Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Money & Shopping in Georgia

EuropeGeorgiaMoney & Shopping in Georgia
  • Gold & Other Jewellery – Gold, silver, handcrafted & other miscellaneous jewelry, and precious stones are all extremely affordable in Georgia, and the quality of the precious stones, gold, and silver is excellent. Because of the low cost and high quality of Georgian jewelry, many tourists visit the country to purchase it.
  • Art & Paintings – Artists from Georgia include Pirosmani, Gigo Gabashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili, Korneli Sanadze, Elene Akhvlediani, Sergo Kobuladze, Simon Virsaladze, Ekaterine Baghdavadze, and others. There are numerous art stores, paintings, and artists that sell their work on the streets in Georgia. Their work is of excellent quality and is often quite reasonably priced.
  • Antiques & Other Miscellaneous Gifts – There are numerous antiques in Georgia that are not only from Georgia, but also from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Russia, and Europe.
  • As much Georgian wine as you possibly can. Georgia is the birthplace of winemaking, and with 521 unique grape types, you may be sure to discover great wines.
  • Cognac. Georgian cognac is distinctive since it is produced from Georgian wine. Try the ‘Tbilisi’ cognac by Saradjishvili.
  • When you go outside of the cities, you may come across an unique hand-made carpet for sale.
  • Georgians like drinking, thus the nation boasts an apparently limitless supply of beers, wines, liquors, and distilled beverages. Purchase a bottle of chacha, a strong grape vodka comparable to Lebanese Arak, to take home.

Georgian export goods, particularly wine and mineral water, were formerly extensively counterfeited in local and CIS markets. The Borjomi bottling factory, for example, used to manufacture about one million bottles of Borjomi each year, but three million bottles were sold in Russia alone!

The government, in collaboration with industry circles, has launched a large-scale campaign to combat counterfeit wine and mineral water, and the sale of counterfeit goods has almost been eradicated. When stocking up on bottled wine, however, it is preferable to purchase it from big supermarkets, who have more control over its procurement than smaller shops. Goodwill, Big Ben, and Populi are examples of such supermarkets. The same is true with mineral water.

Following the re-orientation of wine exports to EU markets, the quality of winemaking has greatly increased in recent years.

Costs

When exchanging money at a bank, you may be required to provide your identification. This is not required at the tiny money changers’ booths that may be found nearly everywhere in the country. These exchange booths may also provide slightly better exchange rates. Exchange money before leaving Tbilisi since exchange rates are better than in rural regions. The Georgian lari is a closed currency; exchange any remaining funds before leaving the country. Most significantly, be in mind that certain Georgian ATMs outside of Tbilisi may not take international cards. If you are caught without cash during non-business hours or on weekends, this may be a major issue, so keep some cash on hand. In addition, although rates in Georgia are usually quite cheap, many small businesses and taxis will not have change for big lari notes (particularly 50 or above), thus visitors are recommended to bring lots of smaller notes and coins.

If you visit Georgia for a week and bring $700–$800 USD, you will have a fantastic experience. With this money, you can stay at a nice hotel, go on exciting sightseeing excursions, and eat well. Other goods, such as presents and jewelry, may need more. For additional information, try looking for and contacting travel and tourism agencies.

Even in the capital, a budget tourist would have no trouble getting by (and keeping very well fed) for less than $150–$200 a week. Allow for an additional $30–$50 for transport and tourism.

Tipping

Tipping is practically uncommon in Georgia, and in many instances may insult the recipient’s feeling of hospitality.