After 2 years of not being able to travel, we finally got the chance to do it full on!
We were able to score tickets from Manila to Dubai for just PHP 2,500 each but due to travel restrictions, our flight got rescheduled several times. Finally, we were able to fly out of the Philippines last March. This is that story.
Our trip was scheduled for 10 days so we wanted to make the most out of it and visit more than 1 country if possible. God thing Georgia, and Armenia were already open for tourists, so we added them to our itinerary. Our friends and family were a little bit concerned due to the close proximity of those 2 countries from Russia, but our amazing tour guide assured us that the areas of conflict were miles and miles away from where we were going and that it was perfectly safe.
We left Manila Wednesday night via Cebu Pacific and arrived in Dubai Thursday at 1:00 AM in the morning, a total of 9 hours flight. Since we only carried single entry visas, we paid extra for the Marhaba Service (Marhaba provides a meet & greet service and airport lounges for arrivals, departures, and transfers in Dubai) to take our baggage straight to our next flight (Dubai to Georgia). This way, we didn’t have to go through immigration just to get our baggage and use our single-entry visas.
If you are planning to visit Dubai as a tourist, you can visit www.alabusiness.com. We paid PHP 5,460 each and got our visas just after 1 business day.
We left Dubai Thursday afternoon and arrived in Georgia around 4:00 PM. We arranged our visas online which cost us 20 USD. Make sure that you give enough lead time for the visa application as processing time takes 5 business days.
Our tour company was called Georgia By Car – Transfers & Private Tours. Irakli (company owner) and Thomas (driver and tour guide) greeted us at the airport and helped us in getting sim cards, and FOREX. Our itinerary was jampacked, but Thomas really made sure that we will get the most out of each and every spot. We highly recommend them because their rate is very affordable, yet the services were magnificent.
Day 1: We booked our accommodation at Gudauri where the ski resort is located. Some of us went skiing while others tried riding a snowmobile. Make sure that you wear waterproof gloves, and boots to keep you warm. There are several layers too in case the coldness gets too intense.
Ski Resort and Snow activities:
|Cable Car||10 GEL|
The prices above include equipment and lessons from instructors.
Day 2: Gudauri & Kazbegi Tour
We went to the following locations – Jinvali dam, Ananuri fortress, Mtskheta, Jvari monastery, and Svetitskhoveli cathedral. It was still snowing hard that day, but it made the view more majestic! What we love most about Georgia is how affordable everything is! From accommodation, tours, and food. After that day’s tour, we went to Tbilisi (capital city) and checked in to our accommodation. The exterior of the building was not so appealing but when we entered the place, we were more than happy as the interior was very nice and pretty. They also have a balcony overlooking the Mother of Georgia.
We did tons of walking on our 2nd day so we opted to try the traditional sulfur bathhouses which are located in domes. Dipping into the cold bath and going into the hot bath is something that you have to experience firsthand. It was very refreshing and invigorating. After about 20 mins, one of the staff will give you a body scrub, and a massage. We paid 700 GEL for the private spa (good for 10 people, 1-hour stay).
Day 3: Kakheti Tour
Kakheti they say is the oldest wine-making region. There are tons of activities that you can do here including, wine tasting, and visiting old towns such as Sighnagi – the city of love which is also surrounded by Georgia’s own great wall.
We visited the Kvareli Wine Cave, which housed thousands of bottles of wine. We sampled 4 types of wine and Georgian vodka. The tunnels where the wine was stored actually looked very picturesque. Our sommelier gave us a brief history of the place and also thought us about winemaking and the different types of wine. After our wine tasting session, we attended a master class where we were taught how to cook traditional Georgian cuisine including khachapuri, churchkhela, and mtsvadi (Georgian barbecue).
Day 4: Armenia
If you are planning to tour Georgia, it is highly recommended that you visit Armenia as well which is accessible via land travel (6 hours travel time). We stayed in Yerevan (capital city) and explored different spots this wonderful and lively city has to offer such as Freedom Square, Republic square, Downtown, Mother of Armenia, Opera, and ballet theatre of Armenia, Cafesjian theatre of arts, and many more.
You can apply for the e-visa via this link. Our e-visa cost just USD 6 which was pretty cheap.
Day 5: Back to Georgia
We checked out early as we still have lots of places to go to in Armenia. We went to the following spots: Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple, The symphony of stones, Sevan lake, and Sevanavank. Our favorite was the symphony of stones! Such a beautiful natural art piece!
Day 6: We flew back to Dubai and arrived around noon time. We took the metro to get to our Airbnb which had a fantastic view of the Dubai marina. It was also close to a supermarket where we bought most of our food and other stuff. After a couple of hours’ rest, we decided to check out the famous Global Village. The entrance fee is AED 20 per person.
- Park entry, valid for a single entry on any day during Season 26 (please note Tuesdays are family days).
- Access to 26 country pavilions where you can tour unique cultural treasures.
- Access to an authentic Emirati heritage area, taking you back in time.
- Access to 200+ shows every day.
- Access to the Kids’ Theatre with plenty of fun for the little ones, starring all their favorite characters and much more.
Day 7: We went out very early today because our itinerary was full packed! We first visited Al Seef which was built in late 2017. Al Seef commemorates Dubai Creek’s roots as a renowned coastal pearl diving location. The 2.5 million-square-foot development, which hugs 1.8 kilometers of Dubai Creek’s stately shoreline, is divided into two sections: a heritage region with old architecture, and a second zone with more contemporary structures. We then went to Dubai Gold Souk to buy some gold jewelry! Mind you, there were a lot of shops to choose from and you can also haggle with the shop owners 😊
Around 2PM, we met with our amazing safari adventure guide, called Dubai Red Dunes Safari. We highly recommend them! We had so much fun, and he got us lots of great deals! We first tried the ATVs. Zipping across sand dunes in those machines was such a blast.
We then strapped in for a dune bashing ride across the stunning red dunes of the Lehbab Desert via a 4×4 land rover. It was quite dizzying and I suggest you take some bonamine beforehand and bring a puke bag hahaha! Sunset was beautiful in the Lehbab desert. Partner that with picturesque sand dunes and the cool late breeze, you won’t ask for more.
After the 4×4 ride, we were taken to a Bedouin camp where we ate dinner and chilled to our hearts’ content. While chilling, we were entertained by belly dancers, fire dancers, and traditional dancers. Outside the camp were camels where you can take pictures or ride them if you must (we prefer not to ride them though ‘cuz you know, animal welfare!)
Day 8: Skydiving and Dubai Marina tour
The highlight of our stay in Dubai. We’ve always dreamt of skydiving. We’ve tried paragliding before and I guess that’s the reason why we were drawn into skydiving. We paid around PHP 32,000. Quite hefty I know but I believe it was worth every penny.
-When you arrive at Skydive Dubai, you will be required to fill out the relevant paperwork and will be subjected to a BMI and weight check prior to the skydive.
-You will meet with the coach half an hour before the flight to receive a briefing on the sport and all relevant instructions.
-Before you take off, the photographers from Skydive Dubai will conduct a brief interview with you. Remember to smile because your skydiving video will include the interview.
-In the boarding area, there will be a final equipment check and taking photos.
– You will be treated to spectacular views of Dubai, The Palm Island, and the surrounding surroundings as you ride to High Jump. The flight takes 20 minutes in total. This is your final 20 minutes to cool down before jumping.
-Once the plane reaches 13,000 feet, you will be attached to your expert trainer. You will exit the aircraft and free-fall in the air for approximately 60 seconds, reaching a speed of 120 miles per hour! A videographer will fill the whole thing so make sure to just enjoy the moment 😊
Before sunset, we went to Dubai Marina and rented a yacht for 2 hours to tour around the marina bay. You can bring food and drinks to the yacht if you choose to do so. A great way to end the day after an exhilarating jump from 13,000 feet.
We got home just in time for our PCR test which was conducted on our Airbnb. We got the result just hours after the test which was really quick.
Day 9: Since this is our last day, we decided to just do a bit of a city tour! We went to Dubai mall to grab lunch and take a photo at the famous Burj Khalifa. We then headed to the Dubai Expo 2020 and enjoyed the different pavilions that each country offers. The Dubai Expo is a great opportunity to get a taste of different countries’ cultures and heritage.
Our flight back to Manila was around 2AM Dubai time. We were so exhausted from all the activities that we have done, from the winter wonderland that is Georgia, the beautiful country of Armenia, and the melting pot of culture that is Dubai. I am so grateful to have had this journey with my favorite people, the guys and girls of The Heliopaths. Happiness is truly most powerful when shared 😊
Our total budget? PHP 95,293 each! (Without food and other personal expenses)
See the complete checklist/requirements here:
PRO TIP: Bring your own Universal Travel Adapter! Georgia, Armenia, and UAE have different plug/socket types. We bought ours here for only P210: shope.ee/6f1hYZpwph
Other travel requirements as of 27 March 2022 for returning Filipino passengers (Fully vaccinated):
One Health Pass
Negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours or negative Antigen test administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory clinic pharmacy, or another similar establishment, taken within 24 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
Proof of Vaccination
Additional documents (optional):
COE – We have traveled to 10 countries already but still we received lots of questions from the IO! Good thing we brought copies of our COE!