Azerbaijan hitch-hiker essentials

The Georgia-Azerbaijan border crossing - Matsimi, Georgia

Azerbaijan hitch-hiker essentials

Driving in Azerbaijan

Bluntly, Azeri people are terrible drivers and the driving culture is devoid any rules. Don’t be surprised if you see five cars lined up next to each other on the two lane road, even if that means the possibility of a head-on collision. They are not frightened by any dangerous manoeuvre and they don’t pay attention to pedestrians, so be careful! :-).

In a taxi on our way to the Mud Volcanoes - Near Quobustan, Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan hitch-hiker essentials

Driving hazards include open manholes, debris, sink-holes and potholes. Driving in Baku should be considered extremely hazardous. Outside the city, even where roads are present, conditions are similar. Roads are, outside the capital, mostly in poor state, devoid of street lighting, lane marking, signals. Many rural roads are largely unpaved.

Road Map

Road map of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan hitch-hiker essentials


Speed limit on Azeri roads

Azerbaijan speed limits, Azerbaijan hitch-hiker essentials

Absolutely essential hitch-hiker’s phrasebook


 hello – Salam; Salam əleyküm (salam aley-kyum)
→ People love it when you address them in their mother tongue, even if you don’t speak the language
 thank you – Təşəkkür edirəm (teshek-cure edir-arm)
– goodbye – Sağolun (“ğ”pronounced at the back of throat like the French ‘r’)
– yes – Bəli
– no – Yox (yokh)
– I don’t have money – Mən pul yoxdur (man puhl yokh-duhr)
– We don’t have money – Biz pul yoxdur (beez puhl yokh-duhr)


– hello – Здравствуйте (ZDRAHST-vooy-tyeh)
– thank you – Спасибо. (spuh-SEE-bah)
– yes – Да. (dah)
– no – Нет. (nyeht)
– please/here you are – Пожалуйста. (pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh)
– you’re welcome – Не за что. (NYEH-zuh-shtoh)
– excuse me – Извините. (eez-vee-NEET-yeh)
– what’s your name? – Как Вас зовут? (kahk vahs zah-VOOT?)
→ Always good to know the name of your driver
– my name is … – Меня зовут … (mee-NYAH zah-VOOT…)
– I don’t understand – Я не понимаю (ya nee puh-nee-MIGH-yoo)
– I don’t know – Я не знаю. (ya nee ZNAH-yoo)
– where is…? – Где …? (gdyeh …?)
– train station – вокзал (vah-GZAHL)
→ You should know this word and listen out for it to avoid situations when your driver, in their best intentions, takes you off the road and drives you to a station.
– bus station – автовокзала (ahf-tuh-vah-GZAHL)
– I don’t have money – У меня нет денег (oo-mee-NYAH nyet DYEH-neg)
→ Useful in any language
– we don’t have money – У нас нет денег (oo nah-s nyet DYEH-neg)
– money – деньги (DYEN-gee)
– now – сейчас (see-CHAHS)
– today – сегодня (see-VOHD-nyuh)
– yesterday – вчера (fcheeh-RAH)
– tomorrow – завтра (ZAHF-truh)
friend –  друг (droogh)
→ Very useful when they ask you where you’re staying. The concept of Couchsurfing is often too difficult to explain, so just say you’re staying with a friend. You can also use this word to express the relationship between you and your fellow travellers.

Main border crossings

The Georgia-Azerbaijan border crossing - Matsimi, Georgia, Azerbaijan hitch-hiker essentials

Azerbaijan – Georgia

 Matsimi – This border crossing is located on the road M5 between Telavi (Georgia) and Şəki (Azerbaijan). It was pretty easy to cross on foot especially after meeting an Azeri customs officer who had done his training in Poland and therefore spoke a bit of Polish. Speaking the same language always breaks ice between people, even during such scary experiences as crossing borders.

→The Shikhly II / Rustavi crossing is located further along the border to the south-west, Böyük Kǝsik, located a short distance to the north-east is a rail border crossing, which you will use if you are travelling on a train between Tbilisi and Baku.

Azerbaijan – Iran

→Running across the border town of Astara, the most easterly border crossing lies on the Caspian sea.

Bilasuvar / Bileh Savar lies a little closer to Baku and more inland.

→The Julva/Jolva border crossing connects Iran to the western enclave based and the city of Nakhachivan

Azerbaijan – Russia

→ There is one border crossing at Samur which is reported open to tourists.

All border crossings with Armenia are closed.

Be Warned!: If you want to enter Azerbaijan from any of the above countries, you have to organize your visa in advance.

written by: Ania

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