A Brief Guide to Solo Female Travel in Armenia (II)
Last week Wandelion published a little introduction to solo female travel in Armenia. Are you hungry for more? Here you are, we are ready. We already know that Armenia is safe, beautiful, and rich in stunning sights. Is there anything more we should learn?
Yes. Every country that is slightly off the beaten path might surprise a solo adventurer. I remember being a bit sour about solo female travel blogs. I wanted to believe that a traveler’s gender doesn’t define him/her. I still believe in it, but throughout years of solo gallivanting I understood that the society disagrees with me. The countries you visit might treat you differently, because you are a girl. Armenia isn’t an exception. What to expect?
Photo by Zofa Baldyga
The society is conservative
Be prepared that the society in Armenia, especially in the countryside, might be more conservative than the Western world is. A girl who travels thousands of miles by herself might be perceived as odd. If you are in a relationship back home, be ready to explain why you travel without your partner. Remember that the roles in families are more traditional here. On the other hand though, it’s interesting to observe how the society changes. Armenia has more and more independent, empowered females. Don’t generalize, never judge, and you will be fine.
It’s not common for women to smoke on the street. What might happen if you don’t obey this unspoken rule? Not much, but you might get mean stares. If you want to blend in, leave your cigarettes at home.
Most of the local girls won’t go out alone. On the other hand, many expats do it regularly. As I mentioned in the previous part, Yerevan is extremely safe. Nothing changes at night. The city goes to sleep late, especially in summer, so you might get itchy to explore the local nightlife scene. Sure, no reason to stay in alone. Make sure to research places to go in advance. I’d recommend hanging out on Pushkin Street and choosing places popular among local transplants. My favorite one is definitely Calumet.
There is one thing to remember, especially if you are planning to use public transportation. People in Armenia seek eye contact and they love to observe other people. Most probably someone will stare at you every time you hop on the subway, getting over it is the best strategy.
Cabs are cheap in Armenia. Okay, they are dirt cheap, and transportation system is not the smoothest, so of course you should take cabs if you need to get somewhere fast. There are countless cabs here, so it’s never a problem to stop one, even if it’s late. There are some things you should be aware of before you hop on a car. Always check if the car has a meter. Licensed taxis have yellow plates. Don’t take any “no name” cabs if you don’t want to get overcharged. The official price is only 100 AMD/kilometer, this means you can travel anywhere in the center of Yerevan for 600 AMD. Last but not least, don’t take front seats. I don’t exactly know why, but it seems to be a rule.
You will stand out and it’s okay
Armenia is still not a very touristy place and it’s incredibly easy to spot a foreigner on the street. It might the body language, the hair color, the clothes, anything. People will know you are a tourist, but it’s fine. Armenian society might be a bit nosey, but it’s also unbelievably hospitable. Armenians are genuinely happy when they see that foreigners are interested in their country and culture.
These are the things I wish I knew before moving to Armenia. Avoid my mistakes and make your stay in Armenia more relaxed and beautiful.
Have you been to Armenia? Do you have any other tips? What else would you like to know?