22 Sep - 10 Oct 2023 (19-days, accom 16 nights) Go Georgia with Tusheti National Park
(Tbilisi, Upper Omalo, Kakheti, Okatse Canyon, Mestia, Karoldi, Ushguli Kutaisi Winery, Vardzia)
Cost per pax Rm7,350 (15-18 pax group) based on 1 Georgian Lari = Rm1.8594 as at 13 Mar 2023.
Final adjustment on the cost is based on the exchange rate at time of final collections.
EXCLUDES FLIGHT - Trip below based on lower cost and better timing on FIT (Individual) Turkish Airlines Rm4012. Member can proceed to book their tickets.
Update 28 Mar 2023. For flight bookings, suggest www.skyscanner.com (select TRIP.COM) inclusive 30kg checked baggage or Turkish Airlines direct website slightly higher cost. For assistance, WhatsApp YONG LEE KENG 012 3158353..
Update 13 Mar 2023. Fare check 6 Mar on EK fare Rm4572 on individual or FIT basis. Write up and trip itinerary also done by Yong Lee Keng. Note all meals in 4 nights stay Tusheti NP included in trip cost. And breakfast dinners in 4 nights stay Mestia included. Kutaisi Winery stay includes wine tasting and dinner.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This is meant to be a "free and easy" adventure trip. Participants should be relatively fit, with a good sense of humor, and above all, have the right attitude for close travel with others through possibly some trying times. Most definitely, this is not a trip for prudes, whiners, fuss-pots, and other similarly assorted types! We had a couple of those before and it wasn't pleasant for us or them. Although every effort will be made to stick to the given itinerary, ground conditions may change and cause some disruption and/or deviation from the norm. Otherwise, have fun.
Tusheti National Park - opens only 5 months in a year.
Trip involve many walks and treks, including 4 nights in Omalu, base of Tusheti National Park. We hire 4WD vans for Tusheti and a Mercedes Sprinter for rest of trip, led by a Georgian guide and local driver(s) for the duration of this trip. We stay budget hotels and local guesthouses. We use smaller chartered 4WD vehicles for some mountain areas. Large sized 28 inches luggage ARE NOT ALLOWED on Yongo trips. Many Yongers manage with 22 inches but most will use 24 inches trolleys. Note trip cost covers full board at Tusheti National Park 4-nights stay (breakfasts, packed lunches and dinners); half-board at Mestia 4-nights half-board at Kutaisi Winery stay (breakfast2 and dinners).
In Greek mythology, Georgia was the home of the Golden Fleece. Today, a more spirited fame is Georgian wine, as Georgia is also referred to as the “Cradle of Wine”, with wine samples dating back 6000 years! Whatever, let’s enjoy Georgia’s mountains, edifices, dances, good food and of course, great wine……and brandy! Opened only from late-May to early Oct, Tusheti is one of of the highest and remotest mountain areas, often considered the Holy Trail of Georgian travel - the final frontier. By YONG LEE KENG.
DAY 1 KLIA to Istanbul. Meet at KLIA at 8:00 PM FRI 22 SEP 2023 for Turkish Airlines flight 11:05 PM.
DAY 2 Istanbul to Tbilisi. Lands Istanbul 4:45AM after 10:40HR flight. Transit 1:55HR. Depart at 6:40 AM and landing 9:55 AM in Tbilsi (flight 2:15HR). Transfer to Hotel and free day to rest and wander about. Overnight (O/n) Tbilisi. (B)
DAY 3 Tusheti Natioinal Park 4 nights. After breakfast, go on a relaxing drive before we begin ascending twists and turns and high adventure as we take 4-5hours to cover about 70km of mountain roads in our sturdy 4WD vans. This is one trip where it is really about the journey, and not so much the destination. But make no mistake, the destination on first sight is breathtaking, and its offerings nothing less than awesome. We stay at Upper Omalo, some 2000m, to explore pristine Tusheti, one of the the most remote regions in Georgia. Overnight (O/n) Upper Omalo (B D).
Day 4 Pririkiti Valley. Drive 15kms to Pirikiti Valley, and hike about 4-5 hrs point-to-point . Parsma,1850m – A remote medieval village, it still retains much of the vestiges of a fortified village. A hilltop fortress ruin invokes a deep sense of the past. Dartlo, 1900m – In terms of history, culture and nature, Dartlo embodies almost everything Tusheti has to offer in one place. O/n Upper Omalo (B L D).
Day 5 Gometsari Valley. Drive about 18kms to Gometsari Valley and hike about 4-5 hours. Bochorma, 2345m – The highest inhabited place in Georgia and one of the highest in Europe. In winter, the population can go down to 2 people! Jvarboseli, 1919m – Ringed by lush meadows, this mountain village is an expansive experience to hike and overdose on fresh air! O/n Upper Omalo (B L D).
Day 6 Shenako & Old Diklo. Drive about 12kms to Shenako and Old Diklo, and hike about 4-5 hrs Shenako, 2070m – Only 10kms from the Russian territory of Dagestan, it is a comparatively large village. Overlooked by Mt Diklo, the old Holy Trinity Church is iconic in setting and history here. Diklo, 2020m – This depopulated village offers tranquility, freedom and fresh mountain air. A good hike to the old Diklo Fortress with a rich history of battles of a bygone era. O/n Upper Omalo (B L D).
Day 7 back to Tbilisi via Kakheti. Enjoy Tusheti mountain meanderings twice over as we head back to Tbilisi. We take a slow drive back to Tbilisi, with a chance to take stock and shoot pics of what we missed while going up few days back. We have a pack lunch around Abano Pass, 2926 asl, for great mountain views while we munch. Enroute to Tbilisi, we stopover a winery around the Kakheti region and have a look at wine making as well as sample the wines on offer. We arrive Tbilisi late evening for a good rest after our 4 nights Tusheti high adventure. O/n Tbilisi (B L).
Lake Koruldi Mestia
Day 8 Mtshekta Kutaisi. From ancient capital to vibrant and pretty Kutaisi. We switch to a Mercedes Sprinter for the short 25km drive will bring us to the Georgian old capital of Mtshekta. We visit the 6th century Jvari Monastery, a church that has remained almost unchanged, and the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. PM : Continue our journey another 147km to Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest and most central city, We should arrive early evening in time to catch splendid sunset from Gelati Monastery on a hilltop overlooking Kutaisi. O/n Kutaisi (B).
Day 9 Kutaisi Mestia (4 nights). Soft adventure morning and a majestic mountain drive to Mestia. A short drive will bring us to Okatse Canyon, and we will take in a nice and easy 2-3hrs 6km walk along a stone path and boardwalk in the Dadiani Forest. Panoramic views from the 20m extended platform will be a primary highlight. PM : Take a rest in the bus as we make a 5-6 hours ride to Mestia. But don’t forget to stay awake enough to take in the majestic mountain views on the way up! O/n Mestia (B D).
Day 10 Chalaadi Heshkili Mestia. High adventure awaits, Chalaadi Glacier hike and Heshkili Swings. A short drive to the trailhead, and a short 1.5hrs 3km hike through pine forest and rocky remains of previous Glacier movements, will bring us to Chaaladi Glacier. After taking it all in, back to the trailhead and Mestia for lunch. PM : We jump into 4wd vans to head up to Heshkili, 1900m asl. In winter, Heshkili is a popular ski resort, but other times, it’s a must-have Instagram swing shot! ON Mestia (B D)
Day 11 Koruldi Lake Mestia. Another day of high adventure by 4WD and marvelling at mountainous landscapes. 4wd Vans will bring us on an exhilarating 1.5hrs drive on narrow twisting mountain roads to expansive and enchanting Koruldi Lakes at 2750m. We have a few hours to enjoy the freshest mountain air and scenery. Those with energy can hike up to the many small peaks abounding to take in even more majestic views. PM : After packed lunch, we drive back to Mestia on a downhill exhilarating 4wd van ride to reach mid-afternoon, just in time to take in a village walk. Clambering up on of the iconic Svaneti watch towers is a must-do! ON Mestia (B D)
Day 12 Ushguli Mestia. Culture and history at Ushguli. At 2100m , it's one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe, and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take away all the modern features, and you could be in a ‘Game of Thrones’ setting! We will use 4wd vans for the 1.5hrs drive to Ushguli, have a walkabout in the village, and lunch at a local riverside restaurant. After lunch we drive back to Mestia and rest of the afternoon free and easy for some shopping, strolling and self-sightseeing. 4th night in Mestia (B D)
Varadzia UNESCO. And great wild trout lunch.
Day 13 Kutaisi Winery Stay. From Soviet-era relics to present day pleasures of wine and dine. We start early from Mestia to enjoy mountain views of the road to Kutaisi again. Arriving Kutaisi around lunch, we do a quick tour of Tskaltubo to witness a Soviet-era relic of once majestic edifices built to pleasure Soviet elites. PM: By mid-afternoon, we should be nicely at our Winery Hotel to learn about traditional wine making, sip and savour samples of myriad wines, and then enjoy a night’s stay there. O/n Kutaisi Winery Hotel (B D).
Day 14 Borjomi Vardzia. Pet adorable Georgian sheep dog puppies, walk the park and enjoy Georgian rural hospitality. Drive 130km to Borjomi Park, with a short stop enroute at the Georgian Sheep Dog Sanctuary. At Borjomi Park, we have an easy stroll in the park and have a nice lunch at the many garden restaurants abounding. PM: Drive another 110kms to Vardzia, with stops to view Khertvisi Fortress and a short stop to walk through the Saro Megaliths. We have a one night stay at a Farmhouse Homestay to experience rural Georgian hospitality with homemade wine served by the jugs! ON Vardzia Farmstay (B D)
Day 15 back to Tbilisi. Cave tales of old and wild big trout lunch before back to Tbilisi. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vardzia Caves Monastery Complex date back to the 12th century, The caves hug the cliffs for up to nineteen tiers. We explore this marvel of stone steps, tunnels, medieval cave ingenuity, and soak in its history. PM : Lunch will be big wild trout at a nice riverside restaurant beside the caves complex. After that, it’s a picturesque 226km drive to Tbilisi, passing pastures, small settlements and the biggest lake in Georgia. ON Tbilisi (B)
Day 16Tbilisi walking tour. Explore Tbilisi on a pleasant walking tour and free and easy afternoon. Our Georgian Guide will bring us for a walking tour of Tbilisi main sights, including lunch stop at the Old Town, Narikala Fortress, major monuments, Cable car ride etc. PM : Free and easy for rest of afternoon, and a good evening Georgian experience would be to catch an exuberant Georgian Folk Show (own cost) with great food and wine. O/n Tbilisi (B)
Day 17 More Tbilisi. Chill and cheers day at Tbilisi, home of 25% of the total Georgian population. A free day for self-exploration, shopping, strolling, or all three. Suggested walkabout.....Flea Market, National Museum, modern Galleria Mall, Clock Tower, Peace Bridge…and end the day with happy hours and delicious dinner around the Peace Bridge vicinity. O/n Tbilisi (B)
Day 18 Airport. Transfer to airport at 7:00AM for flight 10:45 AM MON 9 OCT 2023 landing in Istanbul at 12:15 NOON (flight 2:30HR). Transit 3:35HR. Depart 3:50PM for KUL.
Day 19 Home. Lands after 10:20HR in KUL at 7:10 AM TUE 10 OCT 2023.
UNESCO list Ushguli Village in Mestia
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Cost cover accommodation, town-to-town travel and tours/entrances specified in the itinerary.
- Accommodations will be in local guesthouses and budget hotels. Note meals provided indicated in itinerary B-breakfasts, L-lunch and D- dinner.
- Not covered are airfare, meals (Rm100 x 11 days = Rm1100) and other entrance fees not specified in the itinerary,
- Optional activities and In-town taxis are not covered except for transfers to and from airport to our place of stay.
- Cost is subject to change depending on fluctuations in exchange rates.
- A Non-refundable deposit of Rm2000 is payable to confirm your place.