When you can keep away from it, don’t drive at night time — there’s often little or no lighting on the roads and there are a number of potholes and bumps that may trigger a foul accident should you can’t see them coming.
On the plus aspect, the blood alcohol restrict right here is zero so there is no such thing as a tolerance for consuming and driving (which suggests you’re much less more likely to encounter drunk drivers right here). If driving, be sure to comply with this regulation to the letter.
Street security is probably going going to be your greatest concern right here, so at all times be further cautious when driving or close to busy roads.
6. Refuse to pay bribes – There’s fairly a tradition of bribery and corruption in Azerbaijan, so that you would possibly end up in a scenario the place you’re requested to pay a bribe. Though it might probably really feel troublesome, it’s OK to refuse to pay, and often, that would be the finish of it.
Many Azerbaijanis are embarrassed by the extent of corruption and bribery and can do their greatest to cover it from overseas vacationers. Sadly, there’s a minority who will nonetheless demand bribes — typically even officers.
7. Look out for faux police – It’s fairly a typical rip-off to return throughout criminals dressed as law enforcement officials. Of their disguise, they’ll goal foreigners and attempt to problem you a faux visitors infringement or demand you pay a superb for photographing on the street.
If doubtful, ask them to take you to a police station. Hopefully, they’ll then agree to depart you alone.
8. Purchase journey insurance coverage – Each time you journey, it’s best to be sure to have an applicable degree of journey insurance coverage. You by no means know what would possibly go incorrect! Hopefully, nothing will occur to you whilst you’re exploring Azerbaijan, however you’ll be actually grateful you will have journey insurance coverage if you’re concerned in a automotive accident, develop into the sufferer of theft, or get sick and end up in an emergency scenario.
For extra info on tarvel insurance coverage, take a look at these posts:
- What Does Journey Insurance coverage ACTUALLY Cowl?
- The 7 Greatest Journey Firms in 2019
- Find out how to Purchase the Greatest Journey Insurance coverage
FAQ on Azerbaijan Security
That will help you plan your journey, listed here are solutions to essentially the most incessantly requested questions we get about security in Azerbaijan:
How protected is Baku for vacationers?
Due to earnings from oil and fuel, Baku is a contemporary capital metropolis with first rate public transport and is mostly protected. There are some dangers of petty theft in crowds or bars, and vacationers could be a goal of drink spiking and different scams (see above) in Western-style bars and nightclubs. Be further vigilant on an evening out.
Perhaps essentially the most harmful a part of being in Baku is the visitors. Many Azerbaijanis drive very quick and with out a lot regard for the foundations of the highway. When you’re a pedestrian, be cautious of autos if you’re close to a highway and particularly if you’re crossing. When doubtful, comply with the lead of the locals.
Is it protected to drive in Azerbaijan?
Driving in Baku will be difficult: various visitors, quick drivers, and pedestrians who don’t pay a lot consideration.
Nevertheless, it’s in all probability extra harmful to drive in rural areas, each due to the poor driving requirements and the low high quality of the highways. The highway circumstances are notably dangerous outdoors the cities, and driving at night time is very harmful, because the roads are poorly lit, or not lit in any respect.
Is Azerbaijan protected for ladies touring alone?
Generally, Azerbaijan is protected for all individuals touring solo, however some ladies have reported incidents of undesirable male consideration whereas strolling alone and taking taxis. If going out at night time, be sure to have somebody to accompany you simply to be protected.
Listed below are just a few useful posts on security written by our solo feminine journey consultants:
- Find out how to Keep Secure as a Solo Feminine Traveler
- Eight Myths About Solo Feminine Journey Debunked
- 10 Frequent Questions About Solo Feminine Journey
- Girls Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Journey Alone
Is the consuming water protected in Azerbaijan?
The faucet water in Azerbaijan ought to be boiled earlier than consuming to make it possible for it is freed from contaminents. Boil the water for not less than 1 minute to ensure it’s clear.
Whereas you can too purchase bottled water right here, I’d simply bringing a reusable water bottle and a Lifestraw or SteriPen. They’ll purify your water whereas additionally lowering your environmental affect.
From the contrasts of 19th-century structure with the envelope-pushing trendy buildings of Baku to the scenic vistas of the sparsely-populated cities and villages, you’ll discover loads of matters to see and do in Azerbaijan.
Simply remember to use frequent sense by avoiding speaking about delicate subjects (such because the battle with Armenia) if you end up speaking to locals. Concentrate on the potential for petty theft and scams; hold an eye fixed out and your valuables out of sight. Do this, and also you’ll be simply superb.
On the entire, Azerbaijan is protected to go to and tourism numbers are rising for a great motive. Spend a while seeing Azerbaijan now, whereas it’s nonetheless not crowded with vacationers — you received’t remorse it!
Guide Your Journey to Azerbaijan: Logistical Ideas and Tips
Guide Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite serps as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.
Guide Your Lodging
You may guide your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost lodges. I take advantage of them on a regular basis. My favourite locations to remain in Azerbaijan are:
- Sahil Hostel (Baku) – This hostel is clear, spacious, and properly maintained. It received Hostelworld’s 2019 award for greatest hostel within the metropolis.
- Outdated Ganja Hostel (Ganja) – Whereas thos hostel itself is reasonably no frills, the employees listed here are unbelievable and go above and past to make sure you have a good time in Ganja.
- Lahij Guesthouse (Lahij) – With free Wi-Fi, nice views, and an enthralling and rustic inside, this hoestl is an efficient selection for anybody in search of a extra distinctive keep in Lahij.
Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances up to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that supply one of the best service and worth are:
Searching for one of the best corporations to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for one of the best corporations to make use of if you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to save cash once I journey – and I feel will enable you too!gho
Need Extra Info on Azerbaijan?
Make sure to go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Azerbaijan for much more planning suggestions!
Photograph credit score: 1 – Emerson Liu