Border Crossing while on a 10h train journey
One of our highlights on our vacation was the train journey from Georgia to Armenia. Why? Well, because the idea to cross countries on a train sounded super exciting to us. Secondly, because it is a night train and was Johanna´s first ever sleep on a train. Last but not least, we arrived fresh in Armenia, looking out of the window and enjoying the mountains covered by morning sun. In this article you are going to get all the details, how to travel from Georgia (Tbilisi) to Armenia (Yerevan) by train.
Start the journey
The train starts around 8pm every day from the Central Station in Tiblisi. You can buy the ticket only at the Station (not online) and even in the station you can only pay cash. We made a reservation one week in advance, and it turned out to be a good choice. Since the train departs in Tiblisi, you can enter the train already up to 45 minutes earlier.
1st, 2nd or 3rd class?
You have the choice between 3 classes inside the train. In the third class, there are convertible seats without separation. So you´ll be in a huge wagon with all other passengers together.
In the second class, you will find a cabin with 4 beds. Actually, these are bunk beds....So buying your ticket for the second class alone, you will definitely find three other friends on that journey. The time we traveled, almost all other passengers were also travelers, tourists and backpackers. Locals usually take the quick and dirty way from Georgia to Armenia: which is my minivan.
In the first class, you have a cabin with only two beds. There is plenty of space...Drinks, cookies and a sandwich are waiting for you already in the cabin. Fresh bed sheets, a sanitary kit and soft shoes as well. First class tickets are affordable and kids travel for free. That sounded appealing at first, but in the end, yes, there are only two beds for three people then. We managed, but for a family with two (small) kids we would recommend to just buy 4 individual tickets in the second class to have an entire cabin for yourself.
We experienced the first class as very clean and comfortable. There is even a shower, that was cleaner than in some hotels!
The actual border crossing
At around 10pm we reached the Georgian part of the border.....wagon by wagon is asked to get out of the train and get the exit stamp. The first class is the last wagon. That means you have some more time to relax inside and then get out when everybody else is done.
When they saw me with sleeping Johanna on my arm, an immigration office came out of his little house and guided me to the very first position....no queuing at all. That was really nice !
In total, to stamp all passengers out of Georgia took around an hour. And then we continued. After another hour (so at around midnight) we reached the Armenian border. Yes, no clue how we are passing one hour through basically no-man´s- land.
The Armenian border is special: The immigration officers come to you instead of you getting out of the train again. With small computers and stamps they pass from cabin to cabin....for us unfortunately it took long, because they didn't like our stamps from Azerbaijan at all....we were questions for 20 minutes (all in a respectful manner) about people we might know in Armenia and/or Azerbaijan....what we were doing there....where we live, and so on. But in the end all three passports stamped!
Arriving in Yerevan
At 6 am we got a friendly wake-up call that we will arrive shortly in Yerevan, Armenia. I slept so well, I wished the journey would be 2 hours more....hahah just to arrive even a little bit more fresh.
Arriving in Armenia at that time is calm and easy. The ATM in the train station didn't work, so we walked the 2km to our Airbnb instead if taking a taxi. Shops in Armenia open quite late, even the bakeries were still closed. But anyway, we did not have money. The train station is not as you might expect close to the center of Yerevan...it is on the outskirts. You might wanna consider this when choosing your accommodation in Yerevan.