Armenia is a country that lies in the Caucasus Region. Traveling to Armenia is common nowadays especially for Filipinos who are currently residing in the United Arab Emirates. It is indeed a wonderful country to explore.
Living and working in the UAE means we have already adjusted with the culture, laws and policies of the country. We adopt and respect the Islamic practices. Arriving in Armenia means we are coping up with these changes again.
Either your reason of traveling to Armenia is for leisure, exit or for visa exchange, the following are the common confusions we encounter:
- Currency- Converting and computing currencies is a real struggle. Budgeting travel money or allowances to be able to save money isn’t that easy. Our practice is to exchange our Dirhams to US Dollar or Euro and then exchange into Armenian Dram. Juggling within these currencies requires either a calculator or a quick mind.
1 usd= 3.68 aed
1 usd- 480 amd
1 aed- 131 amd
Note: You have to exchange Dirhams while in UAE to either US dollar or Euro
- Meals and food- The most common questions we ask are, “Is there a pork here?”, “Are we allowed to cook pork?”, “Where can we buy pork?” Yes, pork is available and you can easily buy it in Armenia.
- What to wear- Since it’s summer here in Armenia (June to August), coming from a country wherein we follow some rules, we usually ask if we can wear shorts and sleeveless here? Yes.
Note: Temperature at noontime is a bit warmer but temperature drops during evening time.
- Pedestrian lanes and Traffic signals- walking around Armenia or from the capital, Yerevan is a common thing. I love walking around the city. As a person who lived in the UAE, you know how traffic rules are being imposed. We are all disciplined when we are on the road. Here in Yerevan, you’ll notice a big difference. My advise, stick to the discipline you have gained in UAE. Following simple traffic/pedestrian rule is a must. Think of safety.
- Building structures- From the airport to the place where you will stay, you might not be impressed with the old buildings and other structures. Armenia might be too far from the skyscrapers and new buildings of Abu Dhabi or Dubai, a good reason why you have to discover more of Armenia.
- Hostel vs bed space- Some of us will be staying in a hotel. But mostly, we’ll be staying in a hostel. Maybe we are used in our bed space in the UAE, it is almost the same situation with the hostels. You might feel awkward at first, but give yourself a chance to adjust. There’s a homey atmosphere staying in a hostel.
- Communication- Communication is sometimes difficult here in Armenia. With our will to communicate to Armenians, unconsciously we talk to them in Arabic. Unfortunately, they don’t speak Arabic. Forget for now your “shoo mushkala,” “kalas,” “mafi…” “shukran,” “sah o lala” and few of your arabic phrases instead, learn some Russian phrase.
Make the best of your time while you are traveling to Armenia. You’ll discover many interesting spots, culture or simply being in a country that is first to adopt Christianity as a religion.