Ready to pack your bags for your trip to Baku? Have you set your itinerary and researched the things to do? What about the things NOT to do? We always recommend researching things which might cause you troubles and headaches when visiting any country or city. In this blog post we will cover the things that you should avoid during your trip to Azerbaijan.
1. Don’t Forget to Get Registered if Staying More than 15 Days
Are you planning on spending more than 15 days in Azerbaijan. Well, in that case, you should never forget to get registered with the State Migration authorities. The laws in Azerbaijan require that all visitors get registered at their place of stay within 15 days (30 days for citizens of Kazakhstan). If you are staying at a hotel/hostel, just ask the reception to do it. If you are renting a house, ask the landlord or the agent to arrange this.
You can also do it on your own and you have many options on how to do it. You can apply via electronic services of the official website of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan, e-government portal, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person at regional migration departments, or “ASAN service” centers. If you’re struggling, contact us and we’d be happy to do it for you.
Please note REGISTRATION IS FREE.
2. Don’t Yell Curse Words
Speaking politely is very important in Azerbaijani culture. It is frowned upon to loudly use curse words in public, especially if there are women and children around. You might think that it’s okay to curse in your own language but curse words (and the body language that accompanies it) often cross many language barriers.
Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you do, you might encounter some people cursing loudly but you can expect to get some dirty looks or even intervention by some bystanders asking you to please watch your mouth.
Anyway, holidays are a time to be happy, not angry. But in case you do get angry, just be careful what you say.
3. If You’re a Man, Don’t Sit While Women, Children & Elders are Standing
As we mentioned, politeness and chivalry is still very much alive and important in Azerbaijan. It is deeply engrained in the culture that men must prioritize elders, women and children in every aspects of life: giving them the right of way, helping them, respecting them and, also, giving up your seat for them. If you find yourself on a public bus and elders, women or children come on board, Azerbaijani men will stand up to give their seat.
We think this a fantastic thing – in an ever-changing world, some people say chivalry is dead but it is still very much alive in Azerbaijan.
4. If You Smoke, Don’t Blow Your Smoke Towards Elders, Women and Children
Continuing on the same topic of chivalry, it is frowned upon (and also unhealthy) to smoke around and blow smoke towards elders, women and children. This is true anywhere in the world but more so in Azerbaijan where, again, elders, women and children are given a lot of respect.
Smoking is very popular in Azerbaijan so you will see a lot of smokers but you will also see the smokers walking away from crowds, elders, women and children to light up their cigarettes. This is a good habit anywhere but it’s a must in Azerbaijan.
5. Don’t Forget to Carry Some Cash
Azerbaijan is slowly transforming to a cash-less society but it still has a long way to go. So you will need to have cash with you for most purchases Although you could get away with a card in Baku, as you venture out to the country side, like on one of our tours, you will see less card machines (basically none in the mountains).
Best place to get cash is at the exchanges in the city (available in most banks) or your tour guide! Avoid using the exchanges at the airport because their exchange rates aren’t the best.
6. Don’t Just Stay in Baku
Baku, as the capital city, plays a very significant role in Azerbaijani tourism and we highly recommend you spend sufficient time to explore it. However, you should remember that Baku is not representative of the rest of the country.
As soon as you go out of the city boundaries, you will notice the landscape, geography and climate changing very quickly, giving you a completely new experience which you can never have in Baku.
If you are spending more than 2-3 days, we would say it is MANDATORY for you to go out and explore Quba, Gabala, Shamakhi or other nearby towns. If you don’t you will have missed out on a fantastic experience that could have completely changed your perception of Azerbaijan.
7. Don’t Say No to More Food
The food of Azerbaijan is rich in flavor and the people are kind. They take enjoyment knowing that you’re enjoying their cuisine. If you ever share a table with an Azerbaijani or visit an Azerbaijani’s house, they will keep pushing food in front of you – they are anxious to see that you are enjoying their food.
If you’re full, your first instinct might be to refuse but Azerbaijanis are persistent, they will keep insisting until you give in so you might as well give in from the start. Plus. what’s a vacation if not an opportunity to indulge!
Lastly, Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Azerbaijan is a place to relax. There is no need to be tense or worried about anything. Follow our guide above to avoid some basic mistakes but most of it is pretty intuitive (except maybe the first one). In any case, the best way to avoid making a faux-pas is hiring a reliable, high quality travel agent to guide you through your stay in Azerbaijan. Needless to say, we would always be happy to help.