Istanbul Bus, Airport Buses, VIP, Left Luggage
Istanbul - Yerevan Bus changes
The bus still works, but in a different place. And it is the cheapest ticket into or out of Armenia (Fly USA- Istanbul for as little as $450 R/T, add this $50 o/w wonder, and you got in for $275). You also get to travel through historic Armenia. You do earn it though, at 41 hours.
From Istanbul, go to EMNIYET KESEBIRLER TURIZM, Kucuk Langa Cad. Emniyet, Oto Gari No.5/A Aksaray-IST - Across from Mekke Hotel (Fuar Hotel is next to Mekke) - Tram Station: Yusufpasha - Phone: + (0212) 632-78-74, FAX: + (0212) 632-84-61, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets are $50 + $10 at Batumi (you also need a transit visa for Georgia)
From Yerevan, the bus leaves from Kilikia Bus Station (Admiral Isakov Ave. next to Cognac factory ), ETD: Saturdays (22.00). The trip lasts 41 hours with 6 stops: Sadakhlo, Tbilisi, Batumi,Trabson, Riseh, Samsun, Istanbul (stops allow time to eat at local cafe) Can take food on bus. ETA: arrives Istanbul Monday approx. 15.00
Buy ticket by Wednesdays (3 days before), they will give the time of departure then. Price: $50 + $10 at Batumi (plus transit visa through Georgia).
Other: there may be an additional charge for extra or large baggage (1 plus a carry on is normal)
Ticket agent: EMNIYET KESEBIRLER TURIZM, Hotel Erebuni office side, 3rd Floor, room 21A
Phone: + (3741) 56-06-38, mobile: + (3741 ) 42-41-72, E-mail: email@example.com
Fly the Bardak Skies
With flourish, pomp and circumstance, the government leased rights to run Zvartnots International Airport to 'Aeropuertos Argentina', led by Eduarado Ernekian, giving the Argentine company for 30 years' exclusive use of the airport's assets and facilities along with the right to operate flights.
Ernekian, whose track record is running 33 airports in Argentina, promised to deliver a the airport out of the corrupt chaotic mess it was perceived to be in. To date the record for Armenia is decidedly negative.
The only thing that seems to have happened in the 24 months since the agreement was made are constantly raising prices, a restriction of services to low income passengers and continued bardak (chaos) in airline delivery, the one constant remaining that you are sure to see more workers than passengers on a day to day basis:
State Bus and minivans are no longer allowed near the terminal, they must park 300 meters distance, so that passengers must hand carry all luggage to the terminal. There are no trolleys, of course! The taxi Mafia is pleased.
They are still a bargain though with these prices:
State buses and minivans.
#107 and 108 minivans go to airport: 200 AMD
#201 bus goes to airport, leaves from conservatory: 150 AMD
Bus stops 300 meters from arrivals, must carry luggage to airport.
VIP becomes complete rip off
One sort of good service was the VIP arrival and departure, which at roughly $20 for hassle free embarkation and debarkation and customs, was wroth it.
Now the service charges a ridiculous 25000 AMD ($42) for less service ( you still get a cup of coffee or soft drink, but immigration and customs are as erratic as they are wt the main terminal). This IS the most expensive cup of coffee you will ever have.
Still if you have more money than brains, you can use this service thusly:
25,000 AMD ($42)
children under 6 free
if departing, come 15-20 minutes before hand (1 hour is advised)
Only people to meet you can order the service on arrival.
But, as you depart plane, if you see the VIP staff greeting other passenger's you can go up to them and order service on the spot, they will escort you and you pay there.
On the Plus Side: the Left Luggage still works.
The Pahasenyak (Left Luggage) still works, a miracle in this chaos of a building. At 600 AMD a day per piece of luggage, it is still a relative bargain:
2nd floor, by the check-in
called Pahasenyak 24 hours
1 piece x 24 hours = 600 AMD
In front of pahasenyak, there is special service to cover luggage with brown paper and string. 1 piece = 1200 AMD.